Do people really suffer?

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idontgetit
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Do people really suffer?

Post by idontgetit » Thu Dec 31, 2009 1:49 pm

One thought that kept popping into my mind when reading Tolle, Buddhism etc. is the idea that as long as we are attached to ego, we suffer. I have also read many posts on this forum and many opinions that seem to think that without awareness, we are suffering, asleep, not fully living life, etc...

However, I know many people who (gasp!) have ego's and are perfectly normal and happy. Two of these strange beings happen to be my parents. Married for over 20 years, they both love life, hold immense amounts of love for their children and each other, are true to themselves, find a lot of beauty in everyday life. Gawd...my father has never been depressed a day in his life!! But according to many here, he would still "asleep" because he hasn't realized that "he is not thought".

I also have a friend who mostly just cares about getting laid, going to parties, having fun. He DEFINITELY has an ego (and a quite mouth on him as well), but he is probably one of the happiest people I know. Very little insecurities, tons of positive emotions and laughter, really nice guy.

Is it simply that some people naturally have weaker egos or a greater sense of presence without actually knowing what it is?

I guess I'm questioning whether "presence", "awareness", "knowledge of the ego" or whatever you would like to call it is a necessary prerequesite for happiness and peace? From personal experience, I actually don't think it is. However, that's not to say that "awareness" doesn't aid happiness, I just don't think it's a perfect correlation.

I'd love to hear some thoughts on this. Thanks,

Andrew

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kiki
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Re: Do people really suffer?

Post by kiki » Thu Dec 31, 2009 4:30 pm

Some have dreams that are happier than others, but they are still dreams.

Waking up just reveals the dream nature that you had been living within. When factors change within the dream, the sleeper's experience of life is subject to change as well. When you are awake within the dream those changing factors no longer remain the barometer of your happiness.
"Miss Kelly, perhaps you'd like this flower. I seem to have misplaced my buttonhole ... Miss Kelly, you know, when you wear my flower you make it look beautiful." Elwood P. Dowd
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Re: Do people really suffer?

Post by Ananda » Thu Dec 31, 2009 7:23 pm

In an absolute sense, nobody ever suffers, or has suffered.

In a relative sense, suffering is the product of the constant cycle of fleeting happiness and dissapointment arrived at through the misperception that fulfillment and lasting happiness is by gratification of desire through external conditions and circumstances. So, you may appear happy, but if your happiness is only the result of external circumstances then it is not permanent, and will leave you, because all external circumstances are the result of impermanent conditions only. The constant cycle of fleeting happiness (and also dissapointment) produces suffering when it goes unnoticed that it is inherently unsatisfactory and without any permanent basis in reality.

Lasting happiness is only realized through absence of desires, and not to be found through fulfilling them, as everything (except one's own Self) is subject to change and impermanence.

All happiness that that is attained through conditions will not stay with you, and the more attached you become to it the more you will experience suffering.

All happiness that is attained through recognition of your own unconditioned nature will always stay with you, because it is a part of who you are, and the more you stay with it the happier you will become, until suffering seems like a very old memory.

The Self is the only reality, abiding in the real means there can be no suffering, because there is no longer attachment to conditions and impermanence.

:)

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Hand
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Re: Do people really suffer?

Post by Hand » Thu Dec 31, 2009 7:55 pm

There is no suffering....unless you think things should be different than they are.
Life is. Accept Life. Peace reigns.

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Re: Do people really suffer?

Post by goldenbirdies » Thu Dec 31, 2009 9:04 pm

Hand wrote:There is no suffering....unless you think things should be different than they are.
There is so much in this one line...............(the one above, I mean!)
David

Steal Softly through Sunshine, Steal Softly through Snow - Don Van Vliet

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Hand
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Re: Do people really suffer?

Post by Hand » Fri Jan 01, 2010 12:37 am

Thanks goldenbirdies - I have Byron Katie to thank for this sentiment! I posted it to remind myself as well as hoping it might help others. So much of my thoughts are about wanting life to be different than it is - SO stressful....!
Life is. Accept Life. Peace reigns.

idontgetit
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Re: Do people really suffer?

Post by idontgetit » Fri Jan 01, 2010 3:20 am

Yes but then where does "love" come from? For example, love that a mother has for a child? If the mother is "in the dream" then is this love a dream? What I am asking is if people who are not aware that "they are not thought" can still experience presence?

I believe that they can - it doesn't take some specific knowledge that "we are not thought" or some concepts of acceptance or some concepts of "ego" to experience presence, love, or joy. I believe that a lot of people already experience these, they just don't have a name for it.

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Re: Do people really suffer?

Post by Ananda » Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:50 am

Yes but then where does "love" come from?
The one who loves.

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Re: Do people really suffer?

Post by kiki » Fri Jan 01, 2010 6:04 am

What I am asking is if people who are not aware that "they are not thought" can still experience presence?
Yes, of course. They probably will be completely mystified by it later when then try to figure out what happened, but sure they can still experience presence. I had many such experiences, starting in my teens; I just didn't know what happened, and so I went on a journey to recapture it. But since I had no idea what it was that journey lead me into all sorts of things that had nothing to do with being present to the reality of what I was. That journey was a continuation of the dream. When I discovered what it was the dream that I was caught up in ended.
"Miss Kelly, perhaps you'd like this flower. I seem to have misplaced my buttonhole ... Miss Kelly, you know, when you wear my flower you make it look beautiful." Elwood P. Dowd
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idontgetit
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Re: Do people really suffer?

Post by idontgetit » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:12 pm

"Yes, of course. They probably will be completely mystified by it later when then try to figure out what happened, but sure they can still experience presence. I had many such experiences, starting in my teens; I just didn't know what happened, and so I went on a journey to recapture it. But since I had no idea what it was that journey lead me into all sorts of things that had nothing to do with being present to the reality of what I was. That journey was a continuation of the dream. When I discovered what it was the dream that I was caught up in ended."

I'm not sure if we are talking about the same thing, Kiki. Does something happeining that would make someone "completely mystified" qualify as presence, or some sort of other spiritual or mystical experience? By presence, I mean being alert and living in the present moment - thoughts come and go, but the person's attention is wrapped up in what is happening NOW, and not anywhere else. I think there are lots of people who live the majority of their lives like this. Maybe they aren't aware of the concept of "ego", or the concept of "living in a dream", but is this really necessary to live in the present moment???

I find that these people who live in the present moment are sort of naturals at it. Usually they are the type of people who just like to have fun, don't take life too seriously, and don't live their lives in their head. For these people, happiness it NOT necessarily dependent on external factors (just because they have discovered "spirituality", it doesn't necessarily lump them in this category). They derive their happiness from everday living. From my experience these type of people seem to be always upbeat and happy. If you are aware of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) which is a personality indicator pioneered by Jung, these people's main cognitive function would be Extraverted Sensing (or an acute awareness of surroundings).

Thanks for the discussion!

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Re: Do people really suffer?

Post by kiki » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:49 pm

I'm not sure if we are talking about the same thing, Kiki. Does something happeining that would make someone "completely mystified" qualify as presence, or some sort of other spiritual or mystical experience?
When you are truly present there are no thoughts going on. After the mind re-emerges there is often confusion about what just happened and a desire arises to get it back. That's where they get completely mystified about it because their mind will never get it back or understand it. What one "knows" about presence comes after the fact, but it will never be adequately described because it is not a finite thing.
By presence, I mean being alert and living in the present moment - thoughts come and go, but the person's attention is wrapped up in what is happening NOW, and not anywhere else.
I think it's fairly common, especially with musicians, athletes, artists, and people who are in the beauty of the natural world. Any activity that allows you to be completely absorbed in will let presence arise. Will that presence arise when not in those activities or circumstances? Yes, for some, but I would guess most people will think they need the activity or circumstance first, and so at other times mind will be active and presence will be overlooked.
I think there are lots of people who live the majority of their lives like this. Maybe they aren't aware of the concept of "ego", or the concept of "living in a dream", but is this really necessary to live in the present moment???
You don't have to know about the concept of ego to live in the present moment. As I said before, they may not really understand why they are thought free and what it all means, but it happens regardless. Knowledge isn't a prerequisite to presence. Why not? Because presence is what you already are - it exists prior to anything happening in the mind.

However, once it is pointed out that what they experienced was "presence", and that this presence is their true nature and that their ego is nothing more than a mental construct, large blocks of identity can drop away more easily. This is where a clear teaching has its greatest value; it points out what is true in such a way that the student sees within himself that same already existing truth. Then one can abide in/as presence in a way that wasn't likely to have happened otherwise.

The people you are describing may have an intuitive feeling that they are not something in the mind, and so they take life less seriously. They don't get so wrapped in the "story of me". Their happiness is coming from a deeper place, their true nature, and not out of meeting the demands, expectations, and hopes of the mind. So yes, they are being present, but the degree of presence may fluctuate. People like this are on the cusp of a deep awakening, but they may not be driven to find "something more" like someone who suffers is driven.
"Miss Kelly, perhaps you'd like this flower. I seem to have misplaced my buttonhole ... Miss Kelly, you know, when you wear my flower you make it look beautiful." Elwood P. Dowd
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innerpeace2u
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Re: Do people really suffer?

Post by innerpeace2u » Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:29 pm

Do people really suffer?

This is a question I often wondered myself.... those individuals who seem ever so content with life, but have never picked up a mystic book or heard of consciousness.

A couple of points to share:

One, how do we know that people avoid suffering for sure? Look at just happened with Tiger Woods & Charlie Sheen just in the last month. Both were considered ostensibly happy-go-lucky, and considered role models to many. Both seemed to have it all together and fit the poster-child definition of what happiness is all about. Yet after the veil is lifted, we see the suffering hidden beneath the false character.

Two, I think if many individuals who are focused at leading a wholesome life and have attributes like integrity, love, laughter, peace and generosity would still lead a relatively good life... just so long there are no cravings of attachment to stuff getting in the way. It may not be "enlightened" life but perhaps considered the next best thing (albeit perhaps a long stretch).

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Re: Do people really suffer?

Post by Sighclone » Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:22 am

Adyashanti said he has met several people who were awake without any special learning or unlearning...natually awake. Eckhart talks about "frequency holders." Sure, there are a few folks like that.

I've known a few -- and very different from each other, as your parents are different from your free-spirited friend. Your question is really for them, not us. Are they actually as blissful as they appear? If so, how and why, or do they even know? You might throw some other questions to them: "What about God? And Death? Do they have any suggestions for others who clearly suffer more than they do? And the answers may be utterly clear and radiant.

Some differences between someone who is self-realized and someone living a pleasant but unconscious life is that the former never make an effort to maintain their happiness or change the circumstances of their life to improve it. A question is "Can this experience be enhanced?" The nondual answer is 'no.' It is always 'no.' Pleasure and pain are not serious considerations. No one will choose pain, of course, but its arrival is not cause for distress. Nor is the appearance of pleasure a cause for joy.

I'm not saying that your parents lead inadequate, unsatisfactory, incomplete lives at all. I have an aunt who never seemed to have a sad moment. Love and compassion are the finest solvents for the veil of ego...enough of them in every day, and egoic identity is a passing wisp...seen for the illusion it is, without the need for the ancient teachings or our fine new masters. They might even be an ISTJ... :)


But what about you...who are you?

Namaste, Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

idontgetit
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Re: Do people really suffer?

Post by idontgetit » Sun Jan 03, 2010 3:34 pm

Sighclone wrote:They might even be an ISTJ... :)


Haha, the spiritual teachers? Somethings makes me doubt that :P Most likely INFJ (in Ecky's case at least).
Sighclone wrote: But what about you...who are you?
I'm someone who is not sure if they are ready yet for all of this, yet I know that if I try to ignore it or forget about it, my mind won't let me! How ironic is that!! I've found that for me, this spiritual path has been met with a lot of resistance, and while I feel like it is a true path, part of me is content to stay "unconscious but happy" like the people we have been discussing. My experience has been that learning about spirituality has lead to a lot of inner conflict (and a crapload of thinking) so I'm not sure where to go from here.

Andrew

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Re: Do people really suffer?

Post by Robin » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:36 pm

Hi mate!

cool question. I believe the answer to your question is: Some do and some not. I believe there is a way to live a happy ego life until you dont want anymore.
Life is Life and ego life is part of it. The troubble comes when we give thoughts and values to "states of being". If life express itself in having sex everynight and getting drunk and fighting with people in a pub and be happy about it. Who am I to change it? Who am I to tell life that it should not do as it does.

What really matters for me is being truthfull about what I am doing and if I allow life to be, period. Not even thinking how I want life to express itself through me. I do what I do until I dont do it anymore and do something else. One thing must be true for you, getting layed every night or living a life like your parents is not the way life wants to express itself through you. Othwise you would not have moved towards the spiritual path. You will notice that the people you talk about dont need a spiritual book, teacher and whatever. They are what they are and do what they do until they change.

enjoy yourself!
Robin

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