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Suffering Our Way Out of Suffering

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Q: I enjoyed talking with you on the phone, it was really nice to check in. I’d like to share something that happened after our conversation. I noticed that the sweet feeling of being in love with my life here, that I had after finding out my friend tested negative for the new virus, is turning into waiting for the next shoe to drop.

It has to do with the emphasis that some teachings place on suffering as our motivator and guide towards awakening. I have a pretty harsh superego which adds to this emphasis. So that I sometimes feel like I can’t relax and enjoy my life. I “should” be efforting towards enlightenment and being Present at all costs! I should be exercising my self control. And if I don’t, life will serve me up some suffering to get me motivated. Then I start to wonder what it will do to me next to teach me whatever I am supposed to learn. It actually creates more fear than trust in Life. And my superego gets in the mix with motivating me by scaring me into thinking I have to create this self control 24/7.

A: First, I would suggest that suffering is created by our mind, not by life. It still is painful, but the pain comes from what our mind is telling us. Life is not sending us problems to teach us, but the suffering we create with our mind is meant to show us that our mind created problems are not real or true. i wrote some more about this in these articles on my website:
https://endless-satsang.com/the-real-cause-of-suffering.htm
https://endless-satsang.com/gap.htm
https://endless-satsang.com/suffering-is-a-patient-teacher.htm

So our fears, desires, doubts and worries generate suffering to show us that the fears, desires, doubt and worries are not very real or true. Again, life does not bring difficulties into our experience to teach us, but when difficult experiences arise, they are an especially good opportunity to discover that suffering does not come from our experiences. And when we do not resist or deny our experience, then any suffering that was present even in a very difficult experience goes away.

This is an incredibly subtle phenomenon, and so it takes a lot of careful inquiry to see the true nature of suffering, especially when there is a more profound or intense experience of physical or emotional pain. The difference when there is a lot of sensation or emotion is that it is much easier to also suffer. It is harder to suffer when things are pretty calm and easy, but it is still possible to suffer and to suffer a lot when life is actually pretty good.

Because it is possible to suffer over almost anything, it is also possible to suffer over suffering itself! Worrying that you might suffer is in essence suffering over the future possibility of suffering. It is sort of like premature suffering! When it is pointed out like this, it can appear kind of foolish. But when it is our own mind (and especially our own superego) that is generating these worries, they are very convincing. I have compared the thoughts in our mind to an IMAX movie: https://endless-satsang.com/the-imax-movie-in-your-head.htm

The good news is that we do have something else besides our mind that is able to discriminate how true or not very true our fears and worries are. Our heart shows us how not very true they are by contracting, whereas to the mind they appear very big and important. The contraction in our being is showing us how big and important they really are. If you feel very contracted when you are worried or fearful, that is the right way to feel. The smaller and more contracted you feel, the smaller the truth or reality of what you are thinking/feeling.

The kicker in all of this is that we were taught to respond to contraction/suffering with more contraction/suffering. We try to contract our way out of contraction, or suffer our way out of suffering! It is not our fault as we were taught to do this by all of the people around us who were doing it. And since contraction of our awareness expands our unawareness, it actually does work in a strange way to reduce our awareness of the initial pain or suffering. Unfortunately, it does this by creating some new pain and suffering!

As always, the way out is the way in. If we can just stop and experience the fear, doubt, worry, desire, contraction and suffering just as it is, that can stop the cycle of further contraction/suffering in response to the initial contraction/suffering. It turns out that contraction is just a particular sensation in our being and that it does not harm us in any way. You can go even further and trust your own contractions. They are always showing you exactly how true your fears and worries really are. It can be a surprising discovery to just go ahead and trust your being's response to suffering. That is how it teaches you, by showing you viscerally how untrue your fears really are. When you accept the feeling of suffering/contraction it is no longer experienced as suffering or contraction. Seeing that something is not very true is itself an experience of a bigger truth, and when we shift into a bigger truth, our heart/being opens and expands. And of course, you can also trust your being when it softens and expands, as it is correctly showing you that something is more true.

Again, this is surprising to discover that instead of fearing your suffering, you can learn to trust it (and also trust the absence of suffering when that is happening). It is meant to show you here and now how true something is, and it turns out that suffering, fear, doubt, worry and desire are almost never very true. Trusting in this way is like a new habit you need to learn. And we learn it by going ahead and trusting even when we are contracted. Every time you do this, it creates more momentum to the trusting response that embraces what we call suffering or pain, and discovers that they are actually very compassionate teachers. And even better, to discover that there is no pain or suffering when we trust and meet our pain and suffering fully.

I hope this helps.

PS: A good clue that something is not very true is when it is any kind of "should", even very spiritually motivated shoulds. The super-ego loves "shoulds" because they are so effective at scaring and contracting us. They just are not very true. 

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Sample a Mentoring Session with Nirmala for Just $80 (Reg. $120)

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For a limited time, I am offering nondual spiritual mentoring sessions for a suggested donation of just $80 for the first session (normal donation is $120). If you have been considering trying one of these phone or zoom/skype sessions, this is a good time. You can learn more about the spiritual mentoring I offer here: http://endless-satsang.com/spiritual-guidance-mentoring.htm

Here is a testimonial: In my spiritual mentoring sessions with Nirmala, I have found all the qualities one might expect from a deep contact with truth: honesty, humility, unending patience and precision in dealing with all manner of life's questions and challenges. Having heard many of the best examples from the plethora of contemporary Advaita and Nondual teachers emerging over the last twenty years, I can only say that few have illuminated the rich and complex intersection of spirituality and psychology as well as Nirmala. I have been thoroughly enriched by my association with him. His balance of heart and wisdom creates a nurturing container for waking up." - Jeff Wolcott

 

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Sept. 19-20: Weekend Online Intensive of Christ Consciousness Transmissions

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Due to the continuing challenging circumstances, if you are unable to donate the suggested amount, you are welcome to pay any amount that is affordable for you or to attend for free. Here is the Zoom link to use for all six sessions of the intensive:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/7863350099?pwd=SVVPdkdhYnhmMytRM29tMHhtaUd0dz09

 *Note: If you will be joining us by telephone, follow the directions on this page.

Immerse yourself in an entire weekend of Christ Consciousness Transmissions: September 19-20, 2020

AscendedMastersExperience a full weekend of Christ Consciousness Transmissions (CCTs) on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19-20, 2020. We will offer three CCTs on Saturday at 2:00 pm, 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm Pacific Daylight Time, and also three CCTs on Sunday at 9:00 am, 11:00 am and 1:00 pm Pacific Daylight Time. Most Sessions will last about an hour, except that the first session on Saturday at 2:00 pm will be two hours long and will include an open discussion period where you can ask questions about or share your experiences with the CCTs. This intensive will be an opportunity to set aside two days for immersion in the energy of the transmissions. You can attend all or just some of the sessions if you can't make it to all six.

You do not need to sign up ahead for this intensive. If you do choose to donate, the full cost is $90 for all 6 transmissions (or $15 per session if you can only attend some of them), or you can donate whatever is affordable for you as a partial scholarship, or attend for free as a full scholarship. Here is a button to donate on Paypal (or use this alternative payment service--you can also mail a check to Endless Satsang Foundation, PO Box 20433, Sedona, AZ 86341):

The sessions will be at the following times:

Saturday, September 19th: Session 1 (two hours): 2:00 pm Pacific time (5:00 pm Eastern, 10:00 pm UK, 11:00 pm Central European, 6:00 am on Sunday in Tokyo, and 7:00 am on Sunday in Sydney) This longer two hour session will include the open discussion and a transmission.
     Session 2: 5:00 pm Pacific time (8:00 pm Eastern, 1:00 am UK, 2:00 am on Sunday in Central European, 9:00 am on Sunday in Tokyo, 10:00 am on  Sunday in Sydney) Note that this is also our regular weekly Saturday session time.
     Session 3: 7:00 pm Pacific time (10:00 pm Eastern, 3:00 am on Sunday in the UK, 4:00 am Central European, 11:00 am on Sunday in Tokyo, 12:00 noon on Sunday in Sydney

Sunday, September 20th: Session 1: 9:00 am Pacific time (12:00 noon Eastern, 5:00 pm UK, 6:00 pm Central European, 1:00 am on Monday in Tokyo, and 2:00 am on Monday in Sydney)
     Session 2: 11:00 am Pacific time (2:00 pm Eastern, 7:00 pm UK, 8:00 pm Central European, 3:00 am on Monday in Tokyo,4:00 am on Monday in Sydney) Note that this is also our regular weekly Sunday session time.
     Session 3: 1:00 pm Pacific time (4:00 pm Eastern, 9:00 pm UK, 10:00 pm Central European, 5:00 am on Monday in Tokyo,6:00 am on Monday in Sydney)

Here are widgets that shows the starting times for the first session on both Saturday and Sunday in your computer's time zone:

< Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com

 

 

Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com

 

 

If you are not familiar with the transmissions, frequently asked questions about the CCTs are here.

 

38cropThe gatherings in this intensive of CCTs will follow the same format as our regular weekly gatherings and each meeting will last about one hour (except for the two hour first session on Saturday, which will include a time for discussion and questions). 

You can extend each session by remaining in silent meditation for a while after the transmission ends, as this can increase the effect of the transmission. We also recommend that if possible you remain in silence for the entire day and limit or avoid spending time on television and the internet. This can also help deepen the effect of the immersion in the energy of the transmissions. Taking a walk outdoors or doing some stretching/yoga between sessions is also ideal as we will be sitting a fair amount.

We hope you can join us for this special event. If you have any questions, use the contact form here to get in touch with us.

Warmly, Gina and Nirmala