How To Stop Creating More Pain in The Present — The End of Suffering
When you ask a person, “what is your goal in life?”, often the answer is, “to be happy”, which comes at no surprise. Everyone wants to feel happy, for what would life be without the beautiful feeling of joy in existence?
Much of the human condition is chasing after that joy. Chasing, as if happiness is something that is constantly slipping away and we need to run after it. Though the reason many people falter on attaining happiness is that it cannot be attained. Happiness is not something to be chased, or sought after. It is a state you get to feel when you are connected with your true self — with your mind, body, and spirit.
“But how do you do that?”
One step at a time.
What really is “the true self”? Each person may have their own definition. For me, it is the alignment of the Mind, Body, and Soul. To be aligned with yourself is to be aligned with the universe. In most basic terms, I’d classify true alignment as non-resistance. The acceptance of what is. There is no denying this, though humans will always try.
“Accept — then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.” — Eckhart Tolle
This quote has been a constant in my life over the past couple of years, especially 2020. The words ring with power. To accept your situation as if you had chosen it serves as a portal into the present moment. This is not to be confused with settling, or being passive. The only way to change your situation is to first accept it. Once you grant yourself the peace of acceptance, only then can you see your options for change.
We as humans spend much of our life in and out of suffering. Though society today has chalked this up to the norm, it is fully possible to live a life free of suffering. That seems absurd, I know, but consider this perspective: I used to think suffering was inevitable, that everyone went through it in life, but it is actually a product of an unconscious choice.
Everyone will experience pain, but you can end suffering when you like. It does not mean it will be easy (personally it is one of the hardest things to do), but I think it goes without explanation that it will be well worth it.
As the Buddha said,
“Pain is certain, suffering is optional”.
To experience a loss in life, become physically or emotionally hurt, to encounter a mental crisis, are all undoubtedly painful experiences which require time for healing. Suffering, however, depends on how much you resist the truth of the present moment, how much you refuse to accept it. Now I have done a lot of suffering in my life, and I see now that only when you say, I am done with suffering-I don’t want this anymore, and truly mean it, are you able to free yourself from creating more pain in the now and in the future.
You ever catch yourself thinking about something hurtful your partner said in an argument yesterday? Or how pissed you were at that guy who cut you off on your way to work? That is suffering.
The Pain: Hearing hurtful words from someone close to you
The Suffering: Re-living the experience of hearing the hurtful words through thought
To access the joy available to all of us at this moment, sit with yourself, and identify any form of resistance. Resistance to what is. That resistance is not your friend, not your enemy, but a lighthouse guiding you where to place your consciousness.
Sit with yourself and ask, “what pain am I creating for myself right now?”
See what emotions come up.
My favorite author and spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle, wrote my favorite book — The Power of Now. This book changed my life. In religious terms, I could refer to this book as my bible. Much of the spiritual knowledge I am able to share with you today is a result of the enlightenment from his teachings. This is a book to be read and referred to life-long. It is written to be understood the first time around, though it could be read 1,000 times and there would be meaning found on every page.