The cause of suffering is simple, but not as simple to combat. It lies within the natural tendencies of our minds.
So what is it? Thinking without knowing that you’re thinking, a.k.a. being lost in thought.
Thoughts are at the root of our suffering. Our thoughts determine our emotions, well-being, and awareness. But lets clarify, thoughts themselves are not the problem, but thinking without knowing that we’re thinking is.
The following are real life examples picturing how being lost in thought causes suffering:
- Say you got in a fight with a spouse or family member. You could either thinking continuously about what you should’ve said and … without recognizing that you’re lost in thought, thus manufacturing states of unhappiness and regret. Or you could recognize the thoughts as impermanent and bring your awareness back to the present moment, therefore avoiding unnecessary emotions that cause suffering.
- Another way thoughts cause suffering is as follows. An itch arises on your arm You think “this is annoying, I hate bugs” , thus creating suffering by putting a label on the sensation. Another option is to become aware of it without judging it as good or bad and just experiencing it. Therefore, putting an end to suffering.
A concept that I talk about in my new ebook, Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners (coming soon), is that the natural state of emotions is impermanence. If you don’t fuel the fire by becoming lost in thought, then emotions will naturally subside along with the suffering that comes with them.
We can stop the majority of our suffering by recognizing thoughts as they arise without getting distracted by them. How exactly do I accomplish that? You might ask.
The practice of breaking free of continuous thinking and allowing ourselves to live fully now. One of the main goals of meditation is to silent our thoughts, because once thoughts subside, our awareness of the present moment grows along with an ability to live free of negative emotions.
It allows us to become non-judgmentally aware of reality and this ultimately stops suffering.