Some thoughts on suffering (part 2 of 3)

Light of the soulMy life experiences and contemplations have brought me to the conclusion that without suffering it would be all too easy to remain in mind-dom i.e. in the clutches of the emotional mind. The latter can always keep us entertained with never-ending, theatrical representations of past events or fantasies of potential future happenings. When everything in our lives is going as planned (by the personality), the emotional mind can be a very comfortable place to take refuge. The risk, however, is that we remain stuck there, which means living in the illusion that our rational mind and emotions are our sole identity. Thanks to suffering, we get the gentle push, or even dramatic shove, to move out of contracted mind-dom and discover the fullness of our (divine) identity and consciousness.

Georg Feuerstein provides a Tantric – and I guess also Buddhist – perspective on suffering when he writes: “Many people […] are not in the least aware of their self-perpetuated state of incarceration. But those in whom wisdom has dawned can see that the world, or rather how they experience it, is confining. They also are sensitive to the fact that worldly existence is suffused with suffering (duhkha).[1]

Feuerstein also sees suffering as the trigger that’s needed to encourage or drive a person onto the path of self-discovery, where he/she will find the truth of the sacred nature of his/her identity. “At first, they may not see a way out of the cosmic prison, but as wisdom increases, there is a growing sense of a Reality that transcends the cosmos. Then they understand that the Divine […] dwells within themselves […] and that it is the hidden doorway to liberation. In other words, the prison gates were never locked.”[2]

Edited extract from my book “She Who Is Unto Herself”

[1] Feuerstein, G. (1998) Tantra: the Path to Ecstasy. Shamballa Publications: Boston & London, p.30.

[2] Ibid.

10 thoughts on “Some thoughts on suffering (part 2 of 3)

  1. As part of my conversation with my SO mentioned in Part One post, I tried to explain my personal take on a “Buddhist” view of suffering (as in ‘all life is suffering’), and it was basically what you call mind-dom that manifest in one of four ways – we fear losing what we have that we want to keep; we fear getting what we don’t have but don’t want; we desire what we want to have but do not have; and we desire to get rid of what we have but do not want.

    I remember during one therapy session many moons ago, the take-away from the session was I was experiencing at my job simultaneously the fear of success and the fear of failure. Obviously failure brings with it a hit on the ego, as well as the prospect of being fired, thus a hit on the financial side of things as well as a further blow to the ego. Success brought with it the fear of getting in over one’s head, which would then lead to failure. All of it of course is just rattlings in my mind about about past job performance and possible future scenarios about my job performance. A bunch of mind-dom.

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    • Thanks so much, Doug, for your personal take on suffering, which is extremely insightful, and for sharing a great example of mind-dom. Yes, most of the “rattlings” in our minds are mind-dom because words are synonymous with the rational mind, which tries to fit a story (any story, or many stories) around the emotion the personality is feeling; or vice-versa, once we (the personality) start to remember or fore-see some event we begin to feel the whole emotional caravan that goes with it 😉 Once we’re aware of this mechanism, however, we get into our power (i.e. we see the open “prison gates”) and can choose to do at least 1 of 3 things: i) we can put a new “story” on our emotional reaction since an emotion is only energy, so we can decide to channel that energy towards a positive thought. It’s amazing how quickly this can shift one’s mood; or ii) we can (without repressing the emotion) bring our focus to the level of ananda (as described in part 1 of this post on suffering) and eventually the emotional reaction will melt into the bliss; or, iii) for very strong emotional reactions, we can just let the energy out (anger, sadness, frustration, etc.) while refraining from giving words to the emotions i.e. not indulging in any stories. That’s my take on it, anyway 😉 Joyful greetings, Sam 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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