Gil Fronsdal – BHNN Guest Podcast – Ep. 17 – Working with Suffering


In this episode of the Be Here Now Network’s Guest Podcast, Gil Fronsdal shows how we can be happier and less reactive when we are working with suffering, instead of working against it.

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Show Notes

“I Stop for Suffering” (Opening) – What quality of wisdom do we carry in our reactivity to suffering? Gil begins with a reflection on how we respond to suffering and examines what happens when we take a moment to react wisely.

“When I have some wisdom available to me, one of my responses to suffering is to stop for it and to be present for it.”

Listen to Lama Surya Das’s lesson around applying the Middle Way to suffering on Ep. 32 of the Awakening Now Podcast

Working with Suffering (13:00) – It’s easy to see suffering as something that is best to be avoided or to ignore. Gil examines the important role that suffering plays in our development and why we would be better off learning to be with suffering, rather than getting rid of it.

“Suffering is important, we want to be respectful of it. We want to care for it and be compassionate to it. Suffering really warrants a kind of importance. Not important in a way that we want to keep it, but important in a way we want to work with.”

Ram Dass begins a two-part talk on working with suffering on Ep. 25 of the Here and Now Podcast

Noble Suffering (19:25) – Gil looks at the way that being with suffering transforms how we experience it entirely. We explore the Buddha’s teachings around what happens to our development when we engage with suffering in a constructive way.

“Noble suffering means that you begin seeing the suffering through the lens of maturity. Of a willingness to stay and be present. To not to be swept away in the stories or reactivity we have, we are just there to be with it and to shine the light of awareness on it.”

Our Wounds (35:15) – Suffering can present itself in any form. Gil shares perspective on how we can change our relationship to suffering, no matter what form it takes.

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