The signs are everywhere. As human beings we seem to share a common neurosis: A root pain that questions our self-worth. The message is so prevalent that I started observing how a lack of value seemed to be at the foundation of virtually all suffering.
I define suffering as the mental and emotional dis-ease and discomfort we create due to an avoidance of an underlying – or root – pain. Suffering is the stress, fears, doubts, and general questioning of our abilities to effectively cope. Instead of facing a root pain, we let the monkey mind swing wildly through the trees as the forest becomes denser and denser. Emotions run rampant, defenses are activated, and suffering ensues.
Suffering becomes a blanket to pain. Similar to fear and anger, we can avoid the foundation of “why” we are angry, hurting, or fearful by getting caught up in emotions. In my experience, facing the pain – or the root of my anger or fear – is far less traumatizing than the drama of the suffering I create.
In an effort to cut out the middle man, go straight for the healing jugular, and, well frankly, make my life easier, I wondered: Why not seek the root pain FIRST? Maybe you’re like I used to be. I thought I had to process and seek understanding in order to find the root cause (naturally, I still have to do this sometimes, but not nearly as often). Then I learned: Instead of spending time and energy sorting through and processing the suffering I was creating, why not just cut to the chase and go straight to the root pain?
I initiated a new program. If I am feeling emotionally sensitive, I look for the pain that questions my value. I even got others in on the game. And, they like me, also found that at the root of their suffering was – at least in our current experiences – yep, a lack of self-worth. So far, we haven’t found an instance that proved us wrong.
Here it is, my tip for the quickest and easiest way to diminish suffering and promote healing: Assume that when you are upset, feeling doubtful, fearful, and hurt, that underneath is simply a lack of worth.
Of course, in order for this to be effective, we have to allow ourselves to honestly observe our feelings of inadequacy. And, there are times when fear and anger are legitimate warning signs to protect our safety. However, I am referring to suffering that is a byproduct of pain. Suffering that is calling out to get our attention so we can heal.
The four “easy” steps are:
Step 1: Acknowledge suffering and take ownership of your own suffering. We are the sole creators of our suffering, so we alone can ease it.
Step 2: Look for the underlying pain that the suffering is seeking to avoid.
Step 3: Observe the pain. Allow yourself to bear witness without judgment. Cut through the layers of thoughts and feelings by simply acknowledging that part of being human involves the experience of pain. There’s an excellent chance that the root pain is centered in questioning your value.
Step 4: Honor the healing process. The more we openly observe our pain, the less suffering is created. Reflex defenses will be less likely to be triggered. Peace will prevail. Well-being will ensue.
May you be free of suffering and the root cause of your suffering.