Why Do We Suffer?

The LiveReal Quiz. Can You Take It?

"There are basically two kinds of people in the world:
Sufferers, and Learners."
- Richard Rose

Article by LiveReal Agent Blake

So if the above quote is true - that there are "Sufferers" and "Learners" - well, personally, we'd rather learn than suffer.

Just our opinion.

But learning can be tough. Life can be tough. Heck, life can be excruciatingly tough. At times like these, it's very natural to ask... "why"? And "what can I do about it?"

So what's going on? Why do we suffer at all? Are we doomed to just suffer, and live as "sufferers," or is there any way we can "learn" what do do about it?

This is a question that every one of us faces, and countless thinkers have wrestled with it, and tried to really figure it out...

So have any of them actually succeeded? If so, we would have heard about it by now...right?

At any rate, we decided that... yes, it sounds like a job for LiveReal.

- so hopefully, you won't have to suffer through it the way we did. Heck, you might even enjoy it...

Why Do We Suffer?

(multiple-choice format)

A) We suffer because we don't have enough money.

B) We suffer because we just haven't lost that extra ten or twenty pounds.

C) We suffer because our houses aren't big enough.

D) We suffer because we just don't have cool enough clothes, cars, houses, or other "stuff" yet.

E) Because our social status isn't high enough.

F) Because we aren't popular, beautiful, famous, powerful, respected, or viral enough yet.

G) Because our jobs suck.

H) Because of my parents.

I) Because of my kids/ boss / friends / enemies.

J) Because we searching for "IT", and we haven't found "IT" yet.

K) Because we just haven't found that perfect guy or girl yet.

L) Psychiatry: because we have either defective brain chemistry or genes and we just haven't found the right pill yet.

M) Futility: We just suffer. That's it. There is no reason, understanding, or hope of avoiding it.

N) New Agey: We create our own suffering, somehow, for some reason.

O) Sympathy: Because other people suffer (e.g., in Africa)

P) Psychology: because of childhood conflicts or what our parents did or didn't do to us years ago.

Q) Because somehow, deep down, we sense on some level that we're somehow incomplete, and don't know how to get "complete."

R) Because my lousy husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend doesn't do _____, ______, or ______ and isn't ______, ______, or ______..

S) Because deep down we all know we're going to die, and that bothers us.

T) "The Human Condition": it's built in to the game here that we have to suffer (a.k.a. "we're in a fallen state," "that's the way the cookie crumbles," "s**t happens" etc)

U) Therapists: because we just haven't had enough therapy yet.

V) Meaning/Existential: because we're meaning-seeking creatures in a meaningless world.

W) "Bad guys": it's because of all the "bad" people on the planet; if those jerks weren't around, things would be just swell.

X) Because we're unconscious; and if we were really "conscious," we wouldn't suffer.

Y) The Three Little Pigs: because we've built our lives (or constructed our character) out of straw, and now the Big Bad Wolf is at the door.

Z) Imaginary: because we don't see things the way they really are (like, we think we see a big snake, and so we're afraid and anxious . . . when really, it's just your old socks you left out.)

AA) Because we want to be loved, but don't feel like we are, and we want to love, but don't feel like we can.

BB) The Ant and the Grasshopper: because we've spent the summer laying around in the sun, and now winter's here. (a.k.a. "karma" or "making your bed and then lying in it.")

CC) Because we're not intelligent enough.

DD) Because we're not ignorant enough (a.k.a. "ignorance is bliss")

EE) Because we're looking for happiness (or love) in all the wrong places, and so we get fascinated by all the wrong things that eventually lead us into dead-ends.

FF) Because we're lost in a sea of anxiety, confusion, fear, desire, and ignorance, and can't seem to find our way to dry land.

GG) "Stress": Because life is stressful, and we don't really know how to deal with stress

HH) "Morality": Because there's something we're supposed to be doing with our lives, and we're not doing it - a.k.a. we're not or haven't been "moral" enough.

II) "Karma": because what we've done in the past is catching up to us.

JJ) "Attachment": "Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; reality can be attained only by someone who is detached." - Simone Weil

KK) "Trance": because we're in some kind of trance or spell, a kind of "hypnosis of life," and if we could break this trance, then we wouldn't suffer from it anymore.

LL) Because we don't have enough "faith". (and What is "Faith"?)

MM) Because the future promises, among other things, old age, sickness, suffering, and death, and on some level that kind of bothers us.

NN) Because suffering is educational, and the reason why we're here is to get an education.

OO) Because we have to wait until we die, and then we'll go to heaven and then we won't suffer anymore.

PP) Because we're separated from God. ( - and What is "God"?)

QQ) Because we're caught up in either thinking about the past or thinking about the future, and so we're never here now.

RR) Because we're constantly seeking the infinite in the finite, and not finding it there (a.k.a. "looking for love in all the wrong places.")

SS) Wei Wu Wei: "Why are you unhappy? Because 99.9 percent Of everything you think And of everything you do, Is for yourself - And there isn't one."

TT) Hubert Benoit: "All my apparent 'trouble' derives from the sleep of my faith in the perfect Reality...In short everything appears to be wrong in me because the fundamental idea that everything is perfectly, eternally, and totally positive, is asleep in the center of my being, because it is not awakened, living and active therein. There at last we touch upon the first painful phenomenon, that from which all the rest of our painful phenomena derive." (Zen and the Psychology of Transformation: The Supreme Doctrine)

UU) Yoga (not of the YMCA-firm-butt variety): "All misery in the world is due to ignorance and false identification of the perishable body with the imperishable Atman." ("Atman" - roughly, the Hindu word for "God") (Swami Sivananda)

VV) Because of a mistake that a woman named "Eve" and a guy named "Adam" made a long time ago.

WW) Because of something called "ego," "ignorance," "self," "identification," "self-contraction," "personality," "The Core Wound," etc.

XX) Because we spend our lives trying to be God, when we're not

YY) I don't know.

ZZ) Because there's who we think we are, and then there's who we actually are. And the problems happen when there is a great distance in between the two, which is normally the case.

AAA) "Woman's basic unhappiness, her perennial discontent, is because man can no longer reach her physically. Her emotional excesses, depressions, tearful frustration . . . are due to man's sexual failure to gather or release in lovemaking her finest, fundamental, female energies. These extraordinarily beautiful divine energies are intense and exquisite and when left untapped in woman, as they are now, they degenerate into psychic or emotional disturbances, and eventually crystallize into physical abnormalities . . . Man's basic unhappiness, his perennial restlessness, is because in forgetting how to make love he's abandoned his original divine authority and lost sexual control of himself." - Barry Long

BBB) "The root of all the sufferings of mankind is the low level of love between men and women." - Omraam Michael Aivanhov

CCC) Blaise Pascal: "I have discovered that all human evil comes from this, man's being unable to sit still in a room."

DDD) Our own "insubstantiality": "The whole development of (suffering) is an attempt on our part to shield ourselves from the truth of our insubstantiality . . . The source of the effort to confirm our solidity is an uncertainty as to whether or not we exist. Driven by this uncertainty, we seek to prove our own existence by finding a reference point outside ourselves, something with which to have a relationship, something solid to feel separate from." - Chogyam Trungpa Rimpoche

EEE) Because somehow we split and separate ourselves away from everything else, and then deep down we feel split and separated.

FFF) Because we're caught in the tension between opposites - pleasure and pain, id and superego, life and death, eros and thanatos, everythingness and nothingness, etc, etc - and we haven't figured out how to resolve that tension yet.

GGG) Haridas Chaudhuri: "The basic issue of human suffering including moral, religious, and psychological problems has been traced to one ultimate cause, to wit, self-estrangement, alienation from existence, loss of contact with Being. Emotional conflicts, social discords, political wars - all these, in final analysis, flow from man's loss of contact with the ground of existence."

HHH) Because we've forgotten, or lost touch with, who we really are.

III) Paramahansa Yogananda: "To live for self is the source of all misery."

JJJ) Suffering, in a strange way, is actually an illusion. It's like you're dreaming that you're being chased by a bear, and the bear scratches you. It obviously hurts, and you suffer . . . in the dream. But, if you wake up from the dream, you realize that you were only dreaming that you were suffering, and the "suffering' that you did in the dream, in a way, wasn't real.

K3) "There's one great delusion that lies at the core of all of all of our suffering: the false belief in the reality of the separation of life and in the subsequent true existence of an individual ego . . . Suffering finds its roots in your desire to be free from something that's either present for you right now or something that you fear may be present for you in the future . . . Your suffering is directly proportional to the intensity of your attachments to these passing phenomena and to the strength of your habit of seeking for some kind of personal identity in the world of forms." - Chuck Hillig

LLL) Jed McKenna: "Suffering just means you're having a bad dream. Happiness means you're having a good dream. Enlightenment means getting out of the dream altogether."

MMM) Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov: "When you meet with pleasant conditions in life, savour them, but do not linger. And when life imposes difficult conditions on you, do your best to endure them until the bitter end. You will say: ‘But why should we cultivate difficult conditions?’ It is not a question of cultivating them, but of simply facing them so that you learn to become an adult. Children only like what is pleasant and sugary… like the little girl who said in her prayers: ‘Lord, let daddy, mummy and my little brother be healthy… and put vitamins in sweets and not in spinach.’ That’s children for you! Unfortunately vitamins will never be found in sweets, just as spiritual vitamins will never be found in comfort and pleasure, but instead in work and difficulties. Only a true adult is capable of finding the richness and depth concealed in every test, in every bitter experience. On the other hand, prolonged joy and pleasure serve only to chloroform people, keeping them weak and far from the truth."

NNN) D. T. Suzuki: "As intellectual development takes place, as we grow up, the sense-domain is invaded by the intellect and the naivete of sense-experience is lost. When we smile, it is not just smiling: something more is added. We do not eat as we did in our infancy; eating is mixed with intellection. And as we all realize this invasion by the intellect, or the mixing with intellect, simple biological deeds are contaminated by egocentric interest. This means that there is now an intruder into the unconscious which can no longer directly or immediately move into the field of consciousness, and all deeds that have been relegated to biologically instinctual functions now assume the role of consciously and intellectually directed acts. This transformation is known as the loss of 'innocence' or the acquirement of 'knowledge' in the usage of the Biblical myth."

OOO) Thomas Traherne: "The first Light which shined in my Infancy in its primitive and innocent clarity was totally eclipsed . . . If you ask me how it was eclipsed? Truly by the customs and manners of men, which like contrary winds blew it out: by an innumerable company of other objects, rude, vulgar, and worthless things, that like so many loads of earth and dung did overwhelm and bury it; by the impetuous torrent of wrong desires in all others whom I saw or knew that carried me away and alienated me from it; by a whole sea of other matters and concernments that covered and drowned it; finally by the evil influence of a bad education that did not foster and cherish it. All men's thoughts and words were about other matters. They all prized new things which I did not dream of. I was a stranger and unacquainted with them; I was little and reverences their authority; I was weak, and easily guided by their example; ambitious also, and desirous to approve myself unto them. And finding no one syllable in any man's mouth of those things, by degrees they vanished, my thoughts (as indeed what is more fleeting than a thought?) were blotted out; and at last all the celestial, great, and stable treasures to which I was born, as wholly forgotten, as if they had never been."

PPP) "When Nature puts someone in constraints, She has in mind his good and aims to awaken the hidden forces within him. All suffering, constraints and trials in a man's life aim to awaken the higher consciousness within him. When Nature imposes sorrow, we feel wrongly towards it. When a mother puts the child in the tub to bathe him, he cries and thinks that this is bad for him. The child does not understand that his mother means to do well for him. An army general was tried, convicted, stripped of all his rights and sent to jail. He was only set free after ten years. He then said, 'I now understand life. It has become clear to me that my position as a general and all other things are nonsense.' ...When one suffers, his way of thinking gradually becomes straight. When the thinking is straight, the consciousness awakens. Through suffering, comes a new consciousness in man. This is the meaning of suffering. The offering which the living Nature gives to man are the meaningful tribulations. Within them are hidden the experiences which enable man to develop. The fruits of these tribulations are the impulses which help him to grow. To every man are given as many trials as are necessary for the development of his soul. These trials are not arbitrary. When I speak about them, I am referring to the mindful suffering. Man has come to his present development thanks to his hardships and trials. These are what prepare man for the Coming of Love." - Peter Deunov

QQQ) None of the Above

RRR) All of the Above

SSS) Other _______________________________

Your Answer: ________.

When you finish your quiz, please pass your papers to the front.

Please note: This is a quiz that, whether you know it or not, you're kind of already taking;

and you will probably be graded, but may not be; we're not sure when or even if you'll ever find out what your grade is, and we might know who will or won't be grading your papers, - but then again, we may be wrong.

So, is the important part not that we suffer, but how?
See "How to Suffer Blissfully" >

So then: why do we suffer? For real?

Well, this is an issue that your brave, dutiful, and longsuffering LiveReal Agents have been hard at work on.

and in our travels, we have come across a story by Kafka that seems to have given us an important clue...

It tells the story of a man named Kafka...

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Why Soft Nihilism is So Popular These Days

How to Suffer Blissfully: Zen and a Job of Modern Life

Why "The Pursuit of Happiness" is Sometimes Doomed

10 Essential Ingredients of No-Nonsense Spirituality

The Search for "IT"

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