How to stop suffering

The only certainty in life is uncertainty. We know that first hand, yet when things fall apart, in most cases, we fail to stay grounded and focused. Our emotions run high and inner peace is nowhere to be found. There's a part of us that never wants to be checkmated, but more often than not, we find ourself in a position where there's no move to make. Life has just pinned us.

Thinking we can find lasting pleasure and avoid pain is a hopeless cycle that goes round and round endlessly and causes us to suffer greatly.  This is especially true for personal relationships. When you relate to a human being, it is like asking them to be in the same situation as you are. You want them to have your hopes, your fears, and your delights. You want another ‘you’, another self. But when you invest your happiness in a person, in all likelihood, you will be let down. There is no other way.

Typically, when crisis rears its ugly head, most of us feel hopelessly confused. We don’t know what we feel, mean or even what we really want. And that’s when we to go to war with suffering. We go to war with reality. But guess who wins... We can kick and scream as we did when we were babies, hoping to get someone’s attention, but life is not always a loving parent. Life can be a great taskmaster and will show no mercy if we need to learn a lesson or two.

Suffering can be avoided if instead of fighting against it, you just observe it. The only thing that suffering cannot stand is to be clearly seen. You cannot do anything to the water in a mirror. You cannot drink it, you cannot collect it, it’s not here, it’s an illusion. In most cases, it’s what you are telling yourself that is causing more pain, not the situation itself. It’s the “story” around the situation that makes things worse. Every time there is a ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’, you are entering illusion. Because that ‘should’ is an argument with life, with what is.

The situations in life are always moving from good to bad and bad to good. That’s the law of impermanence.  As soon as you give something a name, you create and experience a whole reality about what that is. So ask yourself: What is the truth without your story about it? And keep asking until you find the root of your discomfort, as it’s from that place that you will be able to alchemically transmute your pain, to transcend the swing of the pendulum by polarizing yourself above it. Without (mis)interpretations or false hopes.

The first step is to be honest with yourself. Be honest with yourself about what you are happy with and what you are not. You can fool the whole world, but don’t fool yourself. When you are not authentic, you block yourself from becoming conscious. And being conscious means having options. Honesty is a great protector.

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