Ending Our Patterns of Unnecessary Suffering: Part I
How is it possible to end our patterns of suffering? It is only possible if you're willing to have the power of observation activated. It gets activated by your own desire for truth, your willingness to inquire how you suffer, and your ability to discern when that suffering is unnecessary.
This word “unnecessary” is important, because there is certainly suffering in the world. There is pain in the world for all forms of life. This personal observation is not about getting something right so that you will be free from suffering. That freedom would be conditional. The freedom I am pointing you to is the freedom that is already alive within you in this very instant, regardless of conditions. Inner freedom is not reliant on your doing anything. It is the inherent truth of who you are.
Our bodies, as well as all life forms, are hard-wired to survive. Our minds have the capacity to veil the truth of who we really are as vast, limitless conscious. Part of that capacity to veil truth comes from a primary drive to survive, to keep the body alive. That is the whole point of identity. Without a body, we don’t need an ego. We don’t need a story of me. Yet because we have objectified ourselves as a body in space and time, a body that carries with it a storyline, the motivating force – the engine of the storyline – becomes about survival of the body.
We also know that after a certain time our bodies will die, and yet this survival drive is so strong, the power of it so convincing, that we even deny the certain ending of the body. We spend our lives worrying about that death, fearing that death, and denying that death. In that avoidance, survival itself becomes a poison to the truth of our inherent freedom. Death becomes the event to be avoided at all costs, even at the cost of our integrity.
I invite you to look within your life right now, and see if you have sold your integrity for some notion of survival of the body. What are the strategies that you employ for survival? Do you desire to be rich or smart or powerful or useful so that then nobody will hurt you, so that you will fit in, and your body will have a better chance of surviving? The same can be said about wanting to be attractive or trying to be a “good person.” You desire to be these things because you think this is what gives you worth, and if you have worth, you will survive.
You have the opportunity, in this moment to observe for yourself where you are obsessed with avoiding loss or protecting yourself from loss; where you are fixated on keeping. Drop your attention deeper than your thoughts into where fear is held in your body. With your consciousness, you have the capacity to penetrate inside that fear, leaving all the narratives behind – "If I just do enough, if I could just get enough, if I could just get more, then I would be safe." As you sit here, alone with yourself, be willing to be unsafe and take the inner dive into the unknown. There it is possible to discover what is free of both birth and death and so cannot be lost. What is not subject to loss is always here.
I invite you to ask yourself the questions that are really the heart and core of all true self-inquiry. What is it that dies when the body dies? Who is it that dies? Who is asking these questions? Inquire deeply into yourself. Look closer and closer.
Are you aware of the fear of being nothing, of no longer existing? Right now, let your consciousness sink into the core of that fear. Let yourself be nothing right now. All is finished. All is over. What is left? What remains when everything is gone? Who are you?
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Gangaji is the author of The Diamond in Your Pocket, Freedom & Resolve: Finding Your True Home in the Universe, You Are That, and Hidden Treasure: Uncovering the Truth in Your Life Story.