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On suffering


Why are we here, what is our purpose and what is our role with regards to the rest of the universe? Many philosophers have developed theories about the human condition, creating various forms of political movements, religions or social groupings, and every generation has dealt with these issues on a collective and personal basis. A search for an identity, a desperate need to be recognised, a need for coherence. It always seems that the answer is out there, that someone understands it better than we do, that we may be missing something and that we need to follow the trend at hand. But what if....

The premise in yoga (found in early yoga texts such as the Yoga Sutra, the Samkhya Karika, the Bhagavad Gita) is that the origin of all human existence is suffering. This understanding of suffering has led to a lot of confusion. Even though the idea prevailed overtime, the solution on how to liberate from this suffering has been lost and replaced by the idea of how to escape it, creating an increased sense of alienation, isolation and chaos in the world and us.

The moment we identify with our ego, the suffering begins. It brings on a basic human suffering and none of us are spared. This becomes the essence of our human condition. This suffering brings on great sadness that we try to escape. The sadness is simply the realization that we have “isolated” ourselves from the whole, that we have lost an important element of our “Self” to the “me”. We don’t always recognize this process. There is just this deep rooted sadness that we feel and we don’t really understand it. And because we don’t understand it, we spend our lives running away from it, minimizing it, trying to escape the doom it may bring.

When we can recognize this suffering, we can start observing many interesting phenomenon. For instance, we are given a name and brought up with an idea of what we need to become. We identify with what is expected of us. We project ourselves on what we think we would like to be, an image of what we believe would bring happiness. We are taught to think, analyze, explain all that is around us. We move away from our “self” starting the numbing process and this endless search for “happiness” begins. It’s in the small things; foods or possessions that make us feel better and fill the void we have created. Ultimately we build a world around our desires, which lead to the development of anger, and these two alone suffice to keep us bound to the numbing process. In this way we create the greatest injustice to ourselves and the world around us. </