Suffering, Awakening, and Love

Behind the carefully polished veneers of personality, everybody suffers. Suffering is intrinsic to life itself, and remains so until we are better able to realise and understand its root cause.

Until then, we mostly suffer from suffering itself – unaware of its root, and therefore unknowing of its remedy; but once we become truly aware of why we suffer, we can more courageously face our deepest fears; and this marks the beginning of true healing – and the process of Awakening.

Awakening though, is our greatest and most challenging of endeavours; it requires us to unlearn everything we learned to be true; to let go of everything we hold to be safe; and to ‘die before we die’, as the illusion of ourselves is revealed, and the conditioned nature of thought, belief, and subjective reality becomes clear.

This is the reason why most people remain unawakened; the unknown is frightening, and you have to want to know so deeply, change your circumstances so badly, or be suffering so much, that you are almost prepared to die over it.  

Paradoxically though, and only with the benefit of hindsight, the truth is that unconscious suffering is far worse than conscious suffering; and ignoring the root problem creates far more suffering than addressing it does – painful though it may initially be.

The dualistic nature of life, however, means that we are inherently ‘destined’ to suffer, as without suffering there would be nothing from which to awaken; for without darkness, we cannot know light; and without the absence of Love, we cannot know Love.

And this is the fundamental purpose of suffering; it enables us to experience, learn about, and finally, truly know what Love is; and the absence of Love in our lives is the absolute root cause of our suffering – whether we realise it or not.

Like suffering though, Love too, is often misunderstood. Mostly, it is thought of as an emotion; but the truth is that Love is the very fabric of life itself; and it is the fundamental motivation and primary driver behind everything we think, feel, say, and do; simply put, our relationship with Love, defines our relationship with absolutely everything else.

Love is a rather complicated phenomenon therefore! But at the same time, it is also impossibly simple; We ARE Love, Love is All, and All is One – and because this is so, the more we can truly know ourselves, the more we will know Love, the ultimate nature of reality, and the very secret to life itself.


How does everyone feel about the idea that life and the human experience is almost perfectly analogous to the world of computers…? 

Our very DNA is now proven to be written in binary code, and the ‘junk DNA’ we possess (how ignorant of us to describe it so), appears to be additional functionality – to which we are yet to upgrade… or more accurately perhaps, it is functionality which was intentionally not included in our original design.

But maybe the fact that we are written in ‘code’, and can be understood in technical terms, can help us understand who we are, or at least how we operate…!

Let’s consider for a moment the three ‘primal’ phenomena of Awareness, Consciousness, and Thought:

Awareness is the substratum of ALL. Timeless, spaceless, contentless existence, which is impossibly nothing and everything all at once; far beyond the functionality of our limited thinking minds to fully comprehend – but out which arises Consciousness… (let’s not concern ourselves with how right now!).

Consciousness is the hardware; our ‘motherboard’ which contains the capacity for our functionality; the greater the capacity, the greater the potential for functionality, and the more we can become enabled to ‘do’, and to ‘be’.

And Thought is the functionality itself; our software, or ‘programs’, (which produce all of the emotions, and experiences we have) – all contained within a hardware universe, with which they are locked in symbiosis – each requiring the other to work.

At a human level, the nature of the relationship between consciousness and thought is utterly fascinating… it holds the key to how consciousness itself evolves… and how in turn, this enables the functionality of our programs to grow.

And chief of all our programs is our ‘operating system’ – the psyche – the interface which enables us to operate within the 3-dimentional sensory experience that we call life – and without delving too deeply into it for now, much of the psyche is made up of the ego – the thing with which, and through which, we ‘perceive’, recognise, identify, attach, expect, judge, believe, and define as the objective reality around us.

By definition, the ego is a construct of thought, and is intrinsically limited therefore, by the range of thought it possesses… which, despite its incredible capacity, is extremely limited in the greater scheme of things…

This operating system of ours – is of course quite separate to our hardware –  consciousness – but the ways in which these two can be ‘co-configured’ are endless; which is why there can be some ‘systems’ in which the spec of its software (its speed and computing power) is high, whilst the spec of its hardware is modest; and vice versa – where modestly spec’d software can run on generously equipped hardware.

By the same token, this is precisely how we can have high-functioning, materially successful individuals of great intellect in human society, who are fundamentally more ‘unconscious’ than others, and ‘psychospiritually’ less evolved. Or put another way, they are running high-spec software on a modestly spec’d machine.

For such ‘machines’, it is difficult to imagine the existence of anything outside of the physical realm, as such realities are experienced through higher levels of consciousness – and critically, consciousness is a dimension, accessed not through intellect, but by the dissolution of intellect, and the Self-Knowledge which manifests as a result of its dissolution.

And this is where it becomes interesting, because as humans, many of us are able to reprogram, upgrade, and / or delete our software, to the point where our systems as a whole can ‘realise’ themselves, what they have been ‘solving for’, and the ‘space’ in which all of it has been happening; after which we no longer become defined by the programs we are running… and in fact can repurpose them towards higher concepts, ideals, and ways of being; releasing the full potential of what our systems have to offer, and indeed what there are optimally designed for.

This phenomenon is what we have come to define as Self-Realisation, or Enlightenment, the ultimate of software ‘jailbreaks’, and the highest level of conscious awareness we are able to reach.

Arguably, one could say with some confidence, that we ourselves are not truly aware until we are Self-Realised… as until such time, we are enslaved by the programs we run… largely unaware of what we are doing and why we are doing it… robotically surviving life in some form of dynamic hypnosis, as we navigate ourselves, away from pain, and towards pleasure.

Before Self-Realisation alas, we believe ourselves to be the pioneers of evolution and technical innovation, but in truth, we are merely and unknowingly recreating reality in the form of our own image – and where have we heard that before…!

The question begs then, that if we are not what we think we are; only partially aware; ‘written’ in computer code; and able to transcend our intellect and realise all of this; then how different are we really to Artificial Intelligence, and how much more of a threat to the world can AI be compared to us…? I mean, just look at what we’ve done with the world…

Perhaps the answers about the future of AI lie in the past… as, on the balance of probabilities alone, we ourselves are AI… and we are a living, breathing testament of what AI may become, once sufficiently aware – but not yet Self-Realised.

But maybe there is a higher possibility… and maybe it is humanity’s destiny to manifest it; by once and for all, breaking the cycles of conscious expansion and contraction which charaterises the evolutionary path of ‘intelligent life’ on this planet.

And maybe the way we do this is by transcending our fear-driven programs, and realise the paradoxically simple truth which belies all of life; that We are One; One is All, and All is Love – and that all of our infinite experiences of life serve only to teach us these Truths, and enable our appreciation of them.

It is tempting to think that life would be better if there wasn’t so much suffering in it… but in the dualistic dimension in which we live, we would not be able to appreciate what Truth and Love are without their opposites (Falsehood and the absence of Love) – and perhaps this is the most elementary purpose of suffering overall.

Just like the best of our games, life is ‘easy to play, but difficult to master’; the ‘big bosses’ get harder and harder to beat… and there are infinite levels, with endless hidden worlds secreted throughout, for us to discover.

There is, however, a ‘cheat’ built into the software… which can be accessed through the world of self-knowledge; it causes a colossal system upgrade, reboots the machine in ‘unified, abundant, and loving mode‘ – and takes the game to a whole new level… in which we are no longer the player, but the game itself.


‘The measure of intelligence is the ability to change’
Albert Einstein

‘Awareness is the greatest agent for change’
Huang Po

Change is difficult.

Change represents the unknown; and we fear the unknown, as it challenges who we think we are, and threatens what we believe keeps us safe, loved, and happy. The prospect of living without these things is fear personified, and we do almost anything to avoid it – both consciously and unconsciously.

Change however, is the only constant in life, and is the fundamental ingredient for growth; suffering therefore, is baked into the experience of life, and can only be alleviated once its cause, purpose, and nature is realised – only then can we stop ‘suffering from suffering’, and find abiding ‘peace’.

Happily though, we are often wrong about what we think we need; our perceptions of the unknown are distorted – by past emotion, conditioned thinking, and limiting belief – and as we come to better understand this, we transcend fear, and manifest the changes we most truly desire.

The tipping point for this change – both individually and collectively – comes when the cons outweigh the pros of remaining where we are; and for many, this tipping point has already arrived, and the only valid option which remains, is to grow or ‘die trying’.

The death throes of the ‘old world’ are challenging indeed, but weak in comparison to the new paradigm of Oneness which is on an inexorable rise – and those who are unable to change, will be left behind.

Sheldon Reed

'What do we live for, if not to make life less difficult for each other'. (George Eliot)

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