The Seven Steps Into Suffering

Pain: We all experience physical, mental and emotional pain. For example; illness, abuse, abandonment, the loss of a loved one, insufficiency. When we feel pain it hurts, making us feel unsafe. When we hurt, we move into an energy of resistance, not wanting to experience it. Pain cracks our foundation, shakes our stability. This hurt makes us feel vulnerable and insecure. Life feels precarious.

Fear:  Feeling hurt and unsafe, we pull away and this stokes a sense of difference, of ‘other’ and of distinction. In an atmosphere of differences, fear naturally arises. Pain triggers fear and activates our natural survival instinct. We become defensive and protective. We construct psychological safety walls. Some of us fight, some of us flee and some of us freeze. Fear is an unpleasant emotion arising from a perceived danger from another. Fear thrives in differences, promoting isolation and judgments. It is dissonant, so we tend to suppress and distract ourselves from our feelings. The pain has caused fear to replace love, hurt to replace well-being and distrust to replace certainty. The inner pain and fear start us on an outward search for anything that can ease our hurt, restore our stability and end our sense of unworthiness.

Separation:  To protect ourselves and survive, our ego creates a false, inauthentic self, a created identity, that we believe will fit in, be loved, be sufficient, be worthy, be safe and be pain free. The ego creates an acceptable image and then we live as that image. The true Self (which is absolute, bliss consciousness, universal awareness, and the witness of our thoughts) is forgotten and concealed by the egoic, created self. Living in this inauthentic self-image creates a sense of other, separation and distinction. Cut off from our true Self, living in our created self, we feel even more un-lovable and unworthy, the core of real suffering and the basis of human wounding. We live at the mercy of other’s approval and acceptance. With the joy of our true Self covered over, we live in the misperception that permanent happiness is available from circumstances, things and people, certain that the thing, circumstance or person outside will provide happiness inside. We believe love and approval will be bestowed upon us if we look and act a certain way and achieve a certain thing. We forget that all permanent happiness arises from within, from contact our authentic, true Self. The outwardly focused senses search for happiness in the outside world of pain and pleasure causing us to become lost in a world of self-grasping desire, which can turn to anger when desires are thwarted. In separation, our ego creates attachment to pleasure and aversion to pain, pushing away what seems painful and grasping at what seems pleasurable, all the time mistaking outer temporary pleasure for inner permanent happiness. We grasp at outcomes, attached to the fruits of action because we are conditioned to believe that the momentary pleasure of getting the thing, the acceptance, the outcome, the circumstance and the approval will make us happy.

Personalization:  Our endless desires, our grasping for pleasure and our attachment to outcomes are leading us into personalization, which becomes a life of ‘me’ and ‘mine’. It is a life filled with judgment, justification, struggle, and selfishness. We begin to personalize everything. Personalization makes our entire life all about ‘me’ and ‘my’ struggle. Personalization becomes our way life; attachment and aversion, judgment and justification. Personalization deepens and solidifies our suffering.

Stories:  We are living in pain, fear and separation, consumed with self-grasping attachments and aversions. We are resisting ‘what is’ which causes our mind to create fear based mental realities. Our mind is searching endlessly for some relief, some pleasure, some outcome, some sufficiency. It swims in an atmosphere of differences resulting in constant judgment. This creates a grasping mind producing endless thoughts. This creates a monkey mind filled with stories that support the ego through justification and judgment, always involved in an endless search outside for approval, love and permanent happiness.

Beliefs:  In this fear based, self-grasping mental environment, we form our beliefs around our attachments, aversions, selfishness, stances and egoic outlook. Our beliefs attract similar energy. We surround ourselves with people, places and situations with similar vibrations and similar beliefs, seeking approval with justification.

Patterns:  Within our understanding and outlook, we create habits. These form patterns, repeated actions and situations that become our life. Every experience we have is embedded within us as an energetic impression (samskara). Our beliefs and patterns are our strongest impressions. Each impression holds intelligence that we experience as a memory and power that we experience as a vibrational feeling. The accumulated impressions resonate as a whole, creating a general vibration and state of awareness that we function within. Functioning within a generally fearful vibration, we form patterns of reactivity we think will protect us. Our outlook, our understanding and our feelings reflect these past impressions of pain, fear and separation.

This is a progression from pain, to fear, to separation, to personalization, to stories, to beliefs, and to patterns, all of which are impressed within us in memory and feeling. This all creates an outlook, an understanding and an experience that we live in and this is experienced as suffering.

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This is a progression from pain, to fear, to separation, to personalization, to stories, to beliefs, and to patterns, all of which are impressed within us in memory and feeling. This all creates an outlook, an understanding and an experience that we live in and this is experienced as suffering.

The Seven Steps OUT of Suffering

Pain:  Physical pain and illness should be addressed medically, according to our best understanding and the choices we make for resolution. Physical pain becomes mental pain when physical pain is mentally resisted. Examples of this resistance are, “poor me”, “why me”, “not me”, “how could this have happened to me”, “what will happen to me”, “I hate this”. Physical illness is ‘what is’. We should address ‘what is’ and not add layers of mental and emotional resistance, not relive the past and not project an unknown future. They simply add to our suffering.

Mental and emotional pain tend to be resisted, ignored or suppressed because they also hurt and we don’t want to feel discomfort. Bringing light to the darkness disempowers the darkness. Bringing the light of awareness to the mental and emotional pain disempowers the impression by neutralizing the vibrational energy surrounding the painful experience. Awareness is our greatest power. Feeling the pain is holding pain in awareness in an optimal way; in non-judgment and neutrality. Feeling the pain means bathing the vibrational energy we are feeling in neutral awareness, in presence. It is not getting lost in reliving the memory. It is accepting what is, as it is, now. Non-judgment and accepting don’t mean that what happened was OK. Abuse is not OK. It means we accept what is – we accept that there is pain, in this moment, exactly as it is, in neutrality. Awareness and acceptance allow resistance to ease. When pain is held in awareness with acceptance, the memory will remain but the vibrational energy within that impression will begin to shift from feeling dissonant to feeling neutral.

Fear:  Fear, experienced consciously, can be held with understanding and the energy of fear can dissipate and be resolved. Fear that is unresolved, suppressed or distracted from, becomes a dissonant energy that survives in our unconscious energy field and creates separation. Understanding our fear is not about a deep psychoanalysis of the causes of our pain and fear. Resolution is not about others and what they did to us. What people do, think and say directly reflects their state of consciousness and either their joy or their suffering. Understanding means we understand what we have done as a result of the process of pain, fear, separation, personalization, stories, beliefs and patterns. Experiencing the fear does not mean we wallow in the emotions or recreate the fearful and painful experiences. Wallowing worsens the situation. It means we feel what is inside of us and hold our energy, emotions and thoughts in compassionate, neutral acceptance. When fear and resistance dominate, we are led into separation. When awareness and acceptance dominate, we are led into resolution and peace.

Separation:  Separation is resolved through experiencing the true Self that we have forgotten and covered over with a created self. Through the realization of the authentic Self, extreme love, sufficiency, intelligence and power arises. Resolution is not about loving or forgiving the other person. It is about knowing our Self. Only from that foundation can we love others, by realizing other as Self. We begin the mental shift from fear into self-love through extreme acceptance; accepting ‘what is’, accepting our pain, accepting our fear and realizing our Self as a unique manifestation of consciousness. Unresolved fear is suffering on a mental and emotional level but separation is the fundamental experience of suffering on the level of Self. We cannot love our Self unless we actually experience our true Self. Knowing our true Self arises mainly from meditation; going within. Meditation is a fundamental way to experience that we are consciousness and not our created self-image, our body or our thoughts. Meditation is also a powerful way to neutralize the fearful vibrations contained in the impressions within us that are the foundation of separation. When pain, fear and separation are resolved, the domino into personalization, stories, beliefs and patterns is no longer triggered. A free meditation course can be found at:

Learn To Meditate: Realizing Presence – Be At Peace (

PersonalizationA life that is all about ‘me’ and ‘mine’ becomes selfish. Recognizing that we are ‘personalizing’ happens first when we feel off. Bad feelings, negative reactions and unhealthy distractions are the call of our suffering. These are the indicators, the signposts that we have unresolved pain and fear within us and that we now have the opportunity to resolve them. Resolution starts by recognizing what is happening and seeing deeply. The cause is pain, fear and separation. The effect is self-grasping. When we feel off, we are feeling our unresolved pain and fear. When we are being triggered into a negative reaction we are grasping for relief. This grasping takes the form of endless desires attached to outcomes. With understanding, a shift is possible from ‘me’ to ‘other’, from attachment to outcomes to acceptance, from resistance to allowing, from selfishness to compassion.

Stories:  The monkey mind is all about the stories we are perpetually creating. The stories are mainly the judgments, justifications and desires with attachments to outcomes caused by our misperceptions and suffering. Positive stories and negative stories are both unnecessary and cause a monkey mind. Realization lies in stillness. But it isn’t easy to just stop the thoughts, so we replace them with mantra repetition; we substitute. Whenever the mind is not required to be focused, we repeat our mantra. If we don’t have a mantra, try So Ham (pronounced So Hum). We redirect energy and intelligence to a word that holds the highest vibration. This substitution allows the mind to vibrate on a high level, calm down and be peaceful. We re-train the mind to be still; being instead of doing.

Beliefs:  Beliefs are opinions, conditionings, traditions and standpoints. Some are cultural and some familial. It’s not that we have to dis-believe our beliefs but we can recognize their limitations and origins. It’s beneficial to move from seeing beliefs as rigid truths to seeing them as our current, evolving viewpoint. When we lessen rigidity around beliefs, we open to ease, inclusion and non-judgment. It is helpful to examine our beliefs and see if they hold kindness or judgment, compassion or selfishness, resistance or acceptance. Insight (seeing deeply) and contemplation can create shifts in understanding that open us to a broader acceptance of ourselves and others, as we are and as we are becoming. 

PatternsResolution begins by expanding awareness of what’s inside of us and holding what’s inside in neutral acceptance and immense love. Resolution is about going inside, seeing deeply and holding what is there in neutral, compassionate awareness. When a dissonant, reactive, habitual pattern is turned toward, seen deeply and held in awareness with acceptance, it loses its power. Examining our life enables us to bring our patterns to light. It’s easier with patterns because we have often repeated the same thing, hoping for different outcomes. When we go within and see deeply, when we bring awareness and acceptance into the forefront of our lives, when we dissolve self-grasping and realize our true Self, we can finally resolve the unresolved energy of pain, fear and separation that creates our suffering.

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