Although others may cause us pain,
we can control our suffering
by how we react to our pain.
The Buddha explained suffering as two darts. Pain, the first dart, can be either physical or emotional. Suffering, the second dart, we inflict on ourselves as we react impulsively to the pain. Let’s say you rush into a room and, in your haste, walk into a chair. A painful first dart. The second dart ensues as you scold yourself for being clumsy and careless; you never learn! At other times, we inflict the second dart when there was no first. For instance, we take a co-worker’s remark the wrong way. Not bothering to check to see if a first dart even existed, we automatically stab ourselves with a second dart of anger or distress. The solution? We cannot always avoid first darts. But we can control the second ones. We create the suffering; we can stop it. As soon as you sense a second dart is poised for striking, recognize it. And drop it for the worthless thing it is.