Monday, May 4, 2015

Monday Mantra: Secret #5

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: The cause of suffering is unreality
Secret #5: The Cause of Suffering is Unreality

...pain is not the same as suffering. Left to itself, the body discharges pain spontaneously, letting go of it the moment that the underlying cause is healed.

Suffering is pain that we hold on to.

...what brings escape is not attacking the suffering itself but getting at the unreality that makes us cling to pain.

Steps that lead to suffering include:
-Overlooking actual facts
-Adopting a negative perception
-Reinforcing that perception by obsessive thinking
-Getting lost in the pain without looking for a way out
-Comparing yourself to others
-Cementing the suffering through relationships

All these steps build up a sense of unreality until it seems totally real.

The beginning of suffering is often a refusal to look at how a situation really is. When the worst misfortune occurs - when someone gets fired, has a spouse walk out, hears a diagnosis of cancer - about 15 percent seek some kind of help from a counselor, therapist, or pastor. The rest watch TV.

The assumption: Pleasure is better than pain; therefore, it must be the answer to suffering.

In reality, nothing exists outside the self.

Of all the secrets thus far, this is leaps and bounds above the rest of them, in my opinion. I genuinely feel that if this one portion of the book was taught in schools and workplace settings, the world might actually be a better place. 

Chopra talks about all the ways we choose suffering when we refuse to deal with reality. We decide if we're ugly or fat or miserable or wonderful based on outside factors that have no standing in reality. We base everything on our perceptions and we think these precepts are solid, reliable facts, when indeed they are not. We never think to question them.

After reading this section of the book, I guarantee you'll be able to see this everywhere you turn, in everyone you know, even in yourself. It is so obvious it's almost laughable: We cause most of our own suffering. For instance, when we attach to something, such as a celebrity, and we build a version of them in our minds, if they fail what we have created, we suffer. Generally speaking, when we build up false realities we do so to avoid facing a difficult situation in our personal lives. Thus, seeking pleasure to avoid dealing with reality.

We cause suffering in ourselves because we attach to what we own, what we do, what we like or don't like, what we want or don't want, what we have or don't have. These identifiers become far too important to us, so important that we push past who we are at the core of our being and it becomes a battle of you vs. me, us vs. them. We forget that who we are can be simply summed up as "I am." That is the beginning and that is the end.

Chopra goes on to explain the five root causes of suffering that tie into this:
- Not knowing what is real
- Grasping and clinging to the unreal
- Being afraid of the unreal and recoiling from it
- Identifying with an imaginary self
- Fear of death
(These alone are eye opening, but far too lengthy and complicated to explain here.)

To bring yourself back to reality and to cease the suffering, your awareness must be enhanced. You must begin to understand what is actual reality against what you have created for yourself that is not. 

For 5 minutes a day, you're supposed to sit by yourself and clear away everything complicating your life. You must organize your life and remove the disorder. You must ensure you don't cross the line from empathy of others pain to making it your own. You must examine your beliefs, your relationships, and anything negative in your life. You must raise your own awareness of reality. You must stop seeking pleasure in place of dealing with a difficult, painful situation. 

You must become intimately familiar with "I am" because this is who you really are. 

That is the beginning and that is the end.

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