These two terms are often spoken together: "pain and suffering". Implying that they are different. For the purposes of this website we are going to keep to that, referring to 'pain' as something physiological (body related), and 'suffering' as something psychological.
Though they are different, they both hurt.
The interesting difference between 'pain' and 'suffering' is that while both have a cause, suffering, if we know how, can be remedied more readily than pain. There is the well known saying: "Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional".
Some people prefer pain, while others prefer suffering. This is because suffering can always be fixed and pain sometimes can not be. The question is: "How do we fix suffering?". This web site is about just that.
Suffering as we experience it, is something practically entirely emotional.
Suffering is the arising and presence of emotions that are experienced as painful or harmful. Such emotions are what we could call ‘negative emotions’. As hard as it is to accept this, the very interesting thing is, is that it is ourselves that actually generate these painful emotions. This may seem like bad news at first, but it is actually great news, because if we generate it, we can learn to stop generating it. That is sometimes the difference between an enlightened person and one who is not.
Suffering begins in our mind and moves down into our emotions, and there is stays. It in fact stays for as long as we sustain it with our mind.
At the heart of every suffering, there is a certain value that has been lost. These values are many, however some could be love, friendship, trust, esteem, dignity, respect, security, communion, connection, honesty etc. The remedy to suffering lies in learning how to restore these lost values.
Suffering is the result of duality. There is no suffering when there is only one thing. Suffering is a kind of conflict. As soon as two factors appear, the potential for conflict presents itself. Conflict can not exist when there is only one thing, i.e. when there is unity.
Conflicts are a clash resulting from a difference. Whenever two factors interact, owing to their differences there can be a conflict. The conflicts that cause suffering in us all have their origin within our psyche. In fact, the conflict occurs in psyche.
There are many types of conflicts that can develop within our psyche, and the nature of the suffering that they unfold varies according to the nature of the elements within our psyche that are involved in the conflict. We will say more about this later on.
In general, there are two types of conflicts that can erupt within us. They are the following:
Conflicts arising due to the difference between something in our psyche and something outside of ourselves (external world).
Conflicts arising due to the clash of two different factors within our psyche.
The real cause of suffering is that these elements within us don’t agree with what is happening outside of ourselves. It is precisely these disagreeable elements that present themselves in the form of desires, concepts, and beliefs that need to be transformed. This is the real and true remedy. We can not always alter what is happening outside of ourselves but what is inside of ourselves, we certainly can alter.
We suffer because there is something within us that disagrees with what is taking place outside of ourselves. We suffer due to the perception of a difference between what we have inside of our psyche and what is happening outside of it. The critical point being, that this difference seems unfair to us.
We essentially suffer due to the perception of injustice and unfairness.
This is better understood through examples. One day a good friend due to a miscommunication begins to withdraw their care, their trust and respect with little or no explanation. This difference between the way our friend behaves towards us now, and the good times of the past seem unfair, especially when the event that triggered the now, less friendly behaviour was not deliberate. This unfairness causes us inevitably to suffer. The closer and dearer the friend, the higher the value we place on the friendship and the more we suffer for its loss.
The more important elements within our psyche that are the cause for this suffering are: concepts, beliefs and desires. Things such as expectations, ideals, ways of thinking, mental patterns, also contribute and they fall under the umbrella of concepts and beliefs.
If our mind was 100% quiet, we would not suffer. For us to suffer there has to be thought. Before thought there is an interpretation, followed by a judgement, followed by the activation or creation of a concept and then finally the belief in that concept.
For example, imagine we are being severely reprimanded, and for the whole time our mind was frozen and we could not think a thought. That is we could not think such thoughts as: “how dare they use such force”, “this is unfair”, “what am I going to do now”, “I have really done it this time” etc.
In summary, we suffer because within our psyche we are at odds with reality. As soon as we align our interior with reality our suffering declines.
There is also a very important point here that we ignore, and it has to do with the suffering of others. It has become an irrefutable observation amongst all people that we have encountered, that if we have caused suffering to others, as everything must be balanced we come to later experience that exact same suffering.
Meaning that we can find the origin of much of our suffering in the suffering we have caused others. We invite you at this point to reflect and look at the suffering you are now experiencing and explore the possibility that you may be causing others to feel the same right now or have done so in the past.
If you did see that you have caused or are causing suffering to others and it is the same as you are suffering now, you can always as a way to remedy your suffering repair or compensate for the suffering you have or are causing.
Life is a series of problems, if it were not this way it simply woudln't be life. We can not escape from the problems of life, problems are inevitable. What we can escape or modify is the suffering that these problems can cause.
Every suffering that we pass through has its good side, just as everything else does. That good side is learning, which can include acquiring new knowledge and awareness, new strengths, new skills and abilities, new qualities such as renewed trust, deeper appreciation, gratitude etc.
If we are able to overcome our suffering we transform our suffering into new strengths. Showing us that there is much to gain from making the effort to remedy our sufferings. This valueable knowledge can be used to help others who are passing through the same suffering and others who will pass through the same in the future.
Afterall, no rose appears in nature without thorns.
Each cause of suffering within our psyche unfolds a particular suffering, with a particular flavour, with particular characteristics, thoughts, feelings and impulses.
Each of the different types of suffering have their particular causes and remedies. They also pertain to a very particular area of life.
What we have done with this website is to categorize each of the many types of sufferings according to their cause. As mentioned earlier each suffering finds its cause within our psyche, i.e. due to a particular element of our psyche, and each of these elements has a common name found in the everyday use of our language.
For example, in the area of relationships we have suffering due to the psychological elements of pride, envy, jealousy and lust. Elements of greed appear in the scenarios where money is involved, gluttony appears when it comes to food and drink and in general any kind of consumption. Fear appears when there is physical pain or some kind of uncertainty, risk or danger.
Remedy starts with knowing. No one has ever remedied something that they don't know. In short we must start remedying our suffering by getting to know it. Studying it. As we begin studying our suffering we begin to feel a kind of release. The veil of ambiguity and obscurity lifts and the value of hope enters into us, as it becomes ever clear to us that we can remedy our suffering.
The whole process of the remedy that we present here in this website is the work of discovering the value at the heart of our suffering, and reinstating its correct functioning within us.
For example, at the heart of anger is the value of force and energy used to surmount difficulties. We get angry because something appears to be stopping us, so to remove this obstacle the force and energy that we have in reserve appears. With anger this force and energy is used directly against another person, or a group of people or an object. This as we know is destructive both for us and others. This is the wrong use of that value of force within us. That value of force is better directed into finding a solution beneficial to both.
Click here to go directly to the Remedy page where you will find much information about your suffering - what is causing it and especially how to remedy it. On the remedy page simply click the link that seems most relevant.