Why Is Suffering A Choice?

Presentation Lee McKing and shocked

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” Supposedly this quote was first given by Buddha, and made popular by Haruki Murakami, and the Dalai Lama

But… what does it mean? Why did they say that?

You might be surprised to know that some of the things I share are similar in terms understanding not only this, but about life itself

And yes, I am a Catholic

That does not mean I cannot learn from other religions

After all, I do find that most, if not all religions share some common themes

In fact, there are some Catholic priests who went to learn Buddhism in order to become better Catholics

There was even a Pope, Pope John XXIII, who encouraged Catholics to enhance one’s spiritual life through a practice of Zen (Published in this research report)

Pretty cool huh?

Coming back to the topic

Of hypnosis, the mind and suffering being a choice

What gives?

You might recall how I share how the mind is shaped during childhood, where whatever the parents are saying, doing etc is shaping the unconscious mind of the child in terms of beliefs, patterns and values etc

And this can be supplemented with what Buddha mentioned in the quote below

Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Suffering follows an evil thought as the wheels of a cart follow the oxen that draws it. Joy follows a pure thought like a shadow that never leaves.

Gautama Buddha

In a sense, this is also similar to how I share about the Law of Attraction, that whatever exists in our mind, can potentially manifest into reality

So when we break the quote into 2 parts, “Pain is inevitable”

Whatever our parents do, to each other or to us, good or bad, we will have a perception of things as a child and this forms in the unconscious mind

And once it is in the mind, there is potential for it to manifest outwards into our reality

So positive experience creates more positive experience, negative experiences creates more negative experiences

Even if your entire life, your parents only had 1 argument that you observed, there is a potential for that single argument to become a problem for you in the future

I had a 40 year old lady with depression, anxiety and panic attacks that occur at 4pm every day and when we did hypnosis, we found out that it was seeded into her when she was a baby and her parents argued beside her while she was hungry and crying at 4pm

Consciously she will have no idea this ever happened!

But because it was seeded into her unconscious mind, it grew and become this massive issue of depression, anxiety and even, 4pm panic attacks

This is why, “Pain is inevitable”

It is understandable to have small stuff happening between parents

Things happen

And it will create negative experiences in the future

presentation lee mcking thinking hard

That brings us to the second part of the quote

“Suffering is optional”, and of course, why suffering is a choice

Now that we understand that a number of our current negative experiences are derived from our childhood experiences

We can choose to continue life as it is, and thus continue to suffer!

Or we can choose to find ways to release and let go of such negative patterns that hold us back or limit us, thereby being free from suffering

As an example, if my girlfriend broke up with me, and yes, I can feel the pain and heartache

I might take some time to sit with the emotion, could be days, could be weeks

But if I choose to hold onto the emotions and memories of her, even after years!!

That can only mean that I choose to continue to suffer isn’t it?

By choosing not to move on, I continue to dwell in the pain and sadness

Yet once I choose to let go of her and move on with life, I can find a new partner, new love

Or I might choose to focus on myself first, self love, resolving my issues if any

You can see pretty clearly why suffering is said to be a choice

Of course, I am not saying that if you had a break up yesterday, then just let go and move on today

You might still need some time to accept this turn of events

The shock of say, the passing of a loved one, can take some time to cope and settle too

All this is understandable

Lee McKing shrug presentation

So what’s next?

Let me quickly share the 3As to solving issues in life and you will understand


First, you need to be aware of the problem

To know where the issue is, to know where it is coming from, and even how it can affect you in the present or future


Then you need to accept that you do have this problem

As well as accept there are solutions, from the method like how to solve, or even what is required to solve


Lastly, once you are aware of the issue and accept the issue, only then can you take the right action to solve the issue

Because if you are not aware of an issue, you don’t think you got a problem even if everyone else sees it clear as day!

Or perhaps you are aware of the issue, but you don’t accept it to be real

This is more of a state of denial

You might be aware of the issue, or you don’t accept the solution method to resolve it

Naturally, this means you can’t take the action to solve it

If you are doing the wrong action, then you don’t solve the issue at all

On top of that, you might even make the issue worse!

So why am I sharing all this?

Essentially if you recognize that you have issues and want to resolve them, taking the right actions is key

If you choose not to be aware of the issue, or accept the issue is affecting you, then to be honest, no one can help you

Bringing it back full circle to the initial line, the pain is there and will continue to be there, until you choose to seek and do the right actions to stop suffering

Today’s sharing seems a bit heavy, but I hope you gained something from it 🙂


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