Why must we feel pain and suffering? That is a very good question and the answer is found in being able to see its usefulness. This article will show the reason that pain and suffering exists and how to end it by understanding its purpose for self-improvement to find inner peace and happiness.
In order for anything to exist, its opposite must also exist. How can you know hot if you do not know cold? We seek joy, pleasure, contentment and peace. But in order for us to know about these things, we must have experienced their opposites. Thus, the seeking of pleasure comes from the experience of pain. If we never felt pain, we would not seek pleasure. Pain is the same as discontent, irritation, aggravation, confusion, guilt, loneliness, etc.
Taking control of your life, a desire that stems from a sense of out of control, is another common drive. But what is being in control, what is pleasure? These are only relative states that exist in relation to their opposite. We are driven by the opposing force of what we think we desire. We are not drawn to anything, rather we are running away from something in the opposite direction.
This is the reason most people fail to achieve their goals. They think they are focused and moving towards what they seek, but in reality, they are running away from the pain. They continue to look backwards to see if the pain is following them, hence not looking forward enough to stay on course and reach the perceived goal. The real goal is the avoidance of pain, and not the imagined achievement of success.
Our essence has no duality, it has no sense of opposites. This Being does not seek pleasure because it does not feel pain. The original essence of our being is complete and content. That contentment and peace is the state we seek, and have potentially within us.
If you stopped feeling pain, you would no longer require pleasure, because the desire for pleasure stems from the feeling of pain, as does the desire for control in your life come from feeling out of control. In some cases, there is a reality to the pain, as in physical or emotional illness. In other cases, the pain or discomfort is illusory in that we think the difficult situation is permanent when it is actually only temporary, but more importantly, we are resisting the current situation. Resitance causes pain. Remember to think in broader terms than your current situation and know that all things eventually pass.
Try This Exercise
Contemplate the following question and see how it effects your concept of pain: “What is it that really makes you happy? What do you enjoy the most in life, what gives you the most pleasure?” It could be a thing, an experience, an action. What is the greatest joy in life?
Now consider what causes pain. Make a list of these things, or just let them float around in your mind.
Part of the problem is that we have these invisible antagonists, the thoughts of painful events, that are causing us so much trouble. It is as if there are demons pushing us around and we can only feel the hit but never see the one delivering the blow. If you could see the attacker, you could get out of the way and avoid the pain. This is the purpose of this article, how to see this invisible attack. There are not really any other beings attacking you, you are doing that job perfectly well all on your own.
There is a fly on your face.
In reality, the attacker is imaginary. For example, if you where told that there is a fly on your face and you could not brush it off, you would begin to feel a little twitch, even though there is nothing there. It is the same with feeling out of control in our life. We imagine an attack and respond, or hear something that we feel it should not be that way and get angry demanding it change. That is fine if it is an injustice in some way, but when it rains, that is just nature and getting angry is not going to do anything about it, just take an umbrella.
If you could see how the feelings of lack of control or pain effect you because you believe that things should be different than they are, you will be free of them by accepting everything as it is. The problem is that if there is no pain, there is no motivation to move forward. By feeling the pain, you are motivated to make changes. The trick is to know what to change and what to accept. This understanding will end pain in place of either peace or motivation.
Pain is only pain if we resist what is and desire something opposite. However if we change our view to see what is currently called a painful situation as a motivator to improve a condition, then pain becomes encouragement.
Without the painful wait for a slow computer, no one would developed a faster computer. Everything humans have developed or created is due to a desire to end pain, right down to houses, cloths, the wheel and the use of fire. Even the spiritual paths are founded on pain and suffering as the method to ease our pain.
My proposal here is to say that all suffering is in our mind. We suffer because we resist the current situation. However, if we could see everything as an encouragement to move forward, to seek new ideas and inventions, to put in more effort to climb the mountain, or to get ourself out of the desert before we die of dehydration, then maybe we would welcome every situation as the a necessary nudge to get us moving forward in the never ending path of self evolution.
I will continue this article in the next post.