Excerpted from the 20210509 dharma talk.
…We can go a little deeper to talk about why understanding suffering, and just simply facing it, simply understanding it, simply contemplating it, simply exploring the nature of suffering of living in this world, can become the joy in jhana/meditation.
One of the reasons is that when a meditator begins to pay attention to the relationship between his mind and the suffering, he is likely to begin to see that, although suffering may seem to gnaw at and shake the mind, suffering and the mind are not the same thing. There seems to be a space between suffering and the mind, a place to maneuver.
In such a space, it is as if you are tied with a rope. There is a gap between the rope and your body, so there is a possibility for you to break free. That rope is not tying you up completely. And this gap between the mind and the circumstances, it’s really…only those who have developed wisdom, those who have practiced meditation, would understand. It’s really like this. Suffering, why it’s called non-self, one of the meanings is because it’s really not 100% you. It’s just that many times you feel that it is already you, that you are suffering, because you are so greatly engulfed by suffering, surrounded by it.
But if you look a little more carefully, you’ll see that it’s not you yet. The reason it can surround you is because it is not you. You are different from it. There is a distance between you and the suffering. There is a gap. The more you understand this gap, and the more you understand that the mind and the circumstances are not together, the more you will believe that liberation is possible, and, the more you are able to change your relationship with that suffering right in the present moment.
Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator with amendments.