All over the world, many people are suffering. They are not content with who they are or what they have. They visualize a future in which they will finally have all that they desire, a time when everything will be okay. They envision a day where they will have the romantic partner of their dreams, or the job that they’ve always wanted. However their discontentment with their current circumstances is what is creating their pain and agony. They have created a suffering gap for themselves.
What is a Suffering Gap?
A suffering gap is the disparity between a person’s current situation and their desired one. The farther a person’s current situation is from their desired one, the greater their suffering. The closer a person’s desired situation is to their current one, the less their suffering. Suffering occurs the moment we desire for our current reality to be different from how it actually is. For example, if I desire to have a job paying $100,000 a year and my current job only pays $25,000, my suffering will be great. If I only desire to make $30,000 I will suffer less, however I will still suffer. However, if I make peace and accept the fact that I only make $25,000, I will not suffer because I will not be comparing my current reality to an imagined non-existent one. Acceptance of the present moment allows us to live in peace.
Many people may think that acceptance of the present moment will cause them to become complacent. They may think to themselves “If I’m content with the way things are, what will motivate me to change”. Actually the opposite will be true, acceptance of the present moment will allow you to act more freely and creatively because you’re sense of happiness will no longer be dependent on an imagined destination or outcome. You still take the journey, but you enjoy each step because you are no longer concerned about the outcome. However, when you have an imagined destination, you spend so much time trying to get there that you don’t enjoy where you are now. Life isn’t in the past, or in the future. Life is now, and if you’re not happy with your life right now, you aren’t truly living. We are not promised tomorrow, and many people die before reaching their imagined destination and never experience true happiness.
We create our own suffering by creating an imagined destination when everything will be okay. We fail to realize that everything is okay the way it is now. By eliminating the suffering gap from our lives, we eliminate our primary source of hurt and pain, and are free to enjoy this moment just the way it is. Only by eliminating the suffering gap from our lives can we truly reach our full potential and accomplish what we desire.