Thought divides knowing into a knower and the known, loving into a lover and the beloved, and perceiving into a perceiver and the perceived. As such, it is thought alone that abstracts a subject and an object from the seamless, unnamable intimacy of pure Knowing or Experiencing.

The Connection Between 'Me' And Suffering

I am intrigued by this topic about the connection between suffering and the belief in a "me", and whether in the absence of belief in "me", suffering perhaps recedes.

Hi Rupert,
 
I am new here and this is my first post.
 
I am intrigued by this topic about the connection between suffering and the belief in a “me”, and whether in the absence of belief in “me”, suffering perhaps recedes. There being an implicit assumption here that suffering is somehow bad or undesirable or needs to be reduced for the good of the world and everyone (all the me’s) in it.
 
Is it not the case that suffering is only “bad” for the “me” that happens to be the cause of most of it and also the one who believes it suffers? Since Awareness itself makes no such qualitative judgement of suffering either way - whatever might be arising as suffering, it just is.
 
This is something that I find a little troublesome about much of modern
spiritual talk with all the soft touchy-feely terms, such as “grace” and “love” and “peace” etc. This all seems to rest on the same implicit assumption that we should indeed all be “walking around with a smile on our face all the time” in perfect peace and harmony with lots of hugs and kisses and that
suffering must be removed and is bad. Is this really the case?
 
From the perspective of Awareness, within which and as which, all forms of
suffering arise, is there any such scale of goodness? Is Awareness not totally neutral to whatever form It takes - suffering or not?
 
As you say: “Everything that appears in nature is natural. Nuclear war, a
daffodil, pollution, a new born child, the ego, Ramana Maharshi… everything….. ” Awareness is present in and as all these things - the birth of a child, the  beheading of a hostage, the first kiss, at the moment of drowning in a flood, a lion chewing into the guts of a live antelope.
 
Whether it is suffering or joy, isn’t that just raw reality, as it is, not good, not bad, just AS IT IS?
 
From what perspective do all of these have to be met with acceptance, in peace and love with a smile on your face? Isn’t that just more pseudo Advaita?

Thanks

Ian


Dear Ian,

I have written at length on this subject in my last email to Claudia, so can I suggest that you read that first and come back to me then, if necessary. This will spare me (and all of you!) more repetition.

A couple of comments however:

Ian: I am intrigued by this topic about the connection between suffering and the belief in a “me”, and whether in the absence of belief in “me”, suffering perhaps recedes. There being an implicit assumption here that suffering is somehow bad or undesirable or needs to be reduced for the good of the world and everyone (all the me’s) in it.

Rupert: There is no such implicit assumption in what is being said here.

However, to address your points:

Psychological suffering and ‘me’ are two sides of the same coin - they come and go together. I am suggesting that this is a fact of experience, but there is no judgement of that fact.

There is no suggestion here that suffering is bad or that it needs to be got rid of. Suffering is ultimately an illusion (because it is based on an illusory entity). How can an illusion be bad or be got rid of?

However, an illusion cannot stand being clearly looked at.

Suffering is by definition undesirable. If it was not undesirable it would not be suffering. If suffering was desirable we would be happy when we receive it, as we are when we receive all other objects of desire.

Ian: This is something that I find a little troublesome about much of modern spiritual talk with all the soft touchy-feely terms, such as “grace” and “love” and “peace” etc. This all seems to rest on the same implicit assumption that we should indeed all be “walking around with a smile on our face all the time” in perfect peace and harmony with lots of hugs and kisses and that suffering must be removed and is bad. Is this really the case?

Rupert: I cannot speak for modern spiritual talk in general but it seems, that being new to this forum you may not be familiar with this approach. If you familiaarise yourself with some of our previous conversation or with the understanding outlined in the Transparency of Things I think you will realise that your generalisation is not applicable in this case.

Ian: From what perspective do all of these have to be met with acceptance, in peace and love with a smile on your face?

Rupert: I’ve no idea -  you will have to ask those who recommend such an approach. But please don’t mistake what is being said here with these other approaches and then ask me to justify them. I can’t!

With love,

Rupert