Why do we suffer?
Suffering is not an act, it is an experience. Suffering can have no meaning without the participation of the self. Suffering cannot happen without the involvement of the self.
If one goes deep and looks at the causes of suffering, whether it be their own or someone else’s, they can see that the source of suffering is always within. For example, when you watch a person suffering, it is not just the person who is suffering; it is also you who is suffering. If you aren’t suffering along with that person, then you can’t recognize the suffering of that person.
At that very moment when you watch someone being hurt, something in you hurts too. Thus, the source of suffering is not in that person, but it is in you. When you recognize the suffering of somebody, when you recognize the suffering in the world, you are recognizing it through you. We can only identify suffering through suffering. We can’t talk about suffering or think about suffering without suffering. It isn’t possible to objectively talk about suffering while you are in a pleasant state of mind.
In the individual realm, the teacher understands that all of our suffering is connected and that there is a deeper connection between events and circumstances. Things happen for a reason, and when you look at it from the mind and body point of view, you are not causing that suffering; it has just happened. It’s all in the way how you look at it. Seen from the mind, everything is separate, and seen from the self, everything is connected.
If you make the body the experiencing and observing point, then most of the suffering that happens to the body is circumstantial. The body never desires for suffering, so the source of suffering is not the body. For example, if you are sitting here and suddenly the temperature rises, you get hot, and you become tired. Where is that suffering coming from? You didn’t choose it consciously. It is something that has happened to the body and you are acknowledging it.
If the source of suffering is neither in the mind, nor in the body, then where is it? The source of suffering is in your attachment to things. Your suffering proves only one thing – you are attached to something. Understanding the roots of your attachment and going beyond them is the only way to lessen your suffering.