Why do we suffer and what to do about it

We suffer mostly because of the way we perceive which then forms the basis of our thinking. We then become very attached to the way we think. As the saying goes, as we think so we become. The tragedy is that we don’t realise that we actually think ourselves into misery. It’s only after much pain and finally awareness that we realise we are the one fully responsible for our suffering. That’s the beginning of letting go our attachment to the causes of suffering.

The question is: what can we do about suffering. Plenty. Beginning with changing the way you perceive and therefore operate, as in think, speak and do. The moment you decide to change the way you think is when you give all the old patterns of behaviour a good shake. This includes whatever else that lurks beneath the subconscious, right down to the unconscious levels of your psyche, the very things that drive your behaviour and as a result cause you joy or suffering.

“Attachment to the cause of suffering perpetuates it. To end the suffering, you must know the cause. Examine, analyse and scrutinize the cause. Then let it go. Unless you remove the attachment to the cause, you will continue to suffer.”  

Actually there is no joy or suffering. There is just that. An event. A circumstance. A situation. A person or persons. Just that. But because we apply a qualifier of like and dislike, attraction or aversion, repulsion, that’s when we now have an experience that we label as joy or suffering. Know for a fact that everything that happens to us is an effect from a cause generated by us at some time in our past lives or in a past action in this present life.

As the Buddha and Vedanta teach us, we are all subjected to the universal Law of Causation. Therefore every suffering and joy has a cause. First, know the cause. Second, abandon the cause. Third, attain the cessation of the experience of suffering. And finally, rely on the path that leads you to the truth. What is this truth? The truth that it’s you and only you who can determine what is suffering or not. This you, who is it? What is it? How does it operate?

Other than this path that takes you to realisation, there is no other path worth it. This is the path of the 8 limbs of Raja Yoga. It begins with Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama then moves on to the next half of deeper meditation – Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. One who understands the true self that sees through these eyes, experience these feelings and emotions, forms all these opinions and one would have come to know the truth for oneself.

Finally, here are three videos that will help to shed some vital light.

  1. First video is about suffering that stems from our bad habit of applying qualifiers of ‘like’ and ‘dislike’ to whatever happens in our life.

2. Second video is about how to ride the vicissitudes of life much like you need to learn to enjoy the waves should you decide to take a sea bath. Don’t complain.

3. Third video may be a bit long but it sums up all you need from the Vedanta teachings so that you can live more spiritually and less tied to this material world. Yes, it will help you understand how suffering arises, how it can be abandoned, how cessation can be achieved and finally how to make your way towards God symbolised by AUM.

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