"Our attitude towards suffering becomes very important because it can affect how we cope with suffering when it arrives. Now, our usual attitude consists of an intense aversion and intolerance of our pain and suffering. However, if we can transform our attitude towards suffering, adopt an attitude that allows us greater tolerance of it, then this can do much to help counteract feelings of mental unhappiness, dissatisfaction, and discontent." [page 140] "If your basic outlook is that suffering is negative and must be avoided at all costs and in some sense is a sign of failure, this will add a distinct psychological component of anxiety and intolerance when you encounter difficult circumstances, a feeling of being overwhelmed. On the other hand, if your basic outlook accepts that suffering is a natural part of your existence, this will undoubtedly make you more tolerant towards the adversities of life. And without a certain degree of tolerance towards your suffering, your life becomes miserable." [page 141]
"Reflection on suffering is so important because there is a way out; there is an alternative. There is a possibility of freedom from suffering. By removing the causes of suffering, it is possible to attain a state of Liberation, a state free from suffering. According to Buddhist thought, the root causes of suffering are ignorance, craving, and hatred. ... Within a Buddhist context, when one reflects on the fact that one's ordinary day-to-day existence is characterized by suffering, this serves to encourage one to engage in the practices that will eliminate the root causes of one's suffering. Otherwise, if there was no hope, or no possibility of freedom from suffering, mere reflection on suffering just becomes morbid thinking, and would be quite negative." [pages 142-143]
The Dalai Lama makes the following observations on dealing with the death of a loved one: (1) its natural to be sad, but the feeling goes away in time; (2) worrying about the situation ruins your health without benefiting the departed person; (3) better to try to carry out the wishes of the dead person (which presumably would include going on to have a good life yourself); (4) a belief in rebirth is comforting; (5) thinking about other people who have suffered similar tragedies prevents feelings of isolation and self-absorption.
Cutler observes that in the West we have the ability to minimize suffering, and to put most of the suffering that occurs out of sight. Consequently we come to think of suffering as unnatural, a sign that something has gone wrong. "Most people in modern Western society tend to go through life believing that the world is basically a nice place in which to live, that life is mostly fair, and that they are good people who deserve to have good things happen to them. These beliefs can play an important role in leading a happier and healthier life. But the inevitable arising of suffering undermines these beliefs and can make it difficult to go on living happily and effectively. In this context a relatively minor trauma can have a massive psychological impact as one loses faith in one's basic beliefs. ... As long as we view suffering as an unnatural state, an abnormal condition that we fear, avoid, and reject, we will never uproot the causes of suffering and begin to live a happier life." [pages 147-148]