Saturday, May 30, 9795

Who Suffers?

As we well know, the ego's desire causes suffering. It wants something, feels a sense of lack without it, tries to get it, and experiences disappointment when it does not get it.

But who suffers? The true self, or the ego?

What is the ego? A thought process. A thought cannot suffer.

But the true self does not desire the things that the ego desires (wealth, social status, etc). It simply is. Therefore it has no unfulfilled desire. So how can it suffer?

Yet we perceive suffering.

Ah, there's the key word: perceive. We perceive that we suffer. But do we?

When we live through the ego, we are pretending to be it. We fantasize that we are this little action figure that desires things. Since we don't have those things, we pretend that this conceptual self is incomplete, lacking something, in an unpleasant state. So we imagine that it is suffering. Since we are pretending to be this conceptual self, we pretend that we suffer. It's like watching a play or a movie: we temporarily identify with a character and pretend to feel what s/he is feeling. Eventually the play or movie ends, and we no longer imagine that we're feeling those feelings. Similarly, when we wake up to who we really are, we no longer imagine that we are a suffering little ego.

So we don't really suffer; we only pretend to suffer. And this imagined suffering will end as soon as we stop pretending to be an ego.