Whenever we’re in difficulty, we are tempted to put our concern and attention on solving the perceived problem that has most recently caught our attention. In the medical discourse, this would be like trying to treat the symptom rather than investigating to determine the underlying cause or illness. In other words, we are liable to get distracted by the wrong problem.

Whenever we encounter suffering, therefore, it is natural to pin the blame for that suffering on something immediately apparent. If we tend towards self-aggrandizement than we will likely blame someone else for our misfortune. If we are self-deprecating by nature, we are more likely to lapse into a well worn path of lamenting our own perceived personal failings. Both habits are useless when it comes to avoiding future negative results and achieving happiness.

The reason it is pointless to lay blame for such results is because strictly speaking they are nobody’s fault. They are simply the result of the natural progression of causes and effects which are independent of any one individual. If we had to assign responsibility for suffering we would give it to ignorance of the true nature of reality, which is just a fact of life and is not unique to any one individual or group.

Once a person realizes that suffering has an underlying cause, she will understand that any action aimed at reducing suffering that does not address this root cause can only have a temporary effectiveness. As long as the ignorance persists, suffering will just grow out in another direction. If we are really serious about reducing suffering we must direct our attention towards the development of wisdom.

This wisdom can be developed by bringing the mind into the present moment on a continual basis through the practice of Vipassana. At our insight meditation centre, we will show you exactly how to develop your Vipassana practice so that you can begin or continue to destroy suffering at its root.

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