You don’t want to suffer or experience pain. That premise feels very natural and is close to 100% accepted. It’s one of your collective unconscious agreements and arises from your nature to survive and thrive. As a youngster you were coddled when you were in pain. People said, “Oh, that’s too bad.” They showered you with sympathy. You received attention and love. Suffering and pain were considered the same thing; interchangeable. The dictionary actually defines suffering as feeling pain. That’s a great indicator that humanity has agreed that they are intrinsically intertwined and inseparable. But what’s the reality here? Pain and suffering are distinct experiences. Pain is a physical, mental or emotional experience. You get hit with a bat and it is physically painful. You fail a test or get divorced and it is mentally and emotionally painful. A loved one dies and there is emotional pain.
Suffering is a mental and emotional experience brought about by an internal, fear-based reaction to the pain. Suffering is the loss of peace, resonance, fulfillment, happiness and joy. Suffering is acquiring dissonance, inner turmoil and resistance. Pain and suffering are separate experiences but you and the world have agreed that every time there is pain you will suffer. You agreed that every time there is pain you will lose your peace and harmony. But that isn’t necessary or required and you can renegotiate that agreement. You do not have to agree to suffer. Suffering is a conditioned response, an agreement to react in a certain way to any type of pain.
When you come to understand what you do and how you were conditioned to react to your pain, you can change outcomes. Happiness is your natural state. Your awareness, your consciousness, your Self has the quality of joy, happiness, peace and fulfillment. Happiness, peace and fulfillment are aspects of Consciousness. You don’t have to do anything, have anything or become anything to be happy. You just have to allow it to be revealed. That means you don’t have to fix, change or mend yourself to be happy, peaceful and fulfilled. You only have to reveal it and end your habit and agreement to suffer.
You superimpose suffering over your innate happiness. You hide happiness with your unresolved fears and conditioned agreements. If you renegotiate your agreement to suffer you can be happy, naturally. Happiness is independent. It doesn’t depend on anything. But it can be covered up by your agreement to suffer.
For most, when you feel pain you suffer. It’s become your automatic reaction to pain. In reality, the pain isn’t optional but the suffering is optional. Take physical pain. It physically hurts and that’s the truth, the reality. But when you have pain your agreement sets in and you begin a domino of reactions. That initial reaction is fear, leading to separation and personalization. You then need to create a story that justifies your suffering. You start to believe your stories and they become your beliefs. Your beliefs become deeply engrained within you and they become your patterns and the way you react to life.
Your pain invokes fear that with the pain you will have to endure something unpleasant. It may get worse or you might die. People will reject you if you aren’t healthy. It will be an expensive illness. You can’t handle another thing going wrong. Pain causes love and ease to turn to fear and unease, and the fear creates a sense of separation. That separation is with your true Self and with the outside world. It is you against them. In that separation you personalize. The world is doing something negative to me. I am unworthy. Your ego dominates and you go into judgment, justification, attachment to a better outcome and aversion to the situation. Your agreement says pain is not good. Pain is punishment or bad karma or completely wrong and unjustified. The agreement declares pain has no value and is limiting. It has to be pushed away, dissolved, overcome and conquered. In your resistance and aversion you say internally, “I hate pain. I want it to go away. Poor me. I am a victim and someone else is responsible for my pain.” This becomes your story. Your story becomes your belief that you live in and then according to your beliefs, you live your life in a state of reactivity, anger, dissatisfaction and resentment.
So a physical pain becomes suffering. Pain becomes fear that causes separation, that becomes personalized, that becomes your story, which becomes your beliefs and reactive patterns.
It’s the same with a mental or emotion pain. Maybe you got divorced. You feel hurt and it feels painful. That is normal, true and a natural reaction. But then the suffering arises in the same way as with the physical pain. Your agreement says you must be suffering. It says everyone who divorces suffers. The fact is you are in pain because someone is leaving but the suffering is a whole different reality created by you and your agreement to suffer.
You get divorced. You have pain from someone leaving you. That’s all that happened; someone left and there is emotional pain. Then the suffering agreement is activated. You must suffer. Your fears arise. You say, “I might be penniless. I might be lonely. I might never again find love.” That fear brings separation. ‘Us’ turns into ‘them and me’ and you tack onto that, “ I am worthless”. Then you need to justify your fear and separation so you create a story. You say, “He was awful, crazy, unkind, unfair, abusive and worthless. I was used and taken advantage of.” You believe your story even when the year before you loved him so much you wanted to marry him. Then you believe your story and you re-cast reality. Then your belief creates patterns. You remarry and divorce again. You won’t trust men. You expect abuse and you suffer.
What actually happened was that a relationship ended. That’s all. Then you created suffering around it. The fear, the separation, the personalization, the story, the belief and the reactive patterns constitute your suffering.
Some of your agreements support your life, like following the law or being a good person. But your agreement to suffer puts you at war with life. Every time you agree to suffer, you are reactively and habitually putting yourself in resistance to life unfolding, as it is, for your expansion. You end up making decisions to be a victim, to wallow, to be melancholy, to see life as unfair. You push life away and insulate yourself in ego and separation, closing off possibilities. You go into your suffering agreement and your suffering becomes solidified. You go into fear, separation, personalization, story creation, false belief creation and negative reactive patterns. Love becomes dominated by fear. You live life in resistance, and attachment to outcomes and aversion dominates. In resistance all that you are meant to receive is blocked from reaching you. You become a victim. You might even like being the victim because of the love and attention you receive in your suffering and so suffering becomes your way of life and your story. Suffering is only one option. Peace is the other.
While it’s easy to say ‘be happy, don’t suffer and live in peace’, creating a new experience and a new, more mature understanding requires that you resolve your fear. You think being the victim is easier than resolution but that decision entails a lifetime of suffering. Resolution ends the suffering.
Pain came from all directions and throughout your life. You felt pain from sidewalks and bicycles and fear arose. You felt pain form parents and teachers, friends and enemies, lovers and business partners and fear arose. That pain was physical, mental and emotional and all forms of it induced fear. You were exposed to fear from so many people and circumstances and that fear concealed your essential nature of love and happiness. In the suffering agreement, fear destroys innocence, trust, freedom and the liberated state you felt as a child. The agreement to suffer exacts a huge cost. It limits you being able to be your Self, know your Self and express your Self.
Every time there was pain your fear increased and accumulated and in that fear you went into survival mode. In survival mode your ego dominated your experience, and life became personalized. You created stories that supported your basic goodness, worth and acceptability. You protected your ego. Those stories became your beliefs and those beliefs created patterns, mostly unconscious, rooted in fear and survival. With layer after layer of fear, separation, personalization, stories, beliefs and patterns concealing who you really were, you became something other than your true Self.
The love was covered over by fear and it became difficult to live in your essential love and happiness. Because you didn’t want to feel the pain and look at the fear, life became outwardly focused and you lived in false stories, beliefs and patterns. The world made agreements that seemed to make life bearable but always failed to deliver happiness and love. This particular suffering agreement has been your greatest limitation and the most difficult and detrimental pattern you can ever get caught in. You can renegotiate your agreement to suffer and you can resolve your suffering.