Statue of Buddha
The Buddha said that suffering is inevitable. Our experience seems to confirm that. In the course of an average week, most of us experience some emotional suffering as the result of feeling at least some unhappiness, upset, fear, or anger.
To what do we almost always attribute the source of these unpleasant and painful emotions? Almost always we say the cause is something or someone outside ourselves: Losing a job or a loved one, being betrayed by a friend, lack of money, etc.
We think: If only the people responsible for my upset would act differently, or treat me differently, or change their behavior, etc. my life would be fine. I only I had more money, or someone to love me, or a nicer house, or more friends, etc., I would be happy. Especially in America, happiness is usually seen as being dependent on financial factors: “When I get a lot of money, then I’ll really be happy.”
In other words, we frequently experience ourselves as a victim of other people and outside circumstances. It seems very real to us that the only way to overcome this sense of victimization is for something outside of ourselves to change.
Trying to take responsibility
There is an alternative that sometimes occurs to a few of us from time to time: What if I were to change? What if I could change something in me? Would that make me happier?
So we try to accept responsibility: ”Okay, it’s my fault. Nobody did it to me. I did it to myself.” But when nothing changes we end up just adding the feeling of guilt to our unhappiness. Then we try to change our feelings, but either nothing happens or we are able to temporarily suppress our feelings for the moment, but in the long run the unpleasant feeling remains. So then we try to act differently, but that takes a lot of will power and at best only lasts for a short time before the old behavior re-asserts itself.
Is there nothing we can do? Are we doomed to swing endlessly between feeling a victim of life and a fruitless attempt to stop being a victim?
The Buddhist approach
Buddhism has been addressing this situation for thousands of years. It contends that life is filled with suffering, which is nothing more than frequent upsets of one kind or another. The upsets usually entail negative emotions like anger, anxiety, jealousy, envy, etc. These negative feelings—and the emotional suffering they cause—come from the meaning we give meaningless events. This is an unconscious and automatic process that seems to be wired into human beings.
Buddhism offers an answer to this “inevitability” of human suffering. The Noble Eightfold Path: Right View, Right Thinking, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Diligence, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration.
Unfortunately, one can spend years meditating and attempting to follow the Eightfold Path and still experience a great deal of suffering. You may bypass the suffering while you are in an altered state of consciousness induced by meditating, but as soon as you stop meditating and return to a natural state of consciousness, the suffering usually seems to reappear.
A modern approach
It is difficult for most people to use the Eightfold Path to overcome suffering because the brain has been wired to assign meaning (usually negative) to meaningless events, which is the ultimate source of suffering. The Lefkoe Freedom Process (LFP) acts like a “software” that enables you to “override” that wiring. As I’ve explained in earlier posts, you can use the LFP to help the brain make new neural connections that bypasses the meaning-making part meaning of the brain.
When you stop giving meaning to meaningless events—and I have a lot of evidence that you can learn to do this—the experience of being a victim will stop. Moreover, virtually all of your negative feelings will cease, leading to a life virtually without stress and emotional suffering.
Learning to dissolve the meaning we unconsciously and automatically attribute to meaningless events—and more: getting to the point where we rarely give meaning to begin with and where we usually automatically dissolve the meaning we do give—is a 21st century way to achieve the non-attachment and release from suffering that Buddhism suggests is possible.
How the Lefkoe Freedom Process
enables you to stop suffering
I’ve written several posts on how the LFP works and how it can help you stop giving the meaning that leads to suffering. See specifically https://www.mortylefkoe.com/important-improve-life/. I also delivered a TEDx talk on the topic that walks you through the LFP: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMdVM-t5kFs
Frequent negative feelings are not necessary. Suffering is not necessary. Experiencing yourself as a victim is not necessary. I have been told this by many people who have learned how to use the LFP. And I know this from personal experience (I never gave any meaning to my diagnosis of fourth stage metastatic colon cancer and never experienced a moment’s stress or suffering).
Would you like to be one of the few people in the world who does not experience emotional suffering? What are you waiting for?
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Copyright © 2014 Morty Lefkoe