How do we suffer, and how may we end suffering? This to me is the most important question, and perhaps the only important question, for a human to consider in this world.
From what I can see, we suffer because we each believe that we are an individual entity separate from the Life that animates us and everything we perceive. We imagine we are an independent, autonomous something with the power to make life as we choose. This is a complete fantasy. We are not in control of anything; we have no real choice but to go along with the path Life lays out in front of us, or resist. We suffer because, from our autonomous perspective, we want something other than what actually is. We end up fighting life for the fulfillment of our self-centered desires, and fail over and over again. The result is a “reality” in which we are without what we believe we want and the unhappy company of longing and deprivation. More fundamentally, we live without the experience of the profound compassion and the outrageous abundance that Life offers us in every moment.
We suffer, then, through an illusion. This suffering is completely unnecessary. Take away the illusion and there is no suffering, there is just what is. What is in this moment may be painful, and often is; it almost certainly will contain things that the separate ego does not want, and lack things that the ego does want. Life is hard and we are growing older every day towards death, but there is no suffering in any of these things. Suffering occurs when we step into the illusion of separation, outside of what simply is, and imagine that what is should not be happening or should be different, and so on. The entire fictional world of right and wrong, good and bad, is created in that movement. Stay present with what is, at one with what is, and there is no suffering.
As an idea this is something we can grasp. To live from this understanding, however, is, in my experience, the most difficult thing there is to do for a human being. It can absolutely be done, however.
How, then, do we see through the illusion? How do we end suffering? This is the fundamental question behind all the work that I do. Stay tuned!