Understanding how our suffering works is one way to deal with it. We can understand ourselves a lot better when we slow down to see what’s going on.
There are five patterns that are traditionally said to lead to suffering.
1.Seeing the self as separate: Part of Buddhist teaching explains that we aren’t separate from the world around us, that we are really just a collection of things (called skandhas) and not this independent entity that we perceive ourselves to be.
3.Attachment to views: We tend to attach to our views, especially the strongly held ones, or the ones that were put into us during our childhood. We should have views but hold on loosely to them.
4.Extremes of nihilism and eternalism: The extreme of nihilism is that nothing matters. The extreme of eternalism is that everything is going to last forever and be secure. Reality dwells in between extremes.
5.Attachment, Aversion, and Ignorance: These are the three poisons. I want this, I don’t want that, I don’t understand. Although they’re separate, they are intimately tied together.
These patterns can tell us a lot about where our suffering comes from.