Nobody likes to suffer but, consciously or unconsciously, we sometimes invite suffering and pain. It is one of the paradox of human nature, we profess to want happiness, but part of us holds onto suffering. Why is this the case?
“One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: that word is love.”
How Do We Invite Suffering?
Unconsciously Cherishing Suffering.
This can be hard to admit, but sometimes we can a subtle sense of attachment to our suffering. There is part of us that feels we need this experience of suffering. We feel sorry for ourself, yet this has a certain appeal to the ego; it gives us a (false) sense of identity.
Cry For Help. When we suffer part of us imagines it will attract sympathy and attention from other people.
“Most people don’t mind suffering in silence as long as everyone else knows about it.”
– Croft M Pentz, 1
By displaying our suffering it is really a call for help, however, if we get attached to this sympathy and attachment, it can unconsciously encourage us to create a degree of suffering. However, we need to learn that we don’t need to create suffering to feel loved. See: Difference between Love and Emotional Attachment.
The Mind’s Conditioning. We often associate certain people, events or situations with an unpleasant experience. Whenever a particular event happens we feel we have to suffer. Now admittedly some things really are painful, if we hold a hand over the fire, it will hurt and no amount of positive thinking will change the fact your hand is burning. But, in many cases, it is the mind’s reaction that creates 90% of suffering. This is particularly the case when dealing with other people. For example, we may feel it painful to have to deal with a certain person. However, this is the kind of event that we can change. Rather than fearing the other person we can change the way we think about that relationship. If we don’t allow ourselves to think of negative thoughts, we can be happy whatever the character of the other person.
Do not overvalue
Lo, it will vanish
Than you can open your eyes.
– Sri Chinmoy 2
Repeating the Same Experience
Have you noticed how often we invite the same experience again and again? It can almost become a daily routine. We get up, and we get annoyed with some one living in the house over the same thing. We go to work and we get annoyed with the same work-colleague for the same character flaw. There seems no escape because the particular experience always triggers the same feeling of anger, frustration and helplessness.
We can try moving to the Himalayas, but we will carry the same reaction and feelings with us. Even if we don’t see the situation in the physical, the mind may dwell on the same thought patterns. We will find it gets repeated where ever we go. We cannot change the event and person, we can only change our reaction to it. We have to learn how to stop our negative thoughts, whatever other people might be doing.
Deeper Seed Thoughts.
On the surface level we may have thoughts, such as, I want to get better, I want to be happy. But, what about the deeper thoughts underneath? Do we visualise a life without suffering and happiness or do we expect life to be a struggle and painful?
Suffering and Progress.
Part of us may feel that if we suffer, somehow we are making progress. It is considered desirable to ‘suffer in silence’. Sometimes religion has promoted suffering as noble in itself. However, suffering doesn’t help. When we suffer, we feel miserable; our consciousness descends, and when we are unhappy we tend to invite negative things into our life. When we have unavoidable pain like physical illness, it is good to try and be detached and not make a big deal of it. We have to deal with it in right way.; but, sometimes we think if we have more suffering we will make more progress, but this is not correct. When we suffer we don’t make any progress. We make progress when happy.