Primary and Secondary Suffering

Daniel Vinograd

How to develop skills to disarm a runaway mind

Primary suffering is unescapable and common to all humans. It is the pain of being alive; being sick, hurting over a loss of a dear familymember or friend, fear of dying etc.

Secondary suffering is that which we create, often as a result of trying to avoid or reject primary suffering.

For example, if my head hurts (primary suffering) and I am able to be with the pain and nothing else then the pain is real but it ends there. However, if my mind begins to run away with thoughts like: Oh my head hurts, it is probably nothing (denial), I wonder when it will go away, perhaps I should take something for it (starting to resist it), I wish this freaking headache will go away (flat our resistance, trying to make it go away), I wonder if this headache has to do with me using my cell phone so much, I read some research that it causes cancer ( creating new story or drama around headache, most of the time just fueled by fear), I do not want to die, I wonder what my kids will do if I die. It will break their heart, I just can’t stand the thought, I have to get rid of this thing, etc. You can see how our mind works, aided by an always vigilant and often over-vigilant ego.

This secondary suffering is usually more difficult to accept and always self created. It uses up a great deal of our resources and robs us from our lives with fear, anger and anxiety amongst other feelings.

 

The keys:

1- To recognize secondary suffering for what it is, to unmask it. We don’t want to push it away or make it not happen, for if we do that we are now creating a new dynamic of secondary suffering. Often it is enough to uncover the secondary suffering with awareness to diffuseits hold.

 

2- to learn and practice  the art ob being with what is happening in the moment, regardless of what it is, whether pleasant, unpleasant or neutral, no drama, no story no struggle.

 

– Dr Vinograd

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One Response to “Primary and Secondary Suffering”

  1. […] How to develop skills to disarm a runaway mind Primary suffering is unescapable and common to all humans. It is the pain of being alive; being sick, hur… April 5, 2013  […]




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