The Pali word Dukkha is a weird one for English-speaking ears. It’s simplest translation is unease or discomfort. It can also be translated as unhappiness.
In Buddhism, Dukkha is the mental state that arises when we don’t get what we want. So we have expectations (grasping) and those expectations are not met and Dukkha arises. The whole cycle is called Samsara, or Samsaric existence.
I’ve probably written this post before. This is now the fifth blog devoted in whole or part to Buddhism that I have written or co-written. writing is part of my practice. I couldn’t direct you to those posts if I wanted to. I had them all archived on Posterous at one point but then twitter bought that and they went away and I never made a serious attempt to gather them all up again.
I know I am rambling. I am in shock. I am under a mountain of Dukkha, today. The Electoral Math in this Presidential election was damned near impossible for Donald Trump, but the polls were so wrong that they might as well have been regarding a different candidate slate.
So what do we do?
We do Mettā, or loving-kindness meditation.
- Start with yourself and focus all the love you can muster on your self. Think about everything you like about yourself. Do this for about 20-30 seconds.
- Next do the same for you closest family members and friends.
- Next your extended circle of acquaintances. At this point it might be difficult to think of specific things you like about the group and that’s okay just think compassion and love.
- Now your state.
- Now the Nation.
- Now the World
- Finally, and this is the hard one, think specifically about someone who has your directed animosity. Someone you might consider your enemy. Include those you might consider as enemies of your ethnicity, nation or mankind.
- Repeat the process in reverse until you are back to you.
Why do we do this? Well Science has shown that that when we consciously focus on the good and love and kindness our neurons can hardwire to do this more often. This is called Neuroplasticity and the concept enjoys wide-spread acceptance in the medical and psychological communities. If you’re interested in this concept you might check out Dr. Norman Doidge’s Book The Brain That Changes itself.
So, be kind.
Anyways, the world probably isn’t ending in January.