Excerpt from Chapter 8 of “The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching”, Thich Nhat Hahn, 2009
When we have a toothache, we know that not having a toothache is happiness. But later, when we don’t have a toothache, we don’t treasure our non-toothache. Practicing mindfulness helps us learn to appreciate the well-being that is already there. With mindfulness, we treasure our happiness and can make it last longer.
We need suffering in order to see the path. The origin of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the path leading to the cessation of suffering are all found in the heart of suffering. If we are afraid to touch our suffering, we will not be able to realize the path of peace, joy, and liberation. Don’t run away. Touch your suffering and embrace it. Make peace with it. The Buddha said, “The moment you know how your suffering came to be, you are already on the path of release from it.” If you know what has come to be and how it has come to be, you are already on the way to emancipation.