Posted on July 11, 2014 by Ines Radman
I learned very early in childhood about suffering. Having chosen a very challenging incarnation, my suffering started at the age of 5 when I was sexually molested by an older man that took care of me during the day while my parents, new immigrants worked hard.
As a child, I was a very good listener as I was often told by my father that a child is not to be heard, only seen. I hid behind the walls listening to my parents talk or when they had friends over. Some may consider that eavesdropping, I liked to know everything that was going on around me so I would hide and listen. Much of the time their conversations were about conflicts, hatred of political leaders, sickness and death. Occasionally there would be an argument or hurt feelings and it baffled me.
As I observed day in and day out I had an epiphany: “Oh my God, adults believe what they think, that is why they suffer!”
That’s why they argue and get into conflicts because they actually believe the thoughts in their head. When adults talked to one another, they talked about their thoughts and each person believed that what they thought was actually true.
Without knowing it, I was actually gaining my first insight into one of the greatest dilemmas of being human: the cause of human suffering. This is something that Buddha questioned, what is the cause of human suffering?
When we look out into the world, we can see unimaginable beauty and mystery, but we can’t really look out at the human world without acknowledging that there is also a lot of suffering and unhappiness. There is a lot of violence and war, hate, ignorance and greed. Why are we so prone to suffering? Why is it that we seem to hold onto it as if it was a very important possession?
One of the primary reasons we suffer is because we believe what we think, that the thoughts in our minds come uninvited into our consciousness, swirl around and we attach to them. We identify with them and grab hold of them.
This insight that I had as a child, even though I didn’t know how important it was at the time, was the beginning of my understanding as to why it is that we suffer.
Why do we do this? Why are we so prone to grasp at the thoughts that occur within our own mind – to hold onto them and become identified with them? We don’t seem to be able to put them down even when they cause us great pain and suffering.
The capacity to think and use language has a shadow side that, if left unattended and used in an unwise way, can cause us to suffer and experience unnecessary conflict with one another. Because after all, that’s what thought does: It separates. It classifies. It names. It divides. It explains.
Evolution has worked very hard to ensure that we have the capacity to think coherently and rationally, but when we look back upon the world, we see that the very thing that has evolved to help us survive has also become a form of imprisonment for us.
I believe, given that we now have scientific evidence/discoveries we have been on this planet off and on for billions of years, that we have actually de-volved, if we can accept the notion that language was created out of necessity. We were genetically mutated from being higher dimensional telepathic beings that could create through thought to lower density beings who lost their abilities and had to adjust by creating language to communicate with each other.
So what’s the way out? How do we begin to find our way out of this whole matrix of suffering?
To start with, we have to make a very powerful observation. All thoughts – good thoughts, bad thoughts, lovely thoughts, and evil thoughts – occur within something. All thoughts arise and disappear into a vast space. If you watch your mind, you will see that a thought simply occurs on its own – it arises without any intention on your part. In response to this, we’re taught to grab and identify with them. But if we can, just for a moment, relinquish this anxious tendency to grab our thoughts, we begin to notice something very profound: that thoughts arise and play out, spontaneously and on their own, within a vast space, the noisy mind actually occurs within a very, very deep sense of quiet.
This may not become noticeable on first observation because we’re used to thinking of silence and quiet terms of the exterior environment. Is my home quiet? Is the TV turned off? Or we tend to think of quiet in internal terms: Is my mind noisy? But the silence or quiet that I am trying to explain is not a relative silence, its’ not an absence of noise, even a mental noise. Rather, it’s about beginning to notice that there is a silence that is always present, and that noise happens within this silence – even the noise of the mind. You can start to see that every thought arises against the backdrop of absolute silence. Thought arises literally within a thoughtless world – each idea appears in a vast space, we may even have been invaded by another entity’s thoughts especially so if they are negative thoughts or strange thoughts that are not part of our mental “formatting” thoughts.
When we believe our thoughts, when we believe at the deepest level that they are in fact equal to reality, we can start to see how this leads directly to frustration, discontent, and ultimately to suffering on many levels. This realization is the first step in unraveling our suffering.
There is something else, however, which needs to be seen – something more fundamental. This deeper realization comes long after we have formed our opinions, our beliefs and our capacity to conceptualize. Why is it that, even when we start to see that it is our minds that are making us suffer, we still grasp onto our minds so deeply? Why do we still hold on to this identification, to such an extent that sometimes it feels like it’s holding on to us?
One of the reason we do this is because we think that the content of our minds – our beliefs, our ideas, our opinions – are actually who we are. This is the prime illusion: that I am what I think, that I am what I believe, that I am my particular point of view.
If someone said to you, “You can stop suffering. You can really stop it right here and now. All you have to do is give up everything you think, your opinion, and your beliefs and even in your own name. You have to give it all up, that’s all you have to do. Give it all up and you can be happy. For most people this would be either unacceptable or unattainable.
This may sound ludicrous, but it’s exactly the place that most people are in. This is the mind – state that most of us come from. When we’re not willing to be disturbed, which means when we’re not willing to find out what we thought was real in fact wasn’t real, we can never be happy.
If we’re not willing to find out that what we believe in isn’t truth, then we can never be happy. If we’re not honestly willing to look at the whole structure of who we think we are and be open to the idea that maybe we have been totally wrong about ourselves – maybe we’re not who we thought we were at all – if we’re not open to that idea, at least that possibility, there is no way we can find our way out of suffering.
This is why Jesus said that when you begin to find, you will be disturbed. When you become conscious, more aware, when your eyes begin to open, the first thing you see is how deluded you are and how much you’re holding onto that which makes you suffer.
This is the most important step: Are you willing to be aware? Are you willing to open your eyes? Are you willing to be wrong? Are you willing to see that you may not be living from a standpoint of truth, from a standpoint of reality? This is what it means to be disturbed. But to be disturbed is not a negative thing, not in the context in which I’m using the word here. To be disturbed means you’re willing to see truth, you’re willing to see that maybe things aren’t the same way you thought they were.
If you can do this, you will finally free yourself of the pains and suffering you created in the first place. This is why I often write about belief systems and truth, it is one thing to believe in something, but that is not your truth. You may have adopted someone else’s truth and hold on to it and by doing this, you’re taking up space. So remove these thoughts that are creating suffering for you and replace them with truth, with love and your knowledge of how divine you are.
Thanks to Ines at: http://inesradman.wordpress.com