It may seem a very odd statement to make if you are used to living in some kind of emotional turmoil or difficulty. It can seem that life is hard and happiness fleeting. That we are born to suffer. But we can discover a deeper more satisfying way to be.
It is only that we have become identified with our feelings and reactions that we have come to see them as us. “I feel upset.” or “I am angry” tell the story. Because we see them as us, we take events that cause us grief as personal. And that is the simple mechanism of suffering.
While we’re having this experience there does not seem to be a way out. That which wants out is the same thing that’s become identified. The ego that is the cage cannot escape itself.
Thus, the ultimate solution is to transcend the ego altogether. Once seen deeply enough, fear will end and thus suffering. As I’ve mentioned before, effortless meditation is the key there. Connecting with who we are within.
In the meantime, there are some things we can do to help ease the process. To clear the deck so the seeing is easier. And to release reactions that keep things activated, that feed the “sprouted seeds“.
When we get under the drama, we will have the direct experience that all life and all events are the flow of happiness. It is only our struggles against this flow that causes us to suffer.
Some suggest we simply culture feelings like gratitude. Or look directly at our experiences and ask – is this true? (Byron Katie or Ruiz). Sometimes, the deepening of silence allows us to see our stories as stories while they’re at play. Then we can choose not to respond to them and eventually choose not to play them – if they’re not wanted.
People like Gangaji in the Ramana Maharishi lineage use techniques like inquiry and diad to directly look behind. This does require clear awareness so may be easier in a retreat setting. But it’s just a simple process of asking whats behind this emotion. You feel anger. What’s behind it? Often we’ll find something like fear of hurt. And what’s behind that? As you go through these little steps, behind the fear or base emotion is always found either silence, peace, or happiness. Perhaps even love.
It can be quite startling to discover the energy behind your dark emotions is happiness. You’ve simply been too caught up in the experience to see it.
As this is seen a few times, we begin to experience feelings differently and take the surface drama less seriously. The story (mind) that these emotions have been energizing begins to wind down as well. And that can be such a nice relief.