Ricard: Suffering and Unhappiness

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Suffering can be triggered by numerous causes over which we sometimes have some power, and sometimes none.
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Being born with a handicap, falling ill, losing a loved one, or being caught up in war or in a natural disaster are all beyond our control.
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Unhappiness is altogether different, being the way in which we experience our suffering.
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Unhappiness may indeed be associated with physical or moral pain inflicted by exterior conditions,

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but it is not essentially linked to it.
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A study of quadriplegics found that although most acknowledged having considered suicide at first, a year after having been paralyzed only 10 percent considered their lives to be miserable; most considered theirs to be good.
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Just as it is the mind that translates suffering into unhappiness, it is the mind’s responsibility to master its perception thereof.
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A change, even a tiny one, in the way we manage our thoughts and perceive and interpret the world can significantly change our existence.
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Changing the way we experience transitory emotions leads to a change in our moods and to a lasting transformation of our way of being.
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Such “therapy” targets the sufferings that afflict most of us and seeks to promote the optimal flourishing of the human being.
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