There are two broad categories of suffering. The first, pain, is inevitable, but much of other suffering is optional. We cannot avoid the pain of aging, illness, and death. But if we make our happiness dependent upon things and people we are attached to, we will eventually add "optional" suffering to our human condition because all things — and people — are impermanent. We create much of this kind of suffering through the stories we tell ourselves about what we believe will bring us happiness. Whenever we crave for things — health, sense experiences, people, possessions — to be different than they are, we create suffering for ourselves. When states or nations fall into the same kind of greed for things like territory, resources, and power to be different, they can create suffering on the scale of catastrophe.

May I face the painful experiences
that are inevitably part of life
with mindfulness
instead of embellishing stories
that increase my suffering.

Jean Smith in Now! The Art of Being Truly Present