Life has known its sorrows. It has had its moments of pain, of suffering, of fear, and trauma. Moments of uncertainty, and discomfort. This line will likely continue because for life to exist there needs to be a certain kind of struggle. It needs to have a form of balance to keep it all going.
I look back on the short duration of my life and see that there has been a lot of suffering, pain, fears, and traumas. What scares me is that if I now think back on my life I see how much of it has been held in the grip of it. How much of life I experienced a certain level of suffering, but also how I desperately tried to overcome it, which only seemed to make the suffering worse.
“When I look at the world, I also see that we have not known peace since the beginning of our record on history. As a species on this earth, we have created much chaos, conflict, war, and terror.”
When I look at the world, I also see that we have not known peace since the beginning of our record on history. As a species on this earth, we have created much chaos, conflict, war, and terror. Both towards ourselves, and others, including nature. But why is it that I have not known much peace in my life? Why is it that the world hasn’t known peace? And why is it that suffering and sorrow exist in the first place?
The Root of Your Suffering
Suffering and sorrow exist because it is part of us. But you must then wonder why it is part of us? It is part of us because suffering, pain, fear, and trauma are nothing more than thoughts. And it is thoughts that still run most of our lives. For good reason, because without thought we wouldn’t be human. It’s kind of our superpower and at the same time our biggest downfall.
That is if we don’t fully understand ourselves. To uncover the essence of our thoughts. There is one thing we all want, something we think a lot about. That is happiness. What makes us happy? But more importantly what is in our way of happiness? It is happiness that I was looking for, for years, because I wasn’t happy. Because I lacked a certain feeling of happiness I was trying to obtain it and go after it. By going after it the lack, the discomfort of not being happy only grew. And I wonder why?
It had everything to do with the idea that happiness was something to obtain. What I didn’t see was that happiness wasn’t something to obtain and that I only craved it because I felt the insatiable feeling of emptiness. The lacking, and emptiness is an experience we all seem to want to run from. And there is a good reason for that. It’s because we uncover that life is essentially meaningless unless you give it some meaning. Which again is a thought you have. Your meaning in life is a thought you attached to it. The same goes for happiness, this is nothing more than an idea you have. An idea of a potential future that would make you happy. It might be an object you want to own in the future, something you want to do, or a specific way to live, that you think will make you happy.
“If you lack something in life, you start to find a reason for that lack, you try to cover up the feeling of emptiness, and by doing that you create suffering, pain, and fears for you to focus on.“
That idea that we can be happy at the same time creates thoughts of suffering, pain, and fear. Because we do not yet feel happy we try to attach a reason to it. We try to find a reason for our lack of happiness. Which is the origin of our sorrows. It is like you want to have a dog as a pet, but you don’t have one yet. You start to figure out why you don’t have a dog yet, or why you can’t have a dog. Reasons like, not having enough money, or being allergic to them will likely be your answers to these questions. If you lack something in life, you start to find a reason for that lack, you try to cover up the feeling of emptiness, and by doing that you create suffering, pain, and fears for you to focus on.
That’s the reason why you might have heard people say that you can’t find happiness and that it is already here. But that’s not completely true either, because happiness is a feeling, a thought. And feelings and thoughts can’t be there all the time. They come and go. So can we ever be happy then? Can we ever feel alive? Can we ever get rid of our suffering, pain, and fear so that we can be happy?
You Cannot Get Rid of Suffering
To be straightforward with you, you can’t get rid of it. For the same reason why you can’t get happiness by searching for it. If you want it to be gone, if you want to be free of suffering, you try to force it away. Or try to heal it, but that still means that you are not okay with life as it is. To get rid of something, or to obtain something means that the way life is, is not enough. You are still lacking something if you want to get rid of suffering and pain.
That doesn’t mean we can’t become free from suffering, pain, or fear. We can be freed from them, and we can do that ourselves. But being free of them doesn’t mean they are gone, it doesn’t mean they disappear in thin air by doing something specific like meditation or healing work. To be free of suffering, pain, or fear there is only one thing to do. That is, to recognize that they are part of life, and therefore part of you.
“If one can see that suffering, pain, or fear are part of life, one can see that they are part of himself. Because we are life, life exists only because we exist.”
If one can see that suffering, pain, or fear are part of life, one can see that they are part of themselves. Because we are life, life exists only because we exist. If we wouldn’t exist you wouldn’t be able to read this text right now. You wouldn’t be able to experience life. It is therefore that if we wish suffering, pain, and fear to be eradicated from our lives that we are actually saying that we should be eradicated from life. We can’t take anything away from life, because it all exists in a delicate balance.
But how does one become free of suffering, pain, and fear then? Only through awareness. To fully be alive, we need to understand that suffering, pain, and fear are part of it. Yet that it is only our thoughts that make these sensations out to be suffering, pain, or fear. You see, because if we are suffering in the physical body. If we have let’s say a cut on our leg because we fell over, we say we are in pain. But if we are totally honest with ourselves, we are not in pain. We are just experiencing physical sensations that are discomforting, and troubling, which we describe as pain. It doesn’t mean to say that we are in pain, our bodies are, and therefore we experience it. But we can be at peace with that pain as well.
“If we can be at peace with that lacking, we can experience the suffering, the sorrow, and discomfort as it is. Without thinking of it as something to get rid of.”
Which is a harder thing to do, and it requires a lot of energy. But we can be at peace with it, by recognizing that it is a sensation we are going through and that we think of it as pain or suffering. The same goes for any discomfort both mentally, spiritually, and physically. Any discomfort, sorrow, or suffering is created because we feel we are lacking something. Yet if we can be at peace with that lacking, we can experience the suffering, the sorrow, and discomfort as it is. Without thinking of it as something to get rid of.
Which means we can be enjoying life as it is. We can experience that sensation that we labeled as suffering, and sorrow without the need to get rid of it. It’s why I feel it’s so important to recognize that to be alive we need to be at peace with all suffering and pain. Which doesn’t mean we should accept anything that causes more of it. We should always strive to get rid of it, but only true a peaceful approach. Never through a destructive way like fighting, forcing, or pushing.
It’s All Part of a Beautiful Spectacle
You see, we would love to live a life without pain, without discomfort and suffering. The fact is, that by wanting that pain-free life, we are only reinforcing it. Because hopefully you now understand that pain, suffering, and discomfort are only created out of the lack of something. They are created to cover up the emptiness that is inside all of us, the vast space within us, and life.
If you can see this, you’ll understand that suffering and discomfort are nothing more than thoughts. To then still feel joyous, and alive we need to be at peace with them. You see, we might not be able to be happy all the time. But we can be enjoying our lives even when there is such a thing as discomfort and pain. You might ask yourself how? And I asked myself the same thing.
“To be fully alive, one needs to be at peace with both the sorrows of life, like suffering, pain, fear, and trauma as well as be at peace with the comings and goings of joy. To see that both are part of the beautiful spectacle of what we call life.”
We can be enjoying our lives even though we are experiencing discomfort and pain. By being aware that we are experiencing this, fully indulge yourself in it. Which means to be at peace with it, to not have any thoughts on them whatsoever. To just experience the physical sensations you are experiencing. That is what we are truly desiring when we want to be feeling alive. To experience life with our physical body without attaching ourselves to thoughts.
So to be fully alive, one needs to be at peace with both the sorrows of life, like suffering, pain, fear, and trauma as well as be at peace with the comings and goings of joy. To see that both are part of the beautiful spectacle of what we call life. To no longer resist either one’s comings and goings. That’s what it means to be alive. To make the most of it. To experience it all, every experience fully, without the need to resist, fight, or get rid of it. Nor to want, need, or desire anything. That is what will have you say at the end of your day Today I Lived! I made the most of it.