This Is Why We Suffer (and This Is How We End Suffering)
Speaker: Peter Crone
Transcript – Peter Crone on Suffering and How To End Our Own Internal Suffering:
The way life occurs to us is that there’s always somewhere to get to, until you realize that there isn’t
…Similarly suffering is always present until we realize that there isn’t suffering. And that to me is the beauty of the human experience.
So, suffering is unavoidable by virtue of we’re here, but nonetheless, the opportunity, the possibility that it is to be human is to transcend suffering.
And it’s such a beautiful design again, because if it weren’t for the previous suffering, we don’t get to experience the latter freedom.
As an adult, I got to see myself in a picture and all black and white of me as a child and my cute little onesy, whatever it is running with my arms out, my mother is sort of very gently ushering me from behind. So you can see that she’s sort of directing me towards somebody who you can’t see because they’re off camera. They’re out of frame from the picture. But I know because of the setting, it was set at a Harbor at a dock where the boat had just, you know, come to birth and we’ve probably come off the boat and I’m running towards my dad because my dad worked on the boats. And as I looked at that photo and it’s this whole black and white, and this adorable little child, which you know, is running towards his father, who he loves his dad. And what had occurred to me is at that moment, one of the most important parts of love is the energy of missing somebody.
We often think that love is I’m with someone I’m sharing a dinner with them, I’m going to bed with them, or it could be a family member who I’m living with or I’m sharing time with constantly. But that denies the flip side of the same coin, which is one of the most beautiful aspects of love is what feels like the absence of the experience of love. And we can call that missing somebody… and why it was so profound for me is to see that little child run towards his dad with the excitement of the fact that for a minute, for minutes, maybe a day, maybe a week, it could be longer…. We experience the separation from that, which we love.
And if it weren’t for the experience of separation, we would not appreciate the joy of love.
And so why I use that example as it relates to suffering and freedom is because separation is hurtful, it’s painful, and that is suffering. And in this case, suffering is where we become separate from the knowledge, from the true wisdom of our true essence, whilst freedom is the remembrance and the awakening to the essence of who I am at my core, which is freedom.
So the two are inextricably connected and simultaneously necessary in order to experience one or the other.
If it weren’t for the experience of missing, I don’t get to go to the depths of the joy of love and equally, if it weren’t for the pain and the seeming inconvenience of human suffering, then I wouldn’t get to experience the elation and the joy of liberation that is true freedom.
When you really understand that dynamic…. it’s so beautiful to see the duality of everything. And I would actually take it a little deeper, which is to say the freedom really is the container. Like the love is the container that holds both.
We have the joy and we have the misery, we have the happiness and we have the sadness. And this is where if we can be big enough, expanded enough as human beings that we make space for all of it… it would be as nonsensical.
You know, for people who think they just want to be positive and happy, that is like asinine. It would be like me saying, no, no, no. All I want to do is inhale. Cause that’s so good. You get oxygen. If you’re like, what the hell? Like if it weren’t for the fact that I get to exit and let go of, you know, in this case, obviously physiologically biologically the toxins of carbon dioxide and stuff that no longer serves me because it’s already served its purpose in my body. Then I wouldn’t get the joy of having that cyclical process of inhale exhale that keeps me alive.
So similarly, the actual nature of duality, both parts are flip sides of the same coin that are an inherent experience of being human. And the degree to which we can embrace both is the degree to which we are truly free to allow all aspects of what it means to be human.
So suffering is really one aspect, but it is an aspect where there is ultimately a form of ignorance. And I don’t mean that as a judgment. I mean, it truly, in the fact that we don’t know something.
We suffer because we don’t know how extraordinary we are. We suffer because we don’t know that we actually are loved. We don’t, we suffer because we don’t feel safe. And it is in that ignorance than not knowing the absence of knowledge that we suffer.
And the process of awakening is realizing, Oh, these are lies. And as I transcend lie, I expand into my bigger nature, which then is the experience of liberation, which is contained in the safety that we are held and beneficiaries of life, because we are fundamentally loved.
The way I look at it is that this dimension that we are in as human beings to me is a revelatory dimension. What does that mean? Life will reveal where you yourself, as a being do not experience freedom.
Life will present you with people and circumstances to reveal where you’re not free.
So why is that a completely different perspective or different way of looking at the experience of life? Because most people are playing the human game. What is the human game they’re trying to accumulate, right? Accumulation of status, accumulation of possessions, accumulation of finance. And they’re trying to play the game of I’m becoming a better human by virtue of what I have usually… now that’s not wrong, but it’s also, to me, it’s a powerless game to play.
Whereas the awakening process of who I am as a being who is limitless, who is in its infancy and its true inherent nature, nothing but love peace, power, freedom.
That is to me, the game, that’s really at foot for human beings. That is the opportunity that it is to be a human is to awaken to the true essence of who I am rather than being defined by the persona that has been conditioned over time. That is now founded in the essence of survival. That is two entirely different approaches to the human experience. One is linear and one is vertical, right? So linear is okay, hopefully over time I’m going to improve. I got a promotion, I got a corner office. I got a bigger home. I’ve got a nicer car. I’ve got a little bit more money. That is, you know, there’s again, no judgment, but it is a futile dead end method of trying to find internal value by using external and exogenous means to bring some sense of worth.. versus discovering. Wow. My inherent nature is freedom.
My inherent nature is love. My inherent nature is peace and life is constantly giving me the opportunity to awaken to those qualities by virtue of presenting to me ironically, where I don’t experience that.
So that’s why, again, I said, life will present you with people and circumstances to reveal where you’re not free.
We often look as those circumstances as frustrating as things we don’t want, but that’s precisely why they’re being given to us because we’ve yet to see how powerful and extraordinary we are that we have yet to integrate those experiences and see that I can truly be with whatever is occurring and maintain my inner sense of peace and freedom and love.
We arrive as beings, but shrouded in constraint, we arrive as souls, but constrained by fear and the game of this particular dimension of planet earth and being human is Oh, awesome. We are set here so that we can reveal where we are confined, constrained and have some sense of separation and limitation. And so life is the process of sloughing by virtue of these trials and tribulations. And these sort of confronting circumstances really is a form of resistance, which just like polishing a diamond is allowing us to recognize where we still feel constrained or we arrived with our bucket of fears. And as I say, you know, the “ winner of the game” is who can get rid of their fears the the fastest, not that there is any urgency, but we could say, and I would assert the true liberation and true freedom, which is my main product is when we have confronted all of the fears that we arrived with to recognize that in fact, there is nothing to fear itself whatsoever. And that was always just a narrative that was part of our persona or our ego. That was just simply the cocoon in which we found we needed to live in order to stay safe. When in fact it’s quite the antithesis of that, which is true. Security is when I no longer need the illusion of external security.
If the experience I have with another person is of some form of disharmony, of judgment of hostility. Then that really is a reflection of what’s going on inside of me.
So as I say, as we express, so we experience, right. So if I’m expressing anger towards whoever or whatever the circumstance may be, then I am experiencing anger, right? So this, this water travels through say a garden hose. If the garden hose was sent in today, I had a feeling internally, it would feel the passage of the water when it was cold or hot, or how fast it’s moving. So likewise as we express our emotional state, we’re under the impression that it’s by virtue of what’s going on outside of us, but whether it is or not in terms of our interpretation when nonetheless experiencing all of that.
So then why wouldn’t I, if I know that correlation, if I’m, if I’m actually aware of that formula, then why wouldn’t I, wherever possible, bring an experience of love and joy to whoever it might be, because then I’m equally the beneficiary of it. And this is why exercises like gratitude journals or going and being a volunteer and being of service to a community feels good. Why does it feel good? Because what I’m actually doing is I’m bringing the experience of my true self is what I would have saw and I’m sharing to another, I’m giving to another. And therefore I am equally the beneficiary of my own active contribution.
You know, Einstein said, you either, you look at the universe in one of two ways, everything is a miracle or nothing’s a miracle, right? And so really when you get, we are beneficiaries of life, even though again, I’ve been through a ton of what felt like unnecessarily hardship that at the time, my little persona was like, I don’t want this. This sucks, but really in hindsight is often the case we’ve recognized. Wow. If it weren’t for those events, if it weren’t for those hardships, then I wouldn’t have discovered that expansiveness of what I’ve just stepped into and why I use the expression that smooth seas never made a good sailor, right? So we need adversity itself is the catalyst for growth. It is. Life is the greatest teacher by virtue of the fact that it gives us challenges so that it can, as I said earlier, slough off anything that is confining us, anything that is holding us back a constraint that is in some way, limiting ourself expression, we need some resistance to get rid of that.
And that is at times a very difficult pill to swallow, but it is nonetheless the catalyst to discover that really we are held eternally.
It’s like the metaphor of the image of these trapeze artists, right? The experience for anybody who goes up on a trapeze from the perspective of the ego is fear. If there’s no net, right? You, you would feel such trepidation of letting go of the trapeze bar to transition maybe to your partner and be caught in the absence of knowing there was some safety net and that’s the ego’s experiences. It goes through life. It feels that at any turn its existence is in potential danger. Everything can come across as a potential threat, and that’s an exhausting place to live from.
Conversely, if we can tap into this deeper essence of understanding the nature of life and particularly the nature of who we are, then at every turn, there is always a safety net. It might not feel like it, but we can drop, we can fall. We can miss the grip of the partners. We transitioned from trapeze bar to trapeze bar and it’s okay. And that we could say our errors and mistakes are failures and it’s okay.