The Second Noble Truth is that the clinging mind—grasping, hatred and ignorance—protecting what we think is “ours” from loss—are the cause of suffering, individual and worldwide, internally and externally.
The ground of the clinging mind is ignorance—taking what is unsatisfactory, impermanent and insubstantial to be satisfactory, permanent and substantial, despite mountains of life evidence to the contrary. It is the delusion that what we keep, guard, possess and cling to will win the mythical race to happiness. Out of grasping, possessiveness and aggression come wars, racism, tribalism, “us and them,” and much of the misery in the world. There is enough medicine and food. We just don’t think it’s our responsibility to see it gets to the “other.” Ignorant of our interconnectedness, we believe there really is “us and them,” and ignore that how we treat each other may be a more effective measure of global happiness or suffering than how much we have accumulated.
We grasp at “how it should be,” ignoring how things lawfully unfold, and that everything is dependent on causes and conditions. Our own response to experience makes the difference between suffering and contentment. Instead of attending to our thoughts, words and actions, we place blame externally, trying to fix circumstances without attention to the quality of our relationship to them.
Considering this, I invite you, when you’re suffering, to intimately understand attachment, aggression and ignorance—see whether the more we cling, the more we suffer. Is there an opportunity to unclench—even a little?