The Root of All Suffering

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What is Suffering?

Suffering is defined as any experience that feels negative to you.

Hate, anger, frustration, guilt, pessimism, fear, disempowerment, sadness, boredom, grief, and anxiety are all indicators of suffering. It’s not wrong that humans suffer, but we can all agree that it doesn’t feel good when we do it. 

When you understand the root cause of all your suffering you will be able to slowly, but surely evolve it from your life experience.

“All life is suffering.”
— Buddha

This Buddhist quote refers to “physical life” because of the dualistic nature of our physical experience. There is no “down” without “up,” no “left” without “right,” and no “happy” without “sad,” etc. 

Because we are physically focused beings, it is inevitable that we suffer unless we somehow transcend the physical state of duality, and evolve from seeing ourselves as separate from everything, to knowing ourselves as one with all-that-is.

Transcending duality can be done on a mental and emotional level, which is how one can completely relieve suffering from all of their life experience.

 

The Root Cause of All Suffering

The root cause of all suffering is mental and emotional attachment to any desire. 

Any time you have ever experienced any kind of negative emotion in the past, it is always because you had mental and emotional investment into an outcome that didn’t come to fruition. It is as simple as that. There was a part of your thought process that needed your expectations to be fulfilled in order for you to feel good. When it didn't go the way you wanted, you felt negative emotion to some degree.

When you mentally and emotionally invest yourself into a future goal, past memory, or any kind of thought process, you become identified with it on a mental level. This attachment to your thinking is what Eckhart Tolle refers to as “the ego-mind.”

The more attachment you have to your ego -- that is to say, the more you identify with your thoughts, relationships, life circumstances, etc. -- the more you will inevitably suffer in your life experience because you have unconsciously identified your sense of self with the dualistic nature of our physical reality. In other words, where there is an “up,” there will always be a “down.” The question is, do you suffer because of your attachment to the ups and the downs? Or do you feel good interdependent of them?

All of this suffering and ego attachment was created beyond your awareness because you received the majority of your programmed habits of thinking from your environment while growing up. You may have noticed that most of the areas your parents and best friends suffer, you suffer in as well. 

The good news is, you don't have to suffer if you don't want to. When you become aware of why you suffer, you can let go of your egos attachment and identification with the outside world, and thus experience true freedom and liberation on a consistent basis. Even though this takes practicing new ways of being in the world, the reward is a life filled with total acceptance, love, and joy.

 

The Root Function of The Ego-Mind

Most people live in a constant state of suffering because they are always trying to find themselves and their happiness in things, people, and circumstances.

We are programmed with beliefs that make us think things like:

“I’ll be happy when I lose weight.”

“I’ll be happy when I attract a lover.”

“I’ll be happy when I go on vacation.”

“I’ll be happy when I get a new job/promotion.”

“I’ll be happy when I get a new car/house.”

“I’ll be happy when I can have a drink and/or cigarette.”

“I’ll be happy when I can quit smoking and/or drinking.”

“I’ll be happy when I go on vacation.”

“I’ll be happy when s/he likes me.”

“I’ll be happy when I have sex.”

“I’ll be happy when s/he does 'this'…”

“I’ll be happy when s/he doesn’t do 'that'…”

“I’ll be happy when…”

“I’ll be happy when…”

“I’ll be happy WHEN…”

It's not wrong to have desires. It becomes a constant point of suffering, however, when we are always trying to find a sense of self-importance within these things, relationships, social constructs, and life-circumstances. This need for things to make us happy is the ego-minds root functionality, constantly seeking it’s “other half” in a dualistic world. "Having" and "not having," "being and not being," "doing" and "not doing," and so on and so forth.

The gateway to non-suffering is to practice releasing mental and emotional attachment to the outside world, and thus become one with the present moment. 

When you bring awareness to the unconscious thought stream running in your head, you simultaneously bring a new dimension of consciousness into your life that has no opposite. From here, you no longer become a victim to the world because you realize a profound, yet simple truth:

You can choose the way you feel when you become present and aware of who you are and how you react to your world.

The moment you take full responsibility for your thoughts, emotions, and actions in this moment, you become totally free from all suffering because you choose not to suffer. You choose to feel good instead.

 

Transcending Suffering

Transcending suffering occurs when you choose to bring this higher degree of conscious presence into your life on a consistent basis, recognizing yourself as whole and complete just the way you are. This will detach your ego from needing anything other than what the present moment has to offer it in order for you to feel good. This means feeling pure acceptance of what-is on a mental and emotional level while simultaneously allowing yourself to interact with and pursue the world in congruence with your highest values and desires.

Living within this state of presence means you no longer do things because you think it will make you happy. You do things because you already feel joyful, and the doing of those things only enhances the joy you already experiencing in your life.

The degree of non-attachment you have to your ego-mind can be measured by how much unconditional love and bliss you allow yourself to feel on a moment-to-moment basis. 

When you are consistently aligned with the present moment, you've given up trying to feel happy because you already are happy for no reason.

Some spiritual teachers refer to this constistant state of bliss as “enlightenment.”

“Enlightenment is not like a college degree. Once you have it you don’t have it forever. Enlightenment is something you either have or don’t have in any given moment.”
— Abraham-Hicks

The opposite of love is not fear. Love has no opposite because love is all there is on a wholistic level. All fear is resistance to that which we call love.

The less you resist, the closer you are to transcending the ego. You could also describe this non-resistant state as a feeling of oneness with “the whole,” “all-that-is,” “the universe,” “God,” “your higher self,” “the present moment,” etc. 

Whatever words you use to describe the feeling does not matter. It’s the feeling of pure positive energy you’re wanting to practice aligning yourself with right now.

 

Exercise to Release Your Suffering

The following 10 statements are pointers and guides to detach yourself from the root of your suffering. 

The point of this practice is to allow each statement to land deep inside yourself and feel it within your entire body, mind, and soul. When you allow yourself to be affected by these statements, a powerful transformation has the opportunity to take place. True liberation from your suffering can begin.

Read each statement slowly. When you read it, read it not only from your mind, but also from your heart and soul. Begin to become aware of how each statement resonates with the core of your being. 

Do this with the intention of letting go of any attachment your ego might have. This may feel uncomfortable. That’s okay. If it does it means you are choosing to let a part of yourself go that you don’t need anymore. Allow it to happen. There is freedom on the other side of your suffering.

Take a deep breath before each statement and then allow yourself to feel the response throughout your body.

Whether you feel resistance or acceptance, don't have any attachments to an outcome. Remain present, and practice feeling each statement.

 

1. I choose to let go of anything I don’t need in my life.

Before continuing, read this statement three more times. How does it feel throughout your body? The more release you feel, the better.

After you have read it four times, continue on to the next statement.

 

2. I allow myself to feel my negative emotion with compassion and ease.

Before continuing, read this statement three more times. How does it feel throughout your body? The more release you feel, the better.

After you have read it four times, continue on to the next statement.

 

3. I can let my emotional and mental pain go whenever I am ready.

Before continuing, read this statement three more times. How does it feel throughout your body?The more release you feel, the better.

After you have read it four times, continue on to the next statement.

 

4. I don’t need to do anything or be anywhere other than where I am. Everything is perfect just the way it is.

Before continuing, read this statement three more times. How does it feel throughout your body?The more release you feel, the better.

After you have read it four times, continue on to the next statement.

 

5. I love doing things that enhance my inner state of joy, love and bliss. I choose to follow this bliss everywhere I go.

Before continuing, read this statement three more times. How does it feel throughout your body?The more release you feel, the better.

After you have read it four times, continue on to the next statement.

 

6. I am totally okay, and I am getting better every moment I’m alive. I am taken care of by the highest source.

Before continuing, read this statement three more times. How does it feel throughout your body?The more release you feel, the better.

After you have read it four times, continue on to the next statement.

 

7. I release the need to be right about anything. The state of non-attachment is all I need to feel okay in my life.

Before continuing, read this statement three more times. How does it feel throughout your body?The more release you feel, the better.

After you have read it four times, continue on to the next statement.

 

8. I have so much joyful and enthusiastic experiences to look forward too, but even when something happens that I don’t want, I still remain joyful.

Before continuing, read this statement three more times. How does it feel throughout your body?The more release you feel, the better.

After you have read it four times, continue on to the next statement.

 

9. I am becoming more and more enlightened every day because I choose to care enough about how I feel to let go of my egos need for my “now” to be something that it’s not.

Before continuing, read this statement three more times. How does it feel throughout your body?The more release you feel, the better.

After you have read it four times, continue on to the next statement.

 

10. All is perfect, whole and completely incomplete. I will never be finished creating my life into the beautiful masterpiece it was meant to be, because my desires and preferences are forever evolving. I’m enjoying my own expansion.

Before continuing, read this statement three more times. How does it feel throughout your body?The more release you feel, the better.

 

Like any practice in life, it's not the practice itself that gives you the answers you're looking for. It's the mere acceptance of your own capability to choose the way you feel that gives you true salvation.

Continue to use these statements as a guide and a tool to release your suffering from your life experience. With a high willingness to let go, and the ongoing practice of becoming aware of how you feel, you’ll get better and better of relieving all suffering from your life.

Stay tuned for future articles that will help you practice non-attachment for the purpose of living a more happy, abundant life-experience.

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Bron Johnson

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