The first and fourth noble truths are the same coin. Suffering is not an obstacle to a meaningful life. On the contrary, suffering can help you understand the world, and attachment to happiness can be an obstacle. If we hold on tightly to what we have, our curiosity may not be ignited. Suffering shakes us up. It makes us look again and engenders reevaluation. To get through difficulties, we have to wake up, and we can learn a lot in the process. When we are forced to move beyond the confines of our circumscribed life, we touch reality more deeply and long only for meaning.

From Happiness Is Overrated: Simple Lessons on Finding Meaning in Each Moment by Cuong Lu © 2023. Reprinted in arrangement by Shambhala Publications, Inc., Boulder, CO.

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