Suffering = Pain x Resistance

This is a mindfulness equation that provides an explanation of why it is to our benefit to accept painful experiences in the present moment. To understand this equation we can break it down into its components. Pain is an inevitable part of life and part of the human condition, it is a message to ourselves that lets us know there is an imbalance or separation with “the one”. We can feel pain when we don’t get something we want, get something we don’t want, and even when we get something we do want because of its impermanence in time. Resistance is our conscious or unconscious desire to change something in the present moment. It is only our natural tendency to try to change an uncomfortable experience and has played an evolutionary purpose to keep us safe. We can honour our resistance for trying to keep us safe, but when it comes to our personal experience “what we resist persists”. The product of pain and resistance determines our suffering, which can be seen as our perceived experience of the pain. The solution to minimizing suffering comes twofold. If we can work on loving ourselves and letting go we could reduce the amount of pain that we produce in our experience. If we learn to accept the pain in this moment we reduce the resistance in this moment and show a listening that lets this pain know it has been heard. We can work on loving ourselves enough to not self-inflict pain but with pain’s inevitability, it seems like acceptance is truly our best medicine for the suffering in this moment.