Originally Posted by Maguru
Thanks again Angela, I have a frustration button that you have now pushed.
You are welcome!
I think you consider pain and suffering to be two shades of the same thing: there's pain, and then there's really seriously awful painful painy pain called suffering. That's the dictionary definition (
my cartoony version
); thats' the way many people think they're using the word.
But that's not how we have been using the word here, and it's not how it's normally used in life: there's pain, and then there's the story we habitually and relentlessly tell ourselves to keep the pain alive called suffering. The suffering is a story. It feels real because it really is pain, and the source of the pain is the story.
For instance, I poke you in the eye, it gets infected and never heals right, you spend the rest of your life with eyeverticulosis that itches every night. That's dictionary suffering.
What we've been talking about, though, is emotional suffering: I poke you in the eye, it hurts for a minute or two, and you spend the rest of your life being hurt that I poked you in the eye. You join a poked-eye support group. Every year on September 19th, you hold a ceremony where you rant and cry about how much it hurt that time you got poked in the eye. You go to therapy every week to talk for an hour about how much it hurt. You begin a War On Poking and dedicate your life to raising awareness of the Problem of eye poking in our country. You campaign to get me put in jail or at least fired from my job -- you will not rest until Justice has been served!
There is real suffering in the world (well, as real as any other "problem"
-- like people who are in the authentic pain of not having enough to eat or enduring disease or being mauled by a polar bear.
And there is the other kind: "Ten years ago I was starving. I have enough to eat now, but I am still suffering
from the memory of starving! Every time I think about it, which is every day, I suffer because I didn't have enough to eat ten years ago."
I am not dismissing that kind of suffering. I know that the pain from it feels very real. I've certainly looked at the world from that perspective, and suffered as a result! Now that I've shifted, though, the perspective of believing that emotional suffering is necessary or unavoidable or desirable for personal growth doesn't look like a "bigger picture" to me -- it's just different. It's apparent to me that if a story is causing you pain, you can stop telling yourself that story and *Poof* the pain disappears. You don't have
to, of course, and I'm not telling you you *should.* I am sorry if you feel unnecessary pain, but I certainly don't begrudge you your right to feel it.
The suffering will not cease until the causes of the suffering are rectified.
...and I agree with you! The cause of the suffering, though, is not the cause of the pain. The cause of the suffering is the habitual incessant story we tell ourselves about our pain, and if we want to, we can just let that story go and end suffering in an instant.
Of course people will probably still get mauled by polar bears, but when we've let go of our unnecessary emotional suffering, we'll have more time to tend to their authentic pain.
Like Gene, you can have your history without making it your habitual incessant story -- like Gene, you can have your past and be free of suffering. Gene is a master generator of feeling good on purpose.