Life is suffering. These were the profound and truthful words of the Buddha. All of life is suffering. There is, however, liberation from the suffering. By following the eightfold path of Buddhist practice, using meditation and yoga as tools to guide us on the path, we can become spiritually enlightened. Enlightenment, according to Buddhism, is finding and achieving the state of Nirvana. Many view enlightenment not as a means to an end but a episodic occurrence. Moments of enlightenment can be realization, profound change, or even recognizing the chance to choose between right and wrong.
In All About Buddhism: Work to live or live to work? Jason Jellison writes that while there are choices of right, there are more so various shades of wrong. Buddha, he explains, taught that humans are stuck in the cycle of reincarnation until they complete their karma. Their karma is the collection of their past mistakes, or the lessons they have not learned. Until their karma is completed, they will continue to be reborn, to again endure the suffering of life.
Karma of Relapse
Addicts and alcoholics experience this cycle regularly. The karma of relapse is obvious when, despite best intention, the choice to pick up and use once more results in suffering. Until the lesson of substance abuse is learned, the karma continues to provide the lesson. Dying and being reborn in and out of sobriety is a common situation for many addicts and alcoholics. Once they finally choose and commit to sobriety, they no longer have to learn the lesson about picking up and using. The lesson is complete. However, it is only one lesson.
We are presented with opportunity to learn and make choices every single day. Jellison explains those choices are rooted in wrongness because everyone suffers from the moral failing of suffering and lack of enlightenment. Jellison emphasizes, though, that there is happiness within the wrongness. Though we may never make the perfect choice that is completely Right, we can choose a better wrong as we make our way toward enlightenment. The point being to continue learning how to recognize the choice, and make as better of one as we possibly can as we go.
Refuge Recovery is a Buddhist based treatment center in Los Angeles, California providing detox, residential, and other levels of care. Our program is open to men and women seeking to recover from toxic relationships to drugs and alcohol. For more information, call 323-207-0276.