I am wondering what causes unnecessary suffering. When do I experience unnecessary suffering? What tends to bring me out of suffering and into peace?
I can conjure up all kinds of suffering the minute I mentally leave the present moment (which for the most part is a peaceful place without suffering….unless I am projecting fear onto it or someone else is projecting their fear onto it and then the present moment can quickly change into whatever fears are being projected). Of course there is true suffering happening all the time, this is not the suffering I am speaking of. I am speaking of the unnecessary suffering that we all can conjure up with our minds.
We have been conditioned to experience the world as a world of duality, black and white, right and wrong. But, is this the truth or only what we have been conditioned to believe?
When we live our lives from the place of duality we are setting ourselves up for unnecessary suffering. We can become so trapped in judging life and people as right/wrong, good/bad, either/or etc. that we become reactionary (unnecessary suffering begins here).
Once we enter judgment we also enter the cycle of seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. Because obviously pain is bad and pleasure is good….right? Now we are in for a very daunting and exhausting ride. It is daunting and exhausting because it never ends, we can never get off the ride until and unless we choose to let go of the rigid belief in duality.
I believe that if we put our focus on perfection instead of wholeness we are setting ourselves up for a lifetime of disappointment. There are no perfect people, or perfect anything. If we can let go of our illusion of control long enough we could learn to accept this truth. We would stop harshly judging ourselves and each other. We would let go and let God. We would become kinder and gentler people. It is our illusion of control that pulls us into the duality belief system. Why do we create this illusion of control? Maybe we believe that if we can become perfect enough and create a personalized perfect world we will be able to avoid pain and live in pleasure.
We have been conditioned to believe that one day we can actually reach out and grab that brass ring and live happily ever after. And look out to anybody who tries to break our denial that this can’t happen or who says or does anything to break into our fantasy worlds that we have created for ourselves. Those fantasies can only last if you build a fortress around them and keep the rest of the world out.
When I ask myself if I could wave a magic wand and choose a perfect fantasy world (which can only come with a fortress locking me in and others out) or an imperfect reality of a vulnerable and surrendered heart (where true suffering is experienced but accepted as part of life)….what would I choose?
I would choose to be awake to it all, with the cushion of the unconditioned acceptance of the grey area, the middle way.
A grey area is a term for a border in-between two or more things that is unclearly defined, a border that is hard to define or even impossible to define, or a definition where the distinction border tends to move. (To me there is great peace in the acceptance of this uncertainty…the mystery of life. When we accept this mystery we are lead down a path and through a gate where we can leave definitions and certainty behind and enter into the realm of infinity).
The Middle Way:
When the Buddha renounced his princely world he became an Ascetic. He lived on very little food and his body became skeletal. He was very severe in his methods. He tried various forms of asceticism but still he failed to accomplish his goal. Eventually he realized that his approach was wrong he determined that the best path was one of moderation… A middle-way between indulgence (pleasure) and abstinence (pain). He is said to have drawn a metaphor between the way we think and act and a bow string on a musical instrument. If a bow string is too taught it will snap when played; if it is too loose it will produce an inferior tone. Likewise, said the Buddha, we should walk the middle path to achieve optimum results. It was at this stage when he followed “The Middle Way” he reached Enlightenment whilst meditating under a Bodi tree.