Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Where Is The Sufferer?

As I communicate with many people, I get asked for help to stop suffering... People write messages to me, saying how much they suffer, how unbearable that is and how much they want to make it stop. So I felt to say something about this.

I know how shit that feels. I really do. I felt horrible many times and all I wanted was to die. I used to cry and suffer. It used to be happening periodically and that's how I saw life- bits of sweet happiness in between feeling of not enough.

I wasn't depressed in general, apart for a few months after the process of deconstruction started, but in general life sucked. There was a constant background feeling of not enough, being not good enough, seeking for relief. Some days strong, some days not. Expansion - contraction. I did not like contraction.

Just like breath, it was happening: in and out. Right now, chest is expanding and falling back in even rhythm. Naturally.

Suffering is something that nobody wants. And yet it's here. What to do? How to get rid of it? Who can help? Hello!!

And if you are trapped in a vicious loops of darkness it feels so hopeless and alone. If you are looking for exit sign, here it is.

There is no sufferer.

None. None at all. Same way as there is no Santa. It's imagined.

You think you are suffering and this is the suffering. Yes, thoughts that tell story about suffering is THE Suffering. It's a chain of thoughts about the me that is suffering. But where is that ME??

There is a story about a me that is tortured. Thoughts say that there is.
But let's go down from the head into the body for a bit.

How does suffering appear in the body? It's a contraction. There is a sensation of tightness or emptiness like a hole, whatever description, does not matter. But bringing attention to sensing rather then thinking about it, lets the tension start dissolving. If you keep focus on feeling, just letting it be there, just watching the raw energy without naming it, it starts dissipating. Test it.

And what is behind the tension?

Take a look for yourself:
Is there a feeler? "Yes, there is- its me"- thoughts may say, but without thought, is there a me? is there anything separate in life from life? Is there a me in the body? If so, where is it? Can you touch it? Smell it, taste it? Can you hear it with ears or see with eyes? How do you know that it's here? It seems to be in the head behind eyes, it seems.... But is it there?

See, me is not an entity that lives in the bag of skin, not a soul having human experience, its not a separate avatar that is navigating it's way through life, not the narrator of the story, it's just nothing there! Empty. And it's not bad empty of good empty, it's not an end to a little me, it's just nothing there! Don't believe me, take a look.

The sufferer is not there, but there is a story about suffering, right. And heavy unbearable feelings too, isn't it? What's up with that?- you may ask.

Here is a turn around. On one side there is a suffering me on another side there is acceptance and peace. There is a flip from saying no to saying yes.

The sensations in the body, contraction only gets stronger if its willed to go away. If you want to get rid of it, it feels even worse. The key is to notice resistance. Just notice that there is something that resists something. There is frustration and tension. Locate it in the body. Feel it, let it be ok for 1 minute and 23 seconds. Watch it, make friends with it, feel it fully, openly, just ... feel...

That's it.

Yes, to whatever is here. So be it. It is here already.

Tension, when noticed and allowed to be here starts melting. See that for yourself. Notice when resistance arises and you say yes to it, what happens?

Another thing, if the feelings are so intense, that it's unbearable, learn EFT technique, it's really simple and effective. There are plenty of videos on YouTube showing basics, learn it and then just use it. It really works. (Emotional Freedom Technique).

Yes, suffering is seen as something negative and unwanted. And it's ok. It's ok to want to drop that and feel at peace. It's ok to relax. You do not need to believe what thoughts say, you can direct focus on sensations in the body. Then there is no need to try to stop the voice from talking. It's ok for it to be here too. Just move attension to senses.

When all is welcomed, all is flowing smoothly and sweetly. When resistance shows up, and it will, just like breathing in and out, notice it.

Don't try to change anything, just notice. Rinse and repeat.

The truth is, resistance, frustration is a friend. It may be impossible to even think this now, but if you start noticing it, you will see where it leads. Resistance itself is not meant to be resisted. Otherwise it locks into self-strengthening loops. Some say there is a path of least resistance and when resistance melts, all that is left  is surrender. This is the path of saying yes to whatever feeling/ sensation comes up.

Noticing frustration, watching how the mechanism works and asking questions- what is behind it? What is here that feels threatened? What is here that wants to hold on? What needs to be protected and from what exactly? Listening closely and noticing sensations in the body is the key to releasing stuckness.

When it's seen, that there is nothing here that needs to be protected, the mechanism no longer gets triggered in the same situations. But don't expect a happy ever after, there is nothing permanent. Life is a movement of expansion- contraction. Things happen and they will keep happening. The peace is here when there is no resistance to what already is.

So first step to the end of suffering is saying yes to it. It's ok to feel shit. And it's ok to want to end it.

Second step is to really get curious and interested to see for yourself that sufferer is not there by looking behind feelings and sensations. Sensation comes up, look behind it, is there a feeler?
Can it be found in your experience? Or just in thinking? Is it here now?

Third step would be to investigate what is this word 'me' and where it points to, can that "me" be found? Or is it just a story ABOUT me, like a story about Santa?

And most of all be kind to yourself. The love you seek is your own love to yourself. By saying yes to feelings and sensations a door opens. The habit of thoughts about suffering start loosing its grip.

In short, it's not the suffering that you want to get rid of, but see for yourself, in your experience, that there is nothing there, where you think that me, the sufferer, is.

If you found this helpful, please share with a friend.


  1. 'There is suffering', and 'suffering should be welcomed'. 'Suffering has been welcomed'. You see the suffering, your own, or somebody else's problems, as things to welcome rather than as things to run away from or push away.

    "A pleasant feeling is inconstant, fabricated, dependently co-arisen, subject to ending, subject to vanishing, fading, ceasing. A painful feeling is also inconstant, fabricated, dependently co-arisen, subject to ending, subject to vanishing, fading, ceasing. A neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling is also inconstant, fabricated, dependently co-arisen, subject to ending, subject to vanishing, fading, ceasing.

    "Seeing this, an instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with pleasant feeling, disenchanted with painful feeling, disenchanted with neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling. Disenchanted, he grows dispassionate. From dispassion, he is released.

  2. Thanks for this article ilona. Can you tell me for all the people you and others have guided, is seeing through the self the end of psychological fear?


  3. Good question. I asked people in LU group about this and it seems that common answer is that fear still comes up, sensation arise, even terror, but it's no longer griping, there is no more fear of fear itself. It arises and passes quickly.
    From my experience, I can feel fear, it does not happen often and it passes as soon as noticed. It's no longer an issue.

  4. Thank you for the reply.

    I would imagine that fear could still arise as there is still an emotion system. Still a human body being a human body.

    Does that background fear of life go away?


  5. Yes, the background fear is replaced by background peace, may take time to settle and sink in deeply into peace with what is.

  6. Thanks very much for this Ilona.
    So simple, so clear.
    It is also reinsurring for me that I am doing the right thing in my approach post-gate: turn toward experience, welcome it, investigate it kindly.
    What you are saying is also very similar to Jack Kornfield RAIN model (Recognise, Accept, Investigate, Non-self).
    Agin, thank you for all your gems,

    Much love,
    padma xxx

  7. Thank you Ilona. Such good, practical, hope filled steps. Thank you also for getting the word about EFT out there. It was a very good starting point for me and like you said, it works!