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The cause of suffering
August 13th, 2012

illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)

The cause of suffering

Imagine tourists in your town. You know these people exist, you met them.
Imagine the tourists then continue their trip to the next town,
and (a fact unknown by you) they die there in a car accident.
Are you suffering?
Well, no, it won't even register;
it won't register even if the car accident is mentioned in the news…

The cause of suffering lies in one's 'identification', one's self-awareness (appropriating itself as an entity rather than as a process).

Birth, ageing, sickness, death are "part of life" when they apply to someone else (not too close to us); but they are "suffering" when we identify with them: my death, or the death of my relatives and friends (i.e. people who participate in who I am)… Clearly, identification is what makes suffering arise, out of the normalcy of "life goes on."

Loosen the grip of the ego and suffering will loosen its grip on you.
When there is no 'you', there is no suffering.

[mixed media by David Lewis-Baker,
 from his "Iraq War – Windows of Suffering Series," ]