What is it that causes human suffering and how is it possible to get rid of it?
I will try to answer these two questions by dividing the answers into two articles. Here is the first one.
There are two basic principles of life whose violation inevitably leads to suffering.
One of these principles of suffering is known as impermanence.
What does this mean? That everything has an expiration date. Everything that can be controlled with the mind is transitory, everything we know has a beginning and an end. And there are plenty of examples: our body, the objects that surround us, the same Universe.
“The world is full of suffering. The root of suffering is attachment to things. Happiness consists precisely in dropping the attachment to everything that surrounds us.”
But this principle also includes an important clause: Everything that moves, everything that is subject to changes has to emerge from something immutable, immovable. The movement originates from no movement.
I exemplify you: We consider our breathing as something continuous, permanent. But it’s not like that.
Our breathing is based on two rhythms: inspiration and expiration.
You start to inspire and there is a moment when you cannot keep taking air.
Then there is a pause, a silence and then exhalation follows.
And since you cannot be exhaling indefinitely, then another pause comes to give way to inspiration
These pauses are states of no movement, of peace. And so it is with everything: between the systole and the diastole of the heart, between the words that I pronounce or write, between two musical notes, etc.
And one last example: It is said that a moderately normal mind produces 50,000 to 60,000 daily thoughts.
But every thought that comes to mind has a beginning and an end. And among those thoughts there are silences, pauses, intervals.
The mind is more silent than it seems to us, but what happens is that as we are always mounted on top of the thoughts we cannot enjoy the mental silence where the true stillness is.
Now ask yourself: What would you experience if instead of being identified with what moves, you will identify with what does not move, with those spaces from which all the movement arises? What would happen if the focus of attention took you precisely to those intervals of stillness?
The answer is obvious. And you may ask yourself: Can you achieve that?
The answer is also obvious: Of course. And of course another question may arise: And for how long can I be in those states? The answer is still obvious: As much as you want, you just have to practice.
And one last question: Will there be exercises that help achieve being in those states? The answer remains: Yes
These exercises I will give you in future articles; but first we have to explain the second principle, no less important, that allows us to understand why we suffer. But it is the subject of the following article.