The final aspect of suffering the Buddha suggested we get to know well is called ‘all pervasive suffering’. This refers to the general distortion we view ourselves from, which is always painful, and that is seeing ourselves as separate from what we experience; assuming I am in here and the world is out there, arising independent of my mind state. This is how the basic mind perceives life, so it is tricky for us to recognize the error of perception. This teaching parallels the third mind changing, as each of us is in an interdependent relationship with reality, similar to the dream state. Although we cannot control all that we experience, we can witness the precursor to this level of suffering, which is the grasping on a sense of an isolated ‘me and mine’. When there is no grasping and something unpleasant occurs, we do not suffer.
Become a detective of your own mind states today, and when distasteful or difficult events arise, immediately observe inward and notice if you are meeting the event with an open mind and heart, or more often, if you can feel some grasping, some tension of separation, some ‘selfing’. No need to judge yourself if this arises, simply attend to the feeling tone without any agenda. Awareness naturally absorbs grasping and it gently dissolves.