The Medical Model

by Friends of Godwin

In talking about the Four Noble Truths sometimes I like to use the medical model: sickness, cause of the sickness, cure and the medicine. In a way meditation can be seen as discovering the medicine for the sickness that we create ourselves. So to use it in a practical way, when you are meditating or whatever you are doing, whenever there is suffering don’t give it a minus, don’t feel bad about it but see: I am experiencing what the Buddha called the First NobleTruth. He called it noble because it is only when we suffer that we can find a way out of suffering. It is only when we are sick that we feel the need to find the medicine. So in any situation where there is suffering just see it as the First NobleTruth. And I think this is a very interesting way of relating to suffering because we are learning to see the Dhamma in the suffering.

But the Second NobleTruth is more difficult than the First NobleTruth, where you have to see that you are creating the suffering yourself by the images you have, by the models you have, by the expectations you have. This is where one has to see very clearly, to see your own expectations, to see your own models, to see your own images. To see what it is that you are resisting in relation to what is happening. Even while we are meditating we can use this. So when you are meditating and when you are suffering for some reason, then you can investigate immediately what you are expecting, what you are wanting, what you are demanding.

And I would like to suggest a positive way of using the Four Noble Truths, especially the last two. So if you constantly observe what is happening then you will realise: at this moment there is no suffering, there is no reaction, there is nothing that I am resisting. Then it would also be interesting to find out, why is there no suffering now? Then you will realise: Ah, I am accepting things just as they are now and therefore there is no suffering.