The Cause of Suffering

The Cause of Suffering

Suffering by In Haitus
Suffering by In Haitus

The field of action is one of cause and effect, of action and reaction. Nature maintains balance in the system to sustain it. If we act in a way that pushes the balance off, nature automatically brings circumstances to rebalance.

If we don’t understand this simple thing, we can take events personally and resist. This leads to suffering.

The mind makes stories about life so we feel secure, but stories about what we resist are prone to justify and sustain the resistance. We identify with the stories as Our Story and defend it, often telling others all about it.

That defence makes us resistant to accepting feedback and seeing it for what it is. Thus, we consistently act out of sync with nature, causing many unintended consequences.

Over time, this builds up a backlog. The time between action and response grows, making this process less obvious. We give our stories more weight than the mechanics of life. We become deluded.

Sadly, it’s very difficult to show others these points. We even take feedback personally. We must learn through experience. Often, our suffering drives us to change.

If instead we just allow what life brings us to be there as it is, it can complete and restore balance. That shadow of incompleteness dissolves. Life can develop smoothly, with growing clarity.

In time, we reduce the backlog and the connection between action and reaction becomes much more obvious.

If our intuition develops (fine intellect), we can feel the movements of nature and have a better sense of how we fit in and what our best course of action is. Our actions spontaneously move into sync with life and we gradually reduce unintended karma.

However, unresolved karma creates a shadow, obscuring right action in the related areas of our life. So we have to pay attention to the signals; what’s working and what’s not.

All of this leads to a massive reduction in unpleasantness in life.

Establishing the observer makes this much easier. Then we’re a detached witness to life and can allow more easily. We’re not as entangled.

Yet even good understanding can help. And of course, an effortless meditation to help establish that inner core and get us used to allowing.


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  1. Peter Goodman

    Thank you David! The clarity is in itself profound. You have described the mechanics of the process unawakened to Awakening of the “feedback loop” to action with perfection.
    Thank you for your blog in helping us to develop a deeper understanding.

  2. Richard Barnes

    I love your bottom line. The last sentence is like the solid gold foundations to the whole structure of your essay. The weary traveler will cherish that simple, natural, effortless technique of letting go. It is the bed he can trust and give his whole weight to. God is all around to catch one who has surrendered (correct meditation). Suddenly, but ever so gradually, it unfolds and we find ourselves unwound and eternally free..

  3. Neville Stimpson

    Thank you very much for this David. Your writing is clear and so appreciated. One question though: What is the role of the ego in taking things personally, building resistance and so creating suffering ??

    1. Hi Neville
      It’s a normal part of growing up to step into an ego phase but most don’t outgrow that because they don’t know who they are within. When we don’t know who we are, ego steps up and claims control and assures us all is OK and various other narratives.

      However, ego gets possessive and identified and entangled with it’s role. It takes things personally, grasps at what it wants, resists what it doesn’t want, and thus creates discord within. This leads to suffering and conflict with life.

      Most people don’t think their usual life is suffering, but when you’re liberated from it, you realize it was. So much of life is happier and smoother without an ego in charge.

      The ego function of I-sense remains after awakening (though a renunciate approach ignores it), it’s just not longer the self-sense or the center. It becomes a function, like our thumb.

  4. Harrison

    love the thought that the ego ends up like a thumb – an appendage instead of the whole self
    through the second element principle of deepen your knowing of your true self and automatically the ego’s dominance is reduced which goes back to effortlessness and agreeing to what is without grasping or aversion. Simple enough but what an undertaking.

    1. Hi Harrison
      Yes, it’s quite the undertaking as we have lifetimes of habit otherwise, plus we’re immersed in a sea of energy of people grasping and resisting. But yeah, eventually, the Self gets so loud (in silence) that it overshadows all the blah blah of the ego. Then the seeing/ awakening is easy.

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