Suffering Consciously (vs Pain)

Here you may share how the words Eckhart Tolle have affected your life.
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Suffering Consciously (vs Pain)

Post by barbarasher » Thu May 19, 2005 9:26 pm

The following is a transcription from memory of a small segment of the Eckhart Tolle CD set that I am listening to from the "Realizing The Power of Now" retreat. It is on CD #3.

It says:

"Suffering consciously is when you feel, sense and accept the suffering. It is not suffering anymore it is just pain.

To be suffering you must have an unhappy me with a story and the world that is doing it to me."

Yes, the unhappy me with my victim story and everyone else in the world or the world itself that is doing it to me and is to blame. The mental complaining of telling myself "how I am right and I am a victim and things aren't as they should be" that goes on in my head, and the suffering that I am causing myself.

For example:
When an employee makes a mistake (that costs my company), I suffer: why can't anyone do anything right, how come this is happening to me?
When my husband is in a bad mood (no connection to me), I suffer: what kind of husband do I have, why do I put up with this, how come he is like this?
When my parents decide not to come to the opening ceremony of the Jewish Olympics (Maacabiah) in tennis in which I am representing Israel (women's tennis age 40-50), because its too hard to walk, I suffer: What kind of parents do I have, they don't love me, what did I do wrong?
When I am rushed to do normal things that my mind says everyone else has time for, I suffer.

It's all so redundant. It all is as it is. I make my own suffering. Yes, something happened, I can look at it differently. I am listening to that part of the CD a lot.

I am much more peaceful is this area than I was, but still listening and listening.

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Post by erict » Fri May 20, 2005 11:43 am

Let me add my perspective, and what I've learned about suffering:

Expectations = (potential) Disappointments

This is one of those things that are so normal, that people don't realize they can and and do control. But the more you come to expect of people and life, the more complex and substential your ideal for how things are supposed to be becomes, the more you will get disappointed and suffer.

Each of us has this model in his mind of an ideal reality. It is a reality where:
  • People do not kill each other
  • People do not steal
  • People do not lie
  • People are polite and well mannered
  • People are honest and always do what they promise
Anyway, whether we are aware of it or not, we all have a huge list of what people should not do, how they must behave and, in short how life is supposed to be.

So there's reality, and there's this mental model of an ideal reality that we have. And the more the two differ, the more suffering we experience. But what is important to realize, is that it is not true that people shouldn't kill each other, or steal or lie or whatever. We just came along and made it up. But people do kill and steal and lie, and that's what's true.

I guess suffering is born in the gap between how things are and how we believe they should be.

Egoic Interpretations

Now this is often very subtle, but it's very neat :) It's sometimes so funny when I observe and figure out why all kinds of little, trivial things make me feel bad.

I don't know if it's the same way with other people, but I suppose it is. When, for example, I am talking with someone, telling them something, and then I notice that they aren't paying attention. In a subtle way it makes me feel bad - but why should something like that affect how I feel? Well, for a very simple reason. For my ego, what I say is a sort of extension of self, and if someone is treating my words as unimportant, the ego immediately interperts it as being treated as unimportant! And if on the other hand when you speak and people listen very intently, you feel really good inside, because your ego interperts it like: oh my words are important, so I am important.

When many people didn't really like my girlfriend whom I loved dearly, it made me feel bad. Even though I knew that they don't know her at all, and she just doesn't make a very good impression on people for some reason. But now I see clearly that she was an extention of my self. And if someone didn't like her, it was as though they were saying they do not like me. The ego always interperts things that way.

So when your parents do not come to see you in an important event, to your ego it immediately means that they are saying you are not important and they do not love you. But this leads me to the last thing I wanted to mention.

Choosing Your Perspective Consciously

I still have an ego, I have a sense of self and it is affected by all kinds of stupid things. Of course it would be wonderful to end this dependancy between your inner well being and your sense of self, but few of us are going to reach that. And yet, even while things like that do affect us, there's a lot that can be done to improve your experience of life. Simply by looking at things differently.

When I was a child, not very long ago :D And there was this question on my mind... I was trying to find something that does not have a positive side to it. And I never did. Everything has both positive and negative aspects to it. And over the last months, I've learned to implement the incredible power of consciously choosing how to look at what is happening in my life.

So for example, when a boss at work gets really mad at me, when I've done nothing wrong. At first, almost instictively and by default I get mad and upset, but then... I remind myself that he's really nice to me most of the time, and maybe he's just having a really difficult week. And I remind myself of how I can be that way with other people to, how I can just totally lash out at someone for the smallest thing, just because I am boiling inside. There are few hurtful things that people do to me, that I have not done to other people, if I am very honest with myself. And when I consider that, it helps me understand and not get so mad when someone is being hurtful. So this is one thing. Another thing, when someone is being hurtful, I remind myself that I want peace and happiness in my life and the only times people can hurt me with their words is when I give them that power over me. And that I'll never be at peace as long as my inner well being depends on what people around me say or do. And in this way, every hurtful behavior of someone around me, becomes an opportunity for me to practice being the one in control of my well being.

I actually have a lot more to say :) But I think this is enough for one post.

The important thing to remember is that every thing that happens has a positive side to it, and you can find it, if you really choose to. And when that becomes a habit, your experience of life will be quite different.
"Be sincere; don't ask questions out of mere interest. Ask dangerous questions—the ones whose answers could change your life."

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Post by heidi » Fri May 20, 2005 1:40 pm

Hi Barb - I appreciate your honesty. Yes, that victim energy is a real turn-off once you become conscious of it. It wants to manipulate but it's so completely impotent, yes? Now that you see it, it's being healed. I think that's what Tolle means when he talks about consciousness of suffering and pain.

Eric - So beautifully put, and how true. Lately when I see people making themselves unhappy by their expectations, I remind them that it's to root of their woe.

There's a saying: When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. I also notice that a smile can completely change the energy of a situation both inside and out.

In the book I am writing, my character is learning this:
Obstacles are really stepping stones. :)

It's all about perception. Here's one of my favorite quotes from a Longefellow poem.

We see but dimly through the mists and vapors
Amid these earthly damps
What seems to us but sad funeral tapers
May be heaven's distant lamps.
wonderment on the third wave

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Post by barbarasher » Sat Jun 18, 2005 7:28 am


Thank you for your relevant, heartfelt answer. It helps me.


Good luck with the book. I hope to be reading it someday.

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Post by ECM » Wed Jun 22, 2005 3:53 pm

Expectations = (potential) Disappointments

I feel as if I am setting myself up for this as of late.
I am moving to a new town in a couple of weeks- I am so optimistic of the changes.
I'm moving from a place that has a horrible job market. It has made things very difficult -ie, I've had four part time jobs(just to live paycheck by paycheck) which left no time for family and friends. But there was such an amazing realization that I came to while I was here- I found the PON for one and I'm realizing my inner self more now than ever before.
That was such an amazing gift and it was found in the deepest and darkest of times.

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