Powerlessness is the cause of nearly all human suffering. But there must be a cause for this sense of powerlessness within the human race because powerlessness, is an emotion which is the reflection of a thought pattern. So what thought pattern is the real cause of all this powerlessness? Is it the thought “I don’t create my own reality”? The truth is, while this thought causes immense suffering, it is not the real core of the problem. The thought “I don’t create my own reality” would not cause suffering if we believed that whoever does create our reality, loved us and therefore would not make us suffer. The thought pattern that causes all this powerlessness is: "Pain is good for me". And this is a belief that nearly every human being on earth believes. Allow me to explain. Way back when, (too far to even trace back through history) a being forgot that the mind is what created reality. The physical dimension became too real; much more real than the mind. As a result, they could not understand why unwanted things were happening to them. Instead of feeling like a victim to their own mind, they felt like a victim (or like prey) to the external reflection of the mind; lets call this a physically manifested predator. The being felt powerless to their own reality, and began to think that whoever was in charge of their reality, was causing them to suffer. They began to think that the only way to ensure their own safety and happiness was to manipulate the external world so that they could be happy when they looked at the external world. For example, If I dig a physical hole deep enough, I will be safe or If I kill the predator I will be happy. This idea bred it’s way through species after species like an infectious disease, until most species on earth shared the belief that they didn’t have control over their realities, and the only control they do have is to take physical action to change the outside world. This belief became part of what it meant to be incarnated on planet earth. Since the beginning of time, humans have been trying to get other people to behave in a way that makes they, themselves feel good. Since the beginning of time, we have told the story that it is not ok to be selfish. Why? Because if we think we don’t create our own reality, it begins to really matter what other people do and don’t do. If they are acting in their own best interest instead of in our best interest, we have no control over feeling good or bad. And so we formed governments and religions to try to keep each other behaving in a way that would make each other feel better. Our happiness was dependent on other people. We glorified the idea of selflessness. But being selfless while being incarnated in an individual identity is impossible. So we began to lie to ourselves and to each other that it is possible to be selfless and that we are being selfless, even though it is in fact impossible. Fast-forward millions of years into the future until we arrive at your parents. When you were growing up, your parents (like everyone else) felt powerless to their own realities. They could not live with themselves if they thought of themselves as “selfish”. So they couldn’t admit that the reason they were doing things “for” you and wanted you to behave in certain ways was for them, not for you. They found a way to preserve their own self-concept. And the way was through feeding themselves as well as you with this belief: “It’s for your own good”. It’s for your own good, is a concept to cover all manner of evils. We are fed this lie from day one. Even those of us who grow up in the most loving households and fed this belief. We shoot our children up with painful vaccines and tell them it is for their own good. We make them sit through hours of lessons in the prison we call school and tell them it’s for their own good. We discipline them in ways that are painful to their minds and bodies and tell them that it is for their own good. We tell them that their desires are inappropriate and that they need to choose other desires and we tell them that it is for their own good. We cannot ever know what is best for someone else; it is impossible to know what is good for someone else. It is only possible to know what feels best for ourselves. And so, we are doing all of these things that we think we’re doing for the good of our children not for them, but for us. We think doing those things to them will make us feel better. But here in lies the problem. As children, we begin to believe that maybe our parents are right. Maybe it is for our own good. We think “they must know more about the world than I do, they are bigger than me and stronger than me and I am dependent on them for my survival”. We come to believe that something that causes us pain is for our own good and so we begin to believe that pleasure is bad for us and that pain is good for us. And this is the number one problem within the human race. We see pain as good. Our parents keep saying “I love you; I’m doing this for your own good” as they cause us pain so we start to believe that love is pain. We start to think that we can’t trust ourselves, that our internal, emotional guidance system is leading us astray; after all It’s telling us we feel joy when we are doing something mom says is bad for us and it’s telling us we feel pain when we are doing something mom is good for us. Eventually, we think something has gone wrong if we are experiencing ease or pleasure. We distrust our desires. We let go of the idea that happiness is important.
Philanthropy in the sense of selflessness is impossible. You cannot do something for someone else in this reality. You are locked into your own individual perspective, which was the entire point of coming into the one perspective of this one physical life on planet earth. We can show love or kindness to someone else, but when we trace the root back all the way, we find that the reason we want to show other people love and kindness or see them happy, is because it makes us feel happy to see them happy. If a mother takes a child to the doctor’s office deliberately to solicit the doctor to shoot her child up with vaccines, she does not do it for the child. She does it because it would make her feel bad to see her child dying of a disease. She thinks that injecting the child with vaccines will prevent her from experiencing that pain. In truth, she can not know how the child would or wouldn’t feel if they were to catch a disease, she can only know how it would make her feel to watch them be sick or how she would feel if she were sick. That is what she’s trying to avoid. We never really do anything for other people. We only ever do things because it makes us feel better to do them. This is perfect. It is perfect that we are all selfishly oriented beings because identification with our own joy, is what is causing our expansion and the expansion of the universe. The universe would not have it any other way. But if we are to lead happy lives here as members of the human race, we need to admit to the fact that we are only ever doing things for our own benefit. What’s more than that, we need to admit to the fact that everyone else is only doing things for their own benefit also. Because of this, we are the only ones who can have our best interests at heart. No one else can have our best interests at heart. The minute we believe that pain is love, that pain makes us good, and that therefore pain is good for us, we can’t let go of pain because we think it serves us. We become dedicated to perpetuating it and defending it within ourselves. We are convinced that if we let go of pain and go in the direction of pleasure, we will be a menace to society, we will be bad, we will be forsaken, and we will be unlovable. The belief that pain is good is compounded by our punishment reward mentality. The child is often rewarded for conforming to our idea of happiness, especially if it causes him or her pain to do so. The child is rewarded for undergoing pain. Think about it this way, If I want my child to do something they don’t want to do, something that will make them unhappy to do (which is to ask them to go against their own internal guidance system) because it would make me feel better for them to do it, I reward them with a lolly pop or something else. So they come to associate going against their own internal guidance system, going against their own emotions, and experiencing pain and struggle with reward. If we were rewarded for pain as children, we will grow up believing that we only deserve the reward if we suffer first. Because of this, we are a world full of self-abusers who can only justify being nice to ourselves if we’ve punished ourselves first. You’ve heard the expression “save for a rainy day”, well the problem is that we think we need the rainy day to justify letting ourselves have whatever we’ve been saving. We think saving is healthy, when a lot of the time we use it as a form of self-punishment; self-punishment in the form of self-deprival. We have created religions to mirror the belief that pain is good for us. Think of the story of Jesus. Most of the world religions teach you that life is supposed to be about struggle and being tested. They tell you that if you pass those tests by struggling and bearing the pain, you’ll be rewarded after death with heaven, Olam Ha-Ba, Baikuntha, Jannah or with enlightenment. Our human society glorifies those who have been the most out of alignment. It glorifies those who suffer. Watch the Olympics sometime; we glorify tragedy to triumph because we believe a person only deserves triumph if they have experienced tragedy. We suffer through grueling college courses for the degree. We suffer through careers we can’t stand for the reward of money and promotion. All the rewards, gold medals and memorials are awarded to and erected for those that have struggled the most.
You can tell a lot about culture, based on language, so take a look at all these common sayings:
- No pain no gain
- Good comes to those who wait
- God hates a quitter
- Save for a rainy day
- Enlightenment comes from suffering
- You can only taste of the fruit of your labors
- A man will eat by the sweat of his brow
- Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do, its just part of living
- Pain makes you stronger
- God never said it would be easy, but he did say it would be worth it
- Life is not supposed to be easy
- Nothing that’s worth having, comes easy.
It’s time to stop the cycle. Close your eyes and visualize watching yourself for a week in your life. Look at what causes you pain. Look for the ways you are married to that pain. How do you perpetuate that pain? How are you committed to that pain? What are you doing that causes you pain, but that you continue to do because you think that there will be a reward for that struggle eventually? What pain are you subjecting yourself to because you think it makes you good or lovable or because it gets you approval from others? How are you holding onto that pain and defending it because you think it makes you good? What desire are you going against because you fear that allowing it will hurt other people or make you a bad person?What ar e you telling your children or your friends? Are you teaching them that they need to ignore their own joy or desires for their own good when it’s really because you think you’ll be happier if they do or don’t do something?
Here are some more questions you can ask yourself to help identify how you are perpetuating your own pain. Are you part of a religion you don’t enjoy just because you want to get to heaven? Are you self-sacrificing for your children, spouse, friends or co-workers? Are you giving up something you want to do under the guise that you are giving it up for someone else? Do you self abuse by saving for a rainy day? Do you punish yourself so you can justify allowing yourself to do or have something you want? Do you work at a job you hate for the reward of money? Do you try to live a self less life so you can deserve love or deserve to have what you want? Are you sticking with a relationship that is painful because you believe that it makes you a good person to do it, or because you are confusing your choice to stay with them (even though they treat you badly) with loving them? Do you make yourself unhappy by worrying about things that haven’t even happened because you think that worrying about them will somehow enable you to avoid them or because you think the universe wont blindside you with something you already saw coming (let’s call this keeping myself unhappy in order to try to outsmart the universe or god). Do you not do things that you know make you feel better because there are more important things to do (such as make breakfast for everyone even though you are happier when you start your morning with yoga)?. Do you deny yourself your needs because you think your needs are an imposition on others? Are you not allowing yourself to do something you’ve always wanted to try because it isn’t practical or conceivable that you could turn that thing into a profession? Do you continue to spend time with people who make you feel bad about yourself? Do you resist other people comforting you, showing you affection or complimenting you? Do you use guilt to keep yourself good? Do you lie to yourself that you enjoy something you really don’t enjoy because you think you should enjoy it? Do you keep commitments no matter how much pain keeping them causes you? Do you say yes to things you want to say no to? Do you have an addiction to painful self-improvement exercises because you think the only way to deserve love or get love is to improve? Do you keep and defend beliefs that cause you pain just because you think they are true? Do you have to be doing something productive, because you think that doing something just because it’s fun is not a good enough reason to do something? Do you live your life according to what you have to do not what you want to do?
There are a great many more ways that we remain married to pain and continue to propagate pain in our lives due to the misconception that pain is good for us. Simply observe your life from third person perspective and when you find something that causes you pain, look to see how you are perpetuating that pain. When you find out how you are perpetuating and causing that pain, decide what you could do differently. What would allow you to go in the direction of joy in those scenarios? Choose three of the scenarios where you chronically perpetuate pain, but where it was obvious what you could do differently and this week, commit to doing those things instead. If during the week, pain arises in the moment, stop and ask yourself “how am I causing this pain to myself? What is my part in perpetuating this pain?” when you get the answer, commit to doing something different. We will only solve this problem within the human race if we solve it within ourselves. We can only solve it within ourselves if we are willing to recognize it and allow ourselves in our own individual lives to prioritize joy above all else, and go in the direction of joy. We will only solve this problem if we give permission to others to do the same. We really are a precious species. We hold onto and defend our pain at all costs because we think our pain makes us good and we want so badly to be good so that we can be loved. But pain and suffering is not love; it the opposite of love. And pain and suffering does not make us good. In fact at the heart of every serial killer, child abuser, rapist, gang member, criminal, mass murderer and war monger is pain and suffering.
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