Emotional Distress

Experiencing negative emotions is a part of life and every human being has to deal with them. But, are there better ways of addressing negative emotions and is it possible to manage our level of suffering?

The sages of old came up with The Four Noble Truths, a template that decodes both the cause and solution to much of our suffering.

1. There occur events, acts and phenomena in life that cause the human being to suffer.  This suffering may be caused by stress, anxiety, fear, doubt, illness, old age, death, etc.  Some of these things are controllable (like stress or anxiety) and some are inescapable (like old age, sickness and death).

2. The reason that these events, acts and phenomena cause us to suffer is because most human beings have an inaccurate understanding of reality.

We do not see or understand the true nature of reality as it really is.  In short, we suffer because we wish things to be the way they cannot be, and to avoid the things we cannot avoid.

3. This world operates on the Law of Cause and Effect.  Every event, act, and phenomenon is the direct/indirect result of myriad causes.  This effect goes on to become part of a cause that will produce more effects.  Our current unhappiness stems from not taking an active role in producing healthy and beneficial causes that will likely produce the results that will ultimately provide us happiness.

4. By gaining a clearer view of the true nature of reality and taking a proactive role in using the Law of Cause and Effect, we can learn to trend results that will bring us happiness and allow us to overcome the causes of suffering.

Journaling Exercises:

Truth One

What are the major sources of your emotional distress? Divide your list into two sections, noting if the source of suffering is avoidable or unavoidable.

Truth Two

Is your constructed reality congruent with the true nature of reality? What things do you want that will never happen? What things are you trying to avoid that are just a fact of life?

Truth Three

Do you understand the Law of Cause and Effect? Knowing that human beings are hardwired to connect causes and effects that are completely unrelated, how can you guard against mis-linking events in your life while paying attention to causes and effects that are authentic?

Truth Four

How can you gain a clearer view of reality? Is there an ultimate reality or is truth relative? How can you put the Law of Cause and Effect into practice today?