The 5 Causes of Suffering According to Buddhism and the Ultimate Way to Overcome Them


We all encounter mental roadblocks in life. To feelings of self-doubt to anxiety and depression, mental hindrances can be extremely tough to deal with.

However, we’re not the first human beings that suffered from such obstacles.

Buddhist monks and philosophers have studied and practiced the art of freeing the mind from these negative emotions that tie us to what they call the Wheel of Suffering.

They found 5 common hindrances to the mind.

We’ve gone through each of them below and we’ve also discussed how we can actually go about overcoming these obstacles for a peaceful and happy life.

desire for sensing


What is it:

The hindrance of sensory desire is latching onto thoughts or feelings based on the pleasures of the five senses.

Buddhist master Traleg Kyabgon explains it best:

“This term alludes to the mind’s tendency to latch on to something that attracts it–a thought, a visual object, or a particular emotion. When we allow the mind to indulge in such attractions, we lose our concentration. So we need to apply mindfulness and be aware of how the mind operates; we don’t necessarily have to suppress all these things arising in the mind, but we should take notice of them and see how the mind behaves, how it automatically grabs onto this and that.”

How to overcome it:

To overcome the hindrance of sensory desire, the meditator must use mindfulness and acknowledge the hindrance. Then they must observe the hindrance and experience it fully. Once experienced fully, the meditator must contemplate the impermanence of the pleasant desire. Buddhist master Ajahn Brahmavamso emphasizes the technique for letting go of concern for the body and five senses completely:

“In meditation, one transcends sensory desire for the period by letting go of concern for this body and its five sense activity. Some imagine that the five senses are there to serve and protect the body, but the truth is that the body is there to serve the five senses as they play in the world ever seeking delight. Indeed, the Lord Buddha once said, “The five senses ARE the world” and to leave the world, to enjoy the other worldly bliss of Jhana, one must give up for a time ALL concern for the body and its five senses.”

2) The Mental Hindrance of Aversion and Ill-Will.

mental hindrance

What is it:

This involves latching onto thoughts or feelings based on hostility, anger, resentment, bitterness etc.

Ajahn Brahmavamso states:

“Ill will refers to the desire to punish, hurt or destroy. It includes sheer hatred of a person, or even a situation, and it can generate so much energy that it is both seductive and addictive. At the time, it always appears justified for such is its power that it easily corrupts our ability to judge fairly. It also includes ill will towards oneself, otherwise known as guilt, which denies oneself any possibility of happiness. In meditation, ill will can appear as dislike towards the meditation object itself, rejecting it so that one’s attention is forced to wander elsewhere.”

How to overcome it:

According to Ajahn Brahmavamso, meditation on loving-kindness is crucial:

“Ill will is overcome by applying Metta, loving kindness. When it is ill will towards a person, Metta teaches one to see more in that person than all that which hurts you, to understand why that person hurt you (often because they were hurting intensely themselves), and encourages one to put aside one’s own pain to look with compassion on the other.”

3) The Mental Hindrance of Lethargy and Laziness.

What is it:

This is characterized as a morbid state of lacking energy and desire for wholesome activity.

Ajahn Brahmavamso states:

“Sloth and torpor refers to that heaviness of body and dullness of mind which drag one down into disabling inertia and thick depression. […] In meditation, it causes weak and intermittent mindfulness which can even lead to falling asleep in meditation without even realising it!”

How to overcome it:

To overcome laziness, we need to use our energy sources. Ajahn Brahmavamso says:

“Sloth and torpor is overcome by rousing energy. Energy is always available but few know how to turn on the switch, as it were. Setting a goal, a reasonable goal, is a wise and effective way to generate energy, as is deliberately developing interest in the task at hand. A young child has a natural interest, and consequent energy, because its world is so new. Thus, if one can learn to look at one’s life, or one’s meditation, with a ‘beginner’s mind’ one can see ever new angles and fresh possibilities which keep one distant from sloth and torpor, alive and energetic.”

4) The Mental Hindrance of Restlessness and Regret.

What is it: 

This refers to the mind being agitated and unable to settle down. Ajahn Brahmavamso explains it best:

“Restlessness [uddhacca] refers to a mind which is like a monkey, always swinging on to the next branch, never able to stay long with anything. It is caused by the fault-finding state of mind which cannot be satisfied with things as they are, and so has to move on to the promise of something better, forever just beyond. […] Remorse [kukkucca] refers to a specific type of restlessness which is the kammic effect of one’s misdeeds.”

How to overcome it:

Gil Fronsdal says it’s about understanding what makes you restless and accepting it and taking action:

“[There are] a variety of ways to engage restlessness, be present for it. […] [One is] learning, reflecting, meditating and contemplating what the nature of restlessness is. […] There might be a really good cause for you to be restless. […] Maybe you haven’t paid your taxes in ten years. […] [In this case] you don’t need meditation, you need to pay your taxes. You don’t use meditation to run away from the real issues of your life. […] Sometimes what’s needed is to really look and understand are there root causes for being restless.”

5) The Mental Hindrance of Doubt and Uncertainty.

What is it: 

This involves self-doubt and not truly understanding oneself.

Ajahn Brahmavamso states:

“Doubt refers to the disturbing inner questions at a time when one should be silently moving deeper. Doubt can question one’s own ability “Can I do This?”, or question the method “Is this the right way?”, or even question the meaning “What is this?”. It should be remembered that such questions are obstacles to meditation because they are asked at the wrong time and thus become an intrusion, obscuring one’s clarity.”

How to overcome it:

According to Ajahn Brahmavamso, this is overcome by having clear instructions and a way to move forward. He says:

“Such doubt is overcome by gathering clear instructions, having a good map, so that one can recognise the subtle landmarks in the unfamiliar territory of deep meditation and so know which way to go. Doubt in one’s ability is overcome by nurturing self-confidence with a good teacher. A meditation teacher is like a coach who convinces the sports team that they can succeed.”

Originally published on Hack Spirit.


Psoriatic Arthritis

It’s no secret that arthritis is on the rise … so is heart disease, diabetes and yep … our waist lines … but it’s not too late to get it all back …

First … what is Psoriatic Arthritis?

In a nut shell … joint inflammation from an over active immune system …

What triggers Psoriatic Arthritis?

STRESS … which adds more STRESS … it’s the snowball effect … other possible root causes a skin injury … certain medications and infection are a few … if you suffer from it, you probably already know all this … you may even been keeping a journal to see if there is a pattern to it … if not, you may want to consider doing so for you and your doctor to review together …

Psoriatic Arthritis is not curable but it can be controlled … First step in controlling it … Take a deep breath … your Arthritis doesn’t define who you are … you are healthy despite what you may hear, see and read  … we all have the ability to over come anything …

A few simple tips …

Stay focused on the present moment with meditation … some studies, such as in the January 2013 issues of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, show that mindfulness meditation relieves inflammation caused by stress … focus on breathing and mentally relaxing … you can find a number of YouTube meditation channels to guide you through …

Keep moving … I know you’ve heard it before … a body in motion … stays in motion … think of times where you had to sit for long periods of time … when you got up you probably were feeling a little stiff … if you hurt so bad that walking isn’t an option … consider water therapy … its low impact on joints and it builds muscle … yoga can be helpful being that it builds muscle and offers flexibility at the same time … of course, before starting any exercise program you should talk to your doctor to find out which type of exercise would be best for your situation …

Find a support group … The National Psoriasis Foundation offers a community of like-minded individuals … This Foundation has a plethora of information on probably every question you ever had about Psoriatic Arthritis and a lot of good information  …

Consult with your doctor about investing in a high quality supplement … we don’t always eat as healthy as we would like … there have been studies showing natural ingredients such as Tumeric, Curcumin, Ginger, Shiitake Mushroom, Acai Berry, and Resveratrol all to have positive results in balancing the body’s inflammatory response …

Bottom line … start out with little changes … it’s called chunking … these small daily changes can over time add up to huge changes … before you know it, you are where you want to be … so I say  …  go CHUNK Yourself!


How Daylight Savings Effects Us


If you’re like me, you are still adjusting to daylight savings time … even though it’s been a week since we set our clocks ahead an hour. We’re all walking around groggy and dazed because our biological rhythms are out of whack.

Our minds and our bodies are so in tune with nature that when we change our clocks, we’re affected more than we realize … If it were up to me I would do away with Daylight Savings! Maybe I should consider moving to Arizona where most of the state does not observe this crazy practice!

With our fast-paced, frazzled culture, sleep disturbances are already common in the Western world. Daylight Savings puts our circadian rhythms to the test even if we normally are able to get in our nightly 8 hours of peaceful rest.

The human brain doesn’t begin to produce melatonin and other hormones essential for healthy sleep until dark and for many people, the result of springing it forward means a lot less shut eye. This affects our moods, hunger levels, and craving for sleep.

According to recent research, disturbing a person’s circadian rhythm by even an hour is an extreme event with potentially harmful consequences (i.e., headaches, accidents at work and on the road, arguments, anxiety, insomnia, and chronic fatigue) These disturbances can also contribute to disease and in some cases lead to a heart attack.

You may feel that you adjust quickly to daylight saving time and maybe you do, however; this is rarely true. A study found that eight weeks later sleep and wakefulness patterns were still disrupted.

So are you feeling the “spring forward” repercussions? If you’re struggling to get back into your natural sleep/wake cycle, you’re not the only one. Here are some ways you can help your brain and body adjust:

Before Bed:

  • Reduce your caffeine intake or kick the habit all together. Instead, drink warm water with lemon
  • Wind down 30 minutes earlier … this means turn off the television and cell phones … Set your alarm clock 15-30 minutes earlier (I set mine for 5 a.m.)
  • Try to Relax and Reduce Stress in the hour before bed. Write in a journal, meditate, practice restorative yoga and deep breathing, drink some sleepy time tea, read, and/or take a hot bath with lavender essential oils
  • Dim your lights or just have your little night lights on about an hour before you hit the hay

In the Morning

  • Get out into the sunlight first things in the morning
    Take a morning walk
  • Do a few jumping jacks, push-ups, or anything to get your heart rate up
    Take a cold shower
  • Try a Natural, Sustained Energy Gel
  • Get up at the same time regardless of when the sun rises

Hopefully, these suggestions help make the transition more a pleasant change.

Enjoy the brighter days ahead and Happy Spring!


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The Significance of Health and Wellness

The significance of health and wellness has positively gone to the front line of the health industry in the most recent decade. With the baby boomer generation nearing or entering their senior years, strained health and medicinal administrations, and the acknowledgment by more prominent quantities of individuals of the limitations of therapeutic science, society has built up an increasingly prominent state of mind of duty towards one’s own health and wellness.

No longer are individuals exclusively depending on specialists or doctor’s facilities to improve them on the off chance that they become ill. Rather, the approach has changed to one of sickness prevention; to keep up or enhance the condition of health already exists. The fantastic blast in the health industry general takes the stand concerning these trends.

Health and Wellness Importance

The significance of health and wellness is reflected by the way that diets, get-healthy plans, exercise programs and hardware, wellness facilities, spas, dietary supplements and activity /relaxation gatherings of numerous kinds are presently typical in our regular daily lives. Some of these progressions are driven by the extreme demands and long sits tight for treatment in the health care framework, additionally by the longing of the working period for a more dynamic lifestyle after retirement, with the trust of being fit and all around alright to partake in their picked exercises. For these objectives to show into reality the base of good health must be developed all through life, not simply to attempt to repair the damage after it’s been finished.

So it has turned out to be clear why the health industry has turned in its present course. Just by setting the significance of health and wellness as a need now would anyone be able to take advantage of their future.