Our current goals:
- Widen the horizons of our vision
- Take direct approaches to uncover the blocks that keep our vision narrow
- Lift those blocks, however briefly, in order to experience the sense of liberation that comes when the blocks are removed
- Intensify our motivation for freedom
I feel like I am whispering a great secret that most of the world does not want to know, a secret for which I can be slain, when I say:
You do not have to suffer.
There have been several times when friends were suffering, and I tried to help by letting them know they could let go of the idea that caused their suffering. Each time my friends have retaliated with attack. It was as if I was attacking them when I let them know how easy it is to be free of suffering, and so they attacked back.
I suppose I was attacking them. I was attacking their attachment to suffering without realizing how much they still wanted it. It was like trying to take a worn out stuffed animal from a child before the child is ready to give it up.
You may think you don’t love suffering, but are you sure you’re right? The best way to find out is to answer this question for yourself: Do you suffer over anything ever? If the answer is ‘yes,’ then you are still clinging to that worn out toy.
Just like everyone else, I used to believe that suffering was the natural outcome of certain circumstances. Gradually I let go of that idea. The final stronghold for me was the belief that I had to suffer because of extreme physical pain. I came to see even that is not true. All suffering is caused by thought that we choose to believe, and there isn’t another cause of suffering at all.
Each time I pointed out to friends that they could let go of suffering, and they became angry with me, they always indicated that their form of suffering was special. Thiers was the special circumstance that validated suffering. This is a clue that points to a thought in the mind, a thought that this lesson is helping to uncover. The idea is that suffering is more real than God (than truth).
That belief is in your mind if you suffer. I know, because I uncovered it in my own mind. The ego clings to that idea, because that idea protects the ego thought system. It seems to confirm that the ego thought system is truth, and the teachings about truth are merely idle fantasy. The worn out toy that you cling to when you suffer is the false self.
Here are a few things that today’s lesson says about the choice to suffer:
- “Pain is a wrong perspective.”
- “Pain is but witness to the Son’s mistakes in what he thinks he is.
- “Pain is a sign illusions reign in place of truth.”
- “It is your thoughts alone that cause pain.”
- “There is no cause beyond yourself that can reach down and bring oppression.”
- “No one but yourself affects you.”
- “The world may seem to cause you pain. And yet the world, as causeless, has no power to cause. As an effect, it cannot make effects. As an illusion, it is what you wish.”
- “Pain is the ransom you have gladly paid not to be free.”
- “Pain is illusion; joy is reality.”
- “Pain is deception; joy alone is truth.”
The attachment to suffering is a deeply held attachment. This is why my friends felt attacked when I pointed out they did not have to suffer. If you’d like to be free of that attachment, here’s what you can do:
When you suffer, look to see if you can see your choice to suffer. The choice could be a very simple decision. It could be as simple as the decision, “I can not be happy with this.” Look for what you believe must be different.
As you look for your choice to suffer, you may find several little things that you can change your mind about when you see them. For example, you might be able to quickly let go of the idea that you have to suffer if it’s too hot, or if the husband is late to dinner, or if there is traffic on the highway, etcetera. Each little change of mind is important, because you are reversing the decision to cling to suffering.
Either now or eventually, you will come to the choice to suffer itself. This will appear as a belief, something that you took as absolutely true. It may feel impossible to let go of it when you see it. My recommendation is that you acknowledge it as a belief rather than a truth, and give your willingness for it to be healed. Let grace take care of the rest.
In other words, demonstrate your willingness to let go of the belief in suffering by changing your mind with the little things, and give your willingness with the apparent bigger things. This is how the attachment to suffering will be undone.
If you’d like to hear the story about how the attachment to suffering was finally undone for me, you can listen to this audio.
Letting go of the attachment to suffering is not a little thing. It is letting go of a critical defense in the ego thought system.