Inspired by a video clip from one of my WhatsApp contacts’ statuses last night, my pen could not help but dance innately in an attempt to explicate the seemingly befuddling quote by Woody Allen some 45 years ago. It says;
“To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering one must not love. But then one suffers from not loving. Therefore, to love is to suffer. Not to love is to suffer”.
What is SUFFERING?
To trudge in this circle of mirrors with centered flames gives free rein to vitrified distortions of acute definitions of ‘suffering‘, which chiefly bewilders or dumbs the seeker in a dome of cecity. The nature of ‘suffering‘ shall instead be expounded, for only then can the seeker penetrate to understand its truths in a field of clarity – the truth of suffering; the cause of suffering; the end of suffering; the path out of suffering.
Birth is suffering. Aging is suffering. Sickness is suffering. Clinging is suffering. But, let your mind waver not into thinking ‘everything is suffering’, for the truth of suffering is a noble truth, and not an absolute truth. For if it were, there will be no path out of suffering.
Now, you should not be bored with the pyramid. I will attempt to give to you, a brick of its lower tail, which hums to the tone you whistle. One who yearns to understand the nature of ‘suffering‘ doesn’t say “I am suffering”. He says, “There is suffering”. For to acknowledge and be a separate observer furnishes understanding. “He stepped on my toes, it hurts” – this is not suffering. A reply, “Are you blind?”, is suffering.
The cause of suffering is simply the craving accompanied by relish and lust, craving for sensual desires, craving to bring into existence, craving to take out of existence, becoming and unbecoming.
Yes, attachment to desire is the cause of suffering, and yes, to desire is to suffer. In this manner, eating entails suffering, for eating requires hunger but it can not put an end to hunger – an analogy and a truth you mustn’t spill on the grounds of reasons.
Now, delving to explaining the quote proper. “To love is to suffer…” To love too little – hate – or too much – obsession. To love and not be loved back. To be hurt by a loved one. To be loved by one who is hurt. To see a loved one die. To miss a loved one. To be separated from a loved one. To desire from a loved one what he can not give. To love oneself than others. These aren’t the channels to the river that will quench your crave. They are but stones on which I draw my description, and with which I describe the destination – a throw in your mind, if you will.
When you love, you will and must suffer, for you must cling and desire. Below the mark, you are unsatisfied. On the mark, you crave more. Above the mark, you create another scale, unsatisfied.
To avoid suffering, one must not love. You then realize that if you don’t love, you also suffer, as one suffers from not loving. So, to love is to suffer. Not to love is to suffer. To suffer, is to suffer.
To be happy is to love. And since to love is to suffer, to be happy then is to suffer. But suffering makes one unhappy, yes? Therefore, to be happy, one must not love. To be unhappy, one must love or love to suffer, or suffer from too much happiness.
Now, this is the link of wits. Naturally, I would just come out and say, “To love is to suffer, to be happy is to suffer”. But for those who are yet to grasp the meaning of ‘suffering‘, for they will say, “How can happiness imply suffering?“. It might help to draw the tree for the link of wits, as above, to ease their understanding or dazzle their intellect.
“To love is to suffer” is intuitively believable to some extent, and the link connects this truth to another that is quite the hard pill to swallow, at first.
Now, ask me the question, “What exactly was Woody Allen trying to say?”. I will simply say, “He was trying to say desire will always breed unhappiness”.
But, can we stop desiring? Yes? No?