Suffering, The Cause Of Suffering, And The End Of Suffering

Buddha said that life is suffering and that the cause of suffering is desire. That is a very clear and obvious truth. If I desire something, that means I do not have it, and if I want or need something that I do not have, that craving for it does imply suffering to some degree.

Maybe it is a thought about a new iPhone that it would be nice to have but you do not need. Regardless, that desire will occupy your mind and anything that occupies your mind means you are not present in the moment, you are thinking of the object of desire.

Being fully present is the best joy, it is being fully awake and in the here and now, this is the moment of true joy without fear or pain from the past or future.

We should also look at the actual desires that are behind this suffering. If we look at the desire for objects, anything material in the world, we can resolve the desire by knowing that really, nothing is going to change your life that much, nothing will fill that inner emptiness, although many people think it will, we all know that is not true.

So what then, is the deepest desire that is the cause of suffering? If all desires stem from one main desire, just like a tree that bears many fruits all began from one seed, we must find that one initial or core desire in order to kill the entire tree.

The leaves on a tree are the visible desires, the objects like a car or an iPhone or iPad. The sap that runs in the veins of the tree is the thought energy that feeds the desire. Like all living things, there is an energy that makes the sap run through the tree from within the roots, deep under the ground, hidden from view.

Love is the deepest desire. But I say, love is not the ultimate desire, it is only an effect of the deepest desire.

I believe that the deepest human desire is to be known, acknowledged and recognized. “I am individual, I stand out as unique, I AM” This is also Buddhist teachings but is not commonly expressed in a world where people associate desires to objects.

Interestingly enough, in the old testament, God does not say what His name is, he merely says; “I Am that I Am.” Thus our need to simply be I AM, could be the very beginning of our soul.

The desire to be known, to be understood and acknowledged. We all need to feel special, that is what love is about, a feeling of being special to another person. Certainly I am all for love, and it’s a vital part of a happy life, I am in no way diminishing the power of love.

The point I want to make is that love is not the ultimate answer, it is the reason for love that is the real root of our existence and all pain. The need to be acknowledged, to feel significant is the real issue.

Now we must ask, how do we satisfy this desire? And here is the cause of suffering; this desire needs to have someone you respect to talk to who will listen and respect you.

We all need someone to talk to who will listen to us, because we all need some advice and comfort throughout our life. The therapist supposedly will offer that service, but of course, we all know that if you pay it is not sincere. Let’s forget about this industry aside from acknowledging that nothing could get that big unless there was a real need in humanity to make it so.

When it comes to our search for love, the union of man and woman completes an electrical circuit. When that is connected, we access the whole power of the universe. It is this unity that we seek in our deepest nature from the spiritual point of our existence. Hence, if we are alone and not seen as special in any way, we will not find this connection to another person and not achieve this unity.

These are the main points;
The seed of all desires is the desire to be known.
We all need someone to talk to so we can express our confusion and pains in life and find guidance.
There are very few people who have the wisdom we can respect enough to open up and talk to and then feel satisfied and comforted by that persons companionship.
If you find such a person, they are probably so busy that you cannot get any private time with them, let alone on a daily basis without having a time limit.
The result is the desire for love which leads to marriage or partnership in which there is one person who will devote their entire life to you and only you.
The lack of understanding about the real need leads to failed relationships which then amplifies the problem.
Ultimately, real emotional pain stems from feeling alone.

In all our everyday problems and troubles, there is nothing more painful than pain coupled with feeling totally alone and that there is no one who can help you or you can talk to about it. That aloneness is the enhancing agent which multiplies a pain that could be reasonably dealt with into an unbearable pain leading in some drastic cases to suicide.

The pain of feeling totally alone is the result of the seed of the initial desire to be known.

We all talk to ourselves, not a moment goes by without you thinking in a conversation to yourself. The only difference between you and the insane fool who wanders the street babbling to himself is that you do it silently in your own mind and he speaks out loud in public. You may not like to hear that, but give it some objective and honest thought, how much of your thoughts are a conversation with yourself.

The end of suffering comes with the end of desires. I do not think we normal humans have much hope in that happening.

We may not be able to end our desire or in the Buddhist view of reincarnation, life after life of suffering, but we can end the pain that the suffering causes, and for me, I would be happy to at least get that much, then work further.

With seven billion people on the planet, you are rarely alone. All we need is someone who will sincerely be there for us to talk to with an open and receptive mind. Why should it be so hard to find such a person? Because you are not helping.

I do not know how to find the great person to confide in who will be there for me, but I do know that we can become that person. If you can open your heart to others, and they can also do that to you, pretty soon, in fact the instant that everyone simply gives in to this essential need and quality of what it means to be human, the entire world will be living in comfort rather than pain.

Are you willing to be the first seed of a different sort of tree, one that gives warmth in this world?

Having said all this, I will add that this is only the beginning of real suffering. The real pain is that due to feeling alone, your heart will begin to close. That is when things get worse because of feeling trapped in a closed heart which breeds the feeling of hopelessness. I have discussed the effects of feeling hopeless in another article entitled;
How Making Decisions Relates To Depression And Happiness
Suffering is multiplied when you do not know the cause. Any problem seems a lot worse if you have no idea what the solution is or could be. I hope that this article helps you understand the pains of being human, if not your pain, then other people, and we can all work towards opening our heart and being the sincere companion to as many other people as we can. You don’t have to sleep with everyone, just be there to listen.

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7 Responses to Suffering, The Cause Of Suffering, And The End Of Suffering

  1. Andy July 13, 2011 at 2:02 am #

    Great article – we are the cause of all our suffering – in the instant everyone forgot about themselves, the world would change. It made me think about how as individuals we create this impenetrable space around ourselves that no-one else can touch – an empty space. Is that the emptiness we try to fill with all the toys? In unity there can be no emptiness.

    • David Samuel July 20, 2011 at 5:38 am #

      What often shocked me was when I wanted to give someone a gift, either a friend or stranger, I just wanted to give something and they refused. I was at the movies one night and two girls wanted to buy popcorn but did not have enough money, so I offered to pay, and they refused. Crazy!!! That is the problem that perpetuates the problem. People will not accept, they shut themselves off from life and humanity, so they just deteriorate emotionally.

  2. Anna Boons July 24, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

    Dear David,
    Today I was thinking of you by seeing a very special animationmovie : Le chat du rabbin. The movie remembered me of our meeting in the bad hotel in Bali by
    the morning breakfast with healty belch.. We were talking abouth the behaviour and religions on the buss to Denpasar.
    Le chat du rabbin is a smart film abouth the meadness of rules of religions.
    Very funny, I saw you laughing while I saw the movie.
    Your articles are fun and making joy in the hearts of people.
    You’re welcome in Antwerp if you are in Belgium, very interesting city with lots of different religions.
    I’ll be your guide. In Lakech, Anna

  3. Kurt Sykes October 27, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    Wow! Great Aricle!

  4. Mariam July 10, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

    Being alone is just an illusion. I think our deepest desire is to return to God and recognize our oneness with one another and with God. To let go of what appears to be separation. It may appear that we are alone and separate, but that is just an illusion and that is what leads to suffering. To be acknowledged, to feel significant will not end this suffering. Only letting go of the illusion will end the suffering. Letting go of the illusion of needing when you are already complete. We desire things because we believe that we are not complete, we are not whole. Need/desire implies lack. But this is not true. We are perfect. And recognizing that, realizing that, experiencing that is what leads to true freedom and happiness.

    • David Samuel July 10, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

      Yes, you are correct, but like everyone who says this same thing, although it may be an ultimate truth, you miss the most important part, which is; HOW does one get to that realisation.
      Without acknowledging and working with those parts of our being and mind which create the feeling of separateness, we can never come to realise that we are in essence complete.
      We must consider, if you accept that God created us, that God created this mind with its illusion, and so maybe there is a reason that we have this feeling of separateness which can be used to some greater benefit.
      As well, we may in our deepest essence be complete, but as a human, we are not that perfection and we do live within the human condition, thus working within these limitations is the way to get beyond them.


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