The mechanism of suffering is quite simple.
We experience a shadow or cloud that obscures the experience of love. There is no change in the flow of love, only in our awareness or perception of love. This is very much like a child in a store when they suddenly realize they can’t see their mother. Mother is still there but perception has changed. Fear arises.
If we become involved in our experiences, we may forget how to experience that which has no qualities. Only what we can see, hear or touch seems real. Without a sense of source, we lose center and fear arises, hiding the love.
As we don’t wish to experience fear, we resist the experience and instead experience anxiety or anger or shame. This resistance actually amplifies it and leads to a resistance to what is. In trying to avoid fear, we resist love. It also sustains the fear rather than relieving it. This is the cloud.
Curiously, even when the fear trigger is no longer present, we continue to resist in fear of experiencing fear. Even when mother is seen, we fear her later loss. While you may think childhood examples no longer apply, fear is very primal. And we use a surprising amount of energy sustaining it.
If you don’t think you carry fear, it is just well covered. There’s a simple test. If you don’t feel immersed in love, you have a fear shadow. It even has a name. That name you call yourself, your identity. We even issue ID cards to certify our fear. (laughs)
As the mind likes to explain everything, it will make a story for why we’re experiencing something. Mommy abandoned us. I was bad and deserved punishment. My girlfriend thinks I’m an idiot. My boss thinks I screwed up. The story doesn’t require logical evidence, it simply wishes to justify your emotions, whatever the circumstance. And of course, blame something else for our experience.
We confuse what happens with how we respond. Suffering does not arise in what happens but how we see it happened to me. The current recession is a classic example. Some difficult events, but much amplified by how many are responding, making the recession worse. We see ourselves as separate and thus fail to see how our responses are related to the whole.
When we have a story about our emotions, it reinforces the feelings and makes them concrete, real. The sense of separate person becomes stronger. Most of us live in a bubble of what we think is real but is actually a complex story, a kind of waking dream. Real to us but a shadow of what is actually real.
The issue in all of this is not the fear but rather that it’s not experienced. Once it’s experienced, the fear can be quickly resolved. But to do that, we may have to see through some resistance first. To do that, you have to take the story a little less seriously. See that your story is not as real as you thought.
This process may not be obvious to you. But it is the underlying driver of much of our other “negative” emotions (the ones we resist) and all the places in our life where we are unsatisfied, anxious, restless, and otherwise unhappy.
Very simply, if it’s not love, it’s fear. Fear is the absence of love. Like darkness, it is lack, not real.
Love is real. There is only love. Really.