No one will deny that a certain amount of pain, even some form of suffering, seems to be a part of life. Yet when we look a bit closer we see that many forms of personal suffering may not be necessary. Of course, if we knew they weren't, we wouldn't endure them. Or would we? We might have to allow some embarrassment to emerge before we're ready to confess that we have more say in our distress than we're willing to admit. The embarrassment is itself one form of suffering, even if it's relatively insignificant and manageable. The point here is that most of our fears, reactions, upsets, longing, thwarted desires, anger, stress, anxiety, doubt, worry, embarrassments, and other painful experiences are very often an unnecessary consequence of personal and cultural assumptions.
- Peter Ralston, The Book of Not Knowing