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Gerard

Hello, I stumbled upon this question and thought I might give you my perspective.

To me, suffering exists in all areas of human existence... however because we have no answer for it, we escape and run away from it. In my own life I began to notice how the optimism which pervades our lives and societies, is really an escape from the reality of "what is happening now". We are deceived by ourselves and others... we justify and explain our suffering... we run to religions and organizations that make us feel better about the suffering by offering us all kinds of hope.

What I begin to question is... How can we go beyond our suffering if we dont actually see it?

I spent quite some time looking for a way out of my suffering but realized that this is the wrong approach.

Be with your suffering... look at the worlds suffering... if you have enough doubt to question what is in you and around you then you may see the suffering clearly. You may be able to follow it back to the root and really understand it.

For me, there is no path to end suffering. Only the seeing and understanding of suffering, which brings peace to my mind. In that peace there is no suffering.

chalip

Gerard...

Thanks for posting this perspective. For the most part, I'm in agreement with you...

I wonder though... It has been said that a thing changes when it is observed. Wouldn't this apply to suffering as well? If you see and understand suffering... that you are suffering, why you suffer... doesn't that in some how change the experience of suffering? Couldn't it in some ways lessen the impact?

No expert here... Just thinking out loud.

Gerard

Hello chalip,

I think I understand what you are getting at. I have written my perspective below... sorry if it is a bit long and it may seem a bit disjointed but I’m trying to express myself in the best way I can. It is my understanding as I see it...

The root meaning of the word observe means "to watch".

Observing, watching, or seeing is the most important, fundamental element of life. Yet we generally don't observe fully, our observing is limited / flawed.
If you ask a real Buddhist teacher what is at the core of Buddhism s/he should tell you that it has very little to do with robes, structured meditation, rituals, or even the word "Buddhism". In fact, the heart of it is seeing things as they really are.

So, why don't I fully see the suffering? I mean I should see it, it's right there in front of me, in my relationships, on the television, in the newspaper, in my mind.

You see, the mind is very cunning... it's full of ideas, notions, beliefs which are never questioned... partly because we are unaware that they even exist. And if we do question them we tend to justify, explain or defend them... or replace them with a new one. An example from my life is as follows:
I was raised Catholic which included church every Sunday, Catholic education etc. This was my conditioned belief system about life, up until I was around 27 yo. Then I started questioning my beliefs. I went to study Buddhism in Thailand and Nepal and gradually found that I was letting go of my Christian beliefs and becoming a Buddhist. But as this was happening it occurred to me one day, that I was conveniently replacing one set of beliefs with another. This came as quite a shock, as I was left with very little to hold onto. But what I found, was that having the courage to question and doubt, also gave me a clearer perspective from which to "see things" around me. (This was a turning point in my life)

So, the mind has ideas or beliefs about what suffering is, or is not. This is an obstruction to seeing and understanding suffering. One of my friends likes going to out to bars drinking every weekend... and to him this is the opposite of suffering, it is very pleasurable. Now, I might look at this and say that he is actually suffering. And I sit at home watching television and another person might say that I am suffering. So who is right? What is suffering? Where does it begin and end? And how do I observe it clearly without my own projections.

As you mentioned above, observing changes the thing that is being observed. (Quantum Physics says this is so) And could our observation lessen the impact of our suffering? Well, this may be true if it is in fact real observation without the bias of our own mind. The trouble is, any effort to "see" or "observe" in order to find a way out of suffering is wrong, as it implies a goal which is a projection, an idea / belief.

So here we are in a dilemma.

Our position as I see it.
1. We are suffering.
2. We have a mind full of ideas/beliefs which inhibit us from seeing clearly and is the cause of suffering.
3. Any effort to find a way out of our suffering will only lead to a strengthening of our ideas/beliefs which will continue our suffering.
4. Our lack of clear seeing is causing an unprecedented destruction of the planet.

So what are we to do?

The house is burning around us, yet we don't see the flames licking at our feet. We believe the flames are normal. We are so used to the flames that they have become part of us, and we hold on to them.

So what can we do?

Nerakami

We suffer because our minds are conditioned to perceive ourselves less than our Divine nature. The law of Attraction states that we draw unto ourselves that which we believe to be true.
If deep in my subconscious mind, I believe I am a failure then all my attempts at succeeding will come to naught. They are the seeds I have pplanted and therefore will reap because I am stuck in a habitual pattern of thinking. To counter this, we vocally may proclaim over and over.... I am successful in all I do, but when life's circumstances present themselves to us as an opportunity to think differently, most of us are unable to do so because of our conditioned thinking. Are we forever stuck with the many erroneous beliefs we have of ourselves? Absolutely not, but it requires tireless effort of: understanding what our error in thinking is, practicing in the moment awareness of when it is happening and a dedication to planting and fostering new thoughts in alignment with our Divine nature. As a man thinketh, so is he.... The Creator's intention for mankind is joy not suffering, but because we created our own perceptions of ourselves we are the ones who have to recreate...think anew in how we see ourselves.
What can we do?
Meditate, Meditate, Meditate
Meditation is the practice of becoming the witness to your thoughts which in time creates a separation/gap between the witness (yourself) and the actual thoughts themselves thereby allowing us for the first time to really see what our thoughts are. Normally we are so caught up with the thoughts themselves we cant differentiate where we start and our thoughts end. The first step is becoming aware of our thoughts. When we can intentionally and purposefully guide our thoughts towards nurturing the desires of our hearts then we become the master of our experiences and can finally put a cessation to suffering in our lives.
Namaste

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