Hello! Seiiti Arata. Take a moment and think: where does suffering come from?
Before you answer, don’t confuse suffering with pain. Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. Suffering is the unpleasant feeling when you remain affected by something for longer than necessary.
Think about a recent situation in which you have suffered a lot. What is the explanation for the suffering?
You suffer when you don’t accept reality.
That is why popular wisdom says that acceptance is key to reducing suffering. There is a lot of wisdom in choosing to accept reality. That’s right. Accepting reality is a choice. You can choose to accept reality or you can choose to deny reality. If you want to increase your happiness levels, the best thing to do is to choose to accept things as they are.
In addition to accepting reality, there is another choice that is equally positive for your happiness: silencing the ego. Silence that internal voice that makes judgments, evaluations and criticisms of others and ourselves. Just observe.
Unfortunately, many people live on autopilot and don’t realize they are judging. So, congratulations for being here increasing your degree of awareness about your choices.
And there is something even worse than not being aware of being on autopilot. It is having a misinterpretation of what it means to accept reality. It is confusing acceptance with resignation. Confusing observation with submission. Confusing peace with conformism.
They are completely different concepts and that is what we are going to talk about now, because this topic is of enormous importance.
To act assertively without suffering, you must first accept reality.
We are living in a time of extreme opinions. Everywhere people are polarizing in debates on the most different subjects.
Due to lack of awareness, people who were initially interacting exchanging points of view suddenly find themselves increasingly distant, more separated, more alienated, even with hatred, pity or disgust at each other for thinking differently… and this obviously causes a lot of suffering.
You don’t have to be submissive and you don’t have to agree with the opinion of others. You can be assertive and communicate your own opinion, without having to get into heated discussions that cause harm to all sides. Assertive communication helps you maintain your composure, your dignity, and being honest with yourself.
And for that to happen, you need to accept a simple fact. And the simple fact is this: different people think differently.
This is a simple fact, but today we live under a collective illusion of thinking that “I am right and others are wrong”. This belief that only you are right and that others who think differently are wrong is the cause of your suffering, as you are refusing to accept reality.
And the reality is that there will never be a time when everyone will think exactly like you.
I repeat: there will never be a time when everyone will think exactly like you.
Learn to deal with it. Learn to deal with reality. Grow up. Learn to silence your huge ego that wants everyone to have preferences like yours, because that will NEVER happen.
Knowing how to observe reality is a way of learning to live with others, of learning to deal with reality.
And in addition to learning to live with others, you also need to learn to live with yourself.
And this is not easy because we as human beings have dreams, desires and aspirations for something better.
The distance between what is and what could be is part of the very definition of what represents “something better”. Something better is the comparison of what I have in my hands with what is one step away. The “something better” is the mirage of water in the middle of the desert. When you approach, the mirage also moves away.
Therefore, by definition my aspirations will always be greater than my achievements.
To stop suffering, start observing yourself without judging.
Your mental conversation makes it quite clear how aspirations are greater than achievements:
– Why am I so lazy? – I should start putting my projects into practice. – This year I will learn new languages. – I hate it when I eat pastries and look at my swollen belly in the mirror. – I need more money to be happy.
In all of these cases, my aspirations, my dreams, are greater than my achievements. I wish I had more. I would like to be more. I would like to experience more, to live more. All of this is normal. It is the lust for life. It’s the sparkle in your eyes. It is a desire to improve, to get better.
However, judgment happens when your ego begins to evaluate what you have observed. When you realize that you have accomplished less than you dreamed, you risk suffering when you judge yourself.
When you classify reality as being in the wrong, unfair, shameful situation, you create an unnecessary layer of suffering for not having the reality you would like to have. That is to impose conditions on happiness.
Conditioning happiness means making up conditions without which I am not allowed to be happy.
It is a mistake to put any conditions to be happy. Positive psychology teaches us that it makes no sense to condition happiness to the fulfillment of a dream of social, professional, physical, loving, economic or family improvement. In a short time, adaptation takes place and we get used to all these achievements and then we will wish for something new.
You can be happy now, regardless of the conditions that your ego is imposing.
Unfortunately, it seems that being happy just for being happy, without any conditions, causes a lot of strange reactions around us. If you show a real smile and a friend asks you what happened, and you say that nothing happened, your friend may think you are hiding the real reason. Or that you’re crazy. This is the society we live in, always thinking that something must happen to be able to feel happiness.
To condition happiness is to believe that certain things must happen. However, as long as your basic needs are met, you don’t need any external elements to be happy.
Free your mind from the fear that reality is not how you want it to be.
Mental freedom can be triggered now. The free mind is one that does not depend on conditions, judgments, beliefs or automatic thoughts from your ego.
The internal voice can become a prison that limits us in emotional states of fear.
A free mind is not afraid to live. Mental freedom is accepting that life has everything, accepting that reality also has unwanted sides.
The reality also includes people who have preferences different from ours. The reality includes us doing less than we dream. Reality also brings unwanted events, but they are also part of life.
With a free mind, you don’t have to escape from reality and you don’t have to stop unwanted things from happening. With a free mind, you understand that all of these things can and will likely happen.
This greater acceptance is based on simply observing and it brings tremendous peace of mind. And in no way does it mean resignation, conformism or submission.
You can obviously do everything in your power to make your dreams come true and seek to avoid what is unwanted. But when something undesirable happens and you realize that there is no remedy, you observe, accept and move on.
I’m here just to observe. I pay attention to realize my ego is starting monologues of suffering in my head. When I have a hard time dealing with reality, I could believe that people who don’t think like me should be canceled. I either feel angry at myself for not being the person I would like to be, or for not having what I would like to have.
This suffering causes stress and reduces my performance, causing procrastination, lack of creativity, difficulty in communication. The good news is that you can now make a choice that will increase your levels of happiness and peace so that you can free your mind.
Within the Happiness course, which you can visit here, I share with you practices easy to perform that will increase the mental balance you need to free yourself from fear. I look forward to being with you so we can together train your ability to have greater awareness, full presence and happiness.