Inner Peace: Suffering
and it's Causes
To understand how to bring about inner peace, it's important to understand the cause of suffering. Strangely perhaps, this subject often brings up resistance as the tendency is to justify it by placing the cause outside of ourselves in our objective circumstances, while actually the cause of nearly all suffering is in the mind. Typically, on hearing this the first thing mind does is look for some horrific example of horrendous circumstances as a way of dismissing the subjective nature of it, so for now lets just talk about the sorts of conditions of distress that most of us encounter in our dailly lives, which includes nearly all of the unhappiness we encounter.
It should be clear that feelings, as such, do not constitute suffering. Fear and sorrow are not undesirable in themselves or we wouldn't be interested in watching movies that are intended to bring about these feelings. We actually enjoy all feelings, including the so called negative ones.
The reason we don't mind crying at a sad movie is that the intensity of the feeling is limited in both duration and consequence. In other words, we know the movie will end soon and all will be back to normal and no harm done. Also, the source of the sorrow is not considered real, and so the depth of our feeling response to it is under our control in terms of our willingness to suspend disbelief and identify empathically with the tragic characters.
So the point of struggle occurs when the intensity and duration of the feeling is not apparently under our control; when there are consequences that are potentailly both severe and long lasting. An intense fear that we know will not have long term consequences is not really an intense fear but merely a momentary disturbance. Likewise, a long term situation that results in only minor consequences is not a problem even in the long term.
Given the duration required, we can see that in order to suffer it's necessary to project into the future. That is, it's necessary to imagine oneself experiencing this feeling in the future in order to struggle with it in the present. It would be correct to say that the cause of the present struggle is not in the present event, and certainly not in the future, but rather in our imagination about what the future may be like. so while the present moment fear may be as easily tolerated as an amusement park ride, or perhaps more so, the projection into the future makes it intollerable.
While there's much to be said for living predominantly in the present, as this will in fact reduce the fear factor, in a practical sense the future must be dealt with and problems must be solved, which involves the same imaginary projection into the future that results in the struggle. However, it's not the imagining of the future itself that causes the trouble but rather the resistance associated with this future image. In other words, our response to the projection of ourselves into this imaginary future brings resistance to the future, and threatens our happiness in the present.
This resistance is also pretty much unavoidable. However, the personal self that is projected is, itself, imaginary, and therefore is not unavoidable. Hence, we suffer as a result of identification with the personal, separate, mind/body. In the absence of this identification, there is no suffering.
To Happiness Home
Return from Suffering to Inner Peace
More Inner Peace Articles:
Finding our Sense of Self
Volition / Free Will
Roller Coasters, Billy Shakespeare and Head Banging for Happiness.
The Simplicity of Dissolving the Questions
Finding Inner Peace: Looking for Peace in all the Wrong Places.(part 1)
Finding Inner Peace: Looking for Peace in all the Wrong Places.(part 2)
The Wave Who Searched for the Ocean
Acting with Virtue Vs Being Virtuous
Ground of Sadness
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