Do we need to suffer?
Updated: Aug 9, 2022
Life can often be painful and the physical aspect of that pain may even be unavoidable... but do we need to suffer?
Beyond the bodies sensation of pain there is endless suffering that takes place in our mind that seems as real, and often has a far greater impact on the quality of our life.
It is here that we have CHOICE and can begin to understand the purpose of our suffering.
To end our suffering we need to understand the fractal nature of our mind and look at our thoughts and beliefs. The simple truth is you cannot think your way out of the mental or emotional turmoil of your life.
No matter the problem you are facing, your way of thinking about WHAT IS... causes your suffering. Often, when you think you have found the solution, you are simply looking at another layer of the same pattern and soon find yourself back in emotional turmoil in a different situation.
To escape the destructive cycles of our life we need a shift in perspective; we need to understand the cause of our suffering beyond the external trigger and become aware of the underlying patterns that dictate our state of mind.
Our reactions to life play a pivotal role in the evolution of our conscious mind. It is therefore vital that we examine that single point in time, where all that we think (believe) we are, is triggered into effect by an external stimulus over which we have no control.
There should be nothing more interesting or important in our quest to live a more harmonious life and to understand our purpose for being.
The problem (for most people) is that when we are triggered into a reactive state, our ability to step out of the emotional surge to ’see’ the truth, is very limited.
In our mind, the reaction is justified by our perceptions and underlying beliefs, while on a physiological level, it is fueled by our brain’s chemical response to the emotional trigger. Each successive thought releases a little more fuel to the building emotional fire until it rages out of control, inflicting pain on those around us... usually those we love or are most connected to.
(At the severe end of the spectrum, the inability to regulate this effect in the brain manifests as mood or personality disorders - Bipolar, Depression, Psychosis, etc.)
The ability to control our reactions, in the moment, requires awareness and mental discipline.
Both are abilities that need to be developed consciously and consistently.
Awareness stems from an experiential understanding of the underlying patterns that determine our state of mind and all we think of as self.
The obstacle on this quest for self-awareness is that we think we are our mind, the thing that is constantly thinking and feeling.
Most have not yet realized that there is another aspect of our being that quietly watches the mind. When we still the mind and shift our awareness to the watcher, we start to see a new way of living that does not require suffering to force change.
This is not something that anyone can teach you, or convince you of, it is a truth that must be experienced.
There are many effective tools that facilitate developing awareness like yoga, mediation, and Tai Chi (to name but a few), but it is also commonly experienced as intuition or that sensible voice in your head when your mind is in a reactive state. Most do not trust that voice or simply do not yet have the ability to listen to it.
To get a clear picture of the process by which we expand our awareness and learn to discipline the mind, picture yourself as your higher awareness standing next to a busy road with hundreds of taxis rushing by.
That is your Awareness watching the thoughts and feeling that are constantly running through your mind.
When you are triggered by anything in your environment, a taxi stops, and inevitably, you get in. (No control over your reaction)
At this point, the meter starts running and the taxi takes you for a ride, usually to a place you don’t really want to go. The longer you stay in the taxi the higher the energetic/emotional fare you will have to pay, and the harder it is to get out.
One of the things that make it difficult to control our reactions is that there is also a physiological component that takes place in the body when we are triggered.
The brain releases the neurotransmitter Norepinephrine and hormones like Adrenaline and Cortisol to deal with the perceived external threat. (Fight or flight). The effect is instant but quickly dissipates if not re-stimulated by the external situation.
When you are in real danger, this is an essential survival mechanism, but unfortunately, most of our trigger moments are not in response to real danger but are merely the PAIN BODY (to be expanded) that has been stimulated.
The chemical effect in the brain often ‘feels good’ (we may not always be consciously aware of the effect but there is a real, physiological boost that is empowering) and that can be very addictive.
While you are triggered, each thought releases more of the chemical. With no real danger and no physical release, these chemicals build up, fuelling the emotional reaction, and causing havoc in the body (persistent high levels may cause anxiety, depression, heart disease, weight gain, and much more).
With that in mind, it becomes essential to our health and wellbeing to develop our awareness to recognize when we have been triggered (even subtly) and the ability (mental discipline) to get out of the taxi if the danger is not ‘real’.
Initially, that may be difficult as our perceptions and beliefs have ‘momentum’ and are supported by Memory, but as we look a little deeper into what the Pain Body is, we slowly develop our ability to step out of effect. The taxi rides will become shorter and shorter, costing you less, until the time when you are able to instantly recognize that you have been triggered and are in effect of your patterns.
You will then have the awareness and strength to thank the driver for stopping, and send him on his way.
So what is the Pain Body?
The pain-body is a term that I use to describe all of the inherited patterns/beliefs that cause our suffering. It is an aspect of our mind that ‘filters’ our experience of reality.
Like our personality, our pain body is unique and is the result of all the influences that have shaped who we think we are.
The more aware we are of the filter the less we suffer and vice versa.
In a way, the pain-body (Mind) limits the flow and potential of our creative force, to the capacity (ability) that our conscious mind has to process the truth of all that we are.
These two functions are interrelated and clearly reflect our purpose for being.
That statement raises some interesting questions.
What is the truth (about what we are) that our mind cannot yet process?
What reality is there beyond this world we perceive?
To answer those universal questions and then relate it back to the moment that you are triggered is going to be a fantastic journey into realms unknown.
Like with a good fiction movie, you need to let go of all that you believe to be real (just for a while), and explore the information without judgment (suspended disbelief).
The journey empowers you to create a different framework around which your mind can construct your reality... a reality with less suffering, more harmony and a deeply uniting purpose for being.
We are consciously aware of ourselves in the physical realm and are in collective agreement about what the structures of this reality look like.
This is where it’s all happening, so it is ironic that most of us are rarely present to the incredible potential it holds.
The simple fact is, that even though our bodies are here in physical reality, our attention is often elsewhere.....in Mind.
The mind is an interesting thing as it has the ability to create perceptive realities of its own that are very specific to you, the observer. (Think of how beautifully it does that when you read a book)
So, even though we are in agreement as to the structures of physical reality, our experience of reality is subject to the mind that is interpreting the experience.
Unfortunately, the mind finds it extremely difficult to separate perception from reality and usually reacts, and bases all choices, on the perception.
In a way, the perceptive reality created by mind can be thought of as a separate realm, or world, that is unique to you. It has a fractal nature, so when you pay close attention to the details that your mind is interpreting, you get sucked into deeper layers of that detail. The more you analyze and focus on the details, the more complex and intricate the patterns become. (This is clearly reflected in the reality that humans are creating)
However, if you relax and step back from the detail of your life, you slowly become aware that what you have been looking at all along, is one simple pattern that repeats in an infinite number of variables.
This becomes more interesting, and maybe even a little strange, when we realize that our state of mind (what we think & believe), often creates the effect we are seeing in the world around us. How people treat us and even how we respond to life when it is having an effect on us.
To gain some perspective we need to break down the layers of awareness that are accessible to humanity at this point.
Physical reality, this is where we are in collective agreement about the structures.
This is the layer of manifestation in which we can process matter (all forms of energy) to create the reality we live in. It is here that we can literally see the underlying patterns or processes that affect life.
Our body represents this layer on an individual level and it is important that we understand how powerful this ‘mirror’ is in reflecting the patterns that cause our suffering.
Read more about this and the fractal reality of mind in my next post. Life is a Mirror
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