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The Karmatic Diet Blog

  • Writer's pictureMal'akhiyah Waters

Suffering, a Path to Self-Awareness

Updated: Sep 13, 2022

As difficult as this may be to swallow, suffering plays a vital and integral role in spiritual evolution in so many ways. We rarely grow in times of contentment as a stagnant soul is a restless soul. That stagnation causes the energetic body and the physical body's energetic system to become depressed over time.


Suffering ensues from many forms, such as senses, emotions and hardships. Our perception of those experiences can become deeply embedded into the psyche.

Suffering leads to the desire to learn how to release the pain, turmoil, and trauma, in turn leading toward the search for a way out, often leading to self-reflection. When the suffering becomes unbearable, this is when choices appear. Without the suffering, therefore, many pivotal and healthy choices would not be realized and faced.

Suicide has become a false method of escape. To take one’s own life is not an escape; one would just be starting as a new character. Life can be tough sometimes, and the turmoil that seems unbearable shall pass. This is what the desperate person needs to remember, and instead of taking suicide as a way out—which it is not—learn to chip away at the negative aspects of self and ego, to make small gains. In time, the small gains turn slowly toward a more positive mindset, and with positive mindset comes positive energy and a gradual reversal of fortune and percee all heard the accounts of people who were diagnosed with some ‘incurable’ or otherwise insufferable disease but made it their mission to keep looking for the specialists, the information, the solution.


One can give up all hope by surrendering (a form of hiding) to an, ‘I do not want to drive anymore’ mindset, i.e., giving up on life. In giving over the proverbial wheel, you are allowing your vessel to become completely vulnerable. That is a point at which your energetic soul hides and loses itself. You can pull yourself out of these states since one constant you can count on is change, and to know that suffering is a choice.

You can just accept the possible false belief system you have created for yourself and believe you are always going to be that way (clinically diagnosed). Another choice would be that you can do something about it by exploring avenues out of suffering.


We have all heard the accounts of people who were diagnosed with some ‘incurable’ or otherwise insufferable disease but made it their mission to keep looking for the specialists, the information, the solution. Not the cure, note—but the way to make it more tenable for them. These are the people who set up research foundations and charities, who go on sponsored walks to raise funds, and who set up discussion groups to meet others with the same disease. These are the people who metaphorically keep on banging on the door of the hospital asking for more and more insight into their issues—because they are not prepared to give up. They are going to explore every avenue out of their suffering. And if no avenue exists, they will try to forge a way toward something existing, setting it up themselves.

Giving up is never the easy way. It causes the greatest suffering, without any doubt.

We need to learn the causes of suffering and our role in learning since the equanimous mind can guide one out of the suffering of emotional turmoil. The emotional or sensational experience is like a gust of wind passing through unable to be held, or visitors passing by, with just the briefest ‘hi’.

When we can let go of that which does not serve us and instead focus on charity, humility, love, compassion, truth, knowledge, gratitude, and purpose, life’s experience can flip from dissatisfaction to satisfaction. And it can happen in a breath, in a moment, in the briefest time.

Avoiding the truth

Avoiding emotions is not the point. And this is another topic to consider; we all know people who, when something difficult crops up, say, ‘Oh, let’s not talk about it!’ as if the not talking about it makes it non-existent. The issue will always be there, and the not talking about it will magnify it to the point of suffering.

However, emotions should not control you. Instead, we can productively work on non-reaction, a form of purposeful action whereby you experience the sensation, acknowledge it, face it—and then let it go.

Suffering can lead someone to be so desperate for an escape that they will their desire into existence. This can occur even to a point where the energetic body astral projects from the physical body to the astral plane, or the singular eye (third eye) opens, and you see or travel to that desire.

Suffering can induce these abilities if the desire is strong enough. It may even occur unknowingly, as you may not even understand what the experience was if your perception is misaligned. If your spirit body is projected (astral projection) but you are not ready to perceive, you may find yourself tumbling or falling, unable to witness what is around you, which can be confusing.

It is through suffering that we seek. Suffering is a route to awareness, like a gateway drug. It is the spark that ignites the flame of refinement.

Here is a passage that I have found enlightening in what we call my, such as ‘my body’ or any other ‘my’ ideal as these notions lead to suffering. But, becoming aware of ourselves dissolves the held perception of my and I.

Becoming Aware of 'Oneself'

It's one of the most indispensable things to do if one wants to succeed in having self-control and even a limited self-knowledge: to be able to localise one’s consciousness and move it about in the different parts of one’s being, in such a way as to distinguish between one’s consciousness and one’s thoughts, feelings, impulses, become aware of what the consciousness is in itself. And in this way one can learn how to shift it: one can put your consciousness in the body, put it in the vital, put it in the psychic (that's the best place to put it in); one can put one’s consciousness in the mind, can raise it above the mind, and with one’s consciousness one can go into all the regions of the universe.

But first of all, one must know what your consciousness is, that is, become conscious of one’s consciousness, localise it. And for this there are many exercises. One of them is very well known, it is to observe oneself and watch oneself living, and then see whether it is really the body which is the consciousness of the being, what one calls 'myself'; and then when one has realised that it is not at all the body, that the body expresses something else, then one searches in his impulses, emotions, to see whether it's that, and again one finds out that it is not that; and then one seeks in his thoughts, whether the thought is truly himself, what he calls 'myself', and at the end of a very short time one becomes aware: "No, I am thinking, therefore 'myself' is different from my thoughts."

And so, by progressive eliminations one succeeds in entering into contact with something, something which gives you the impression of being -- "Yes, that's 'myself'. And this something I can move around, I can move it from my body to my vital, to my mind, I can even, if I am very ... how to put it? ... very practiced in moving it, I can move it into other people, and it's in this way that I can identify myself with things and people. I can with the help of my aspiration make it come out of my human form, rise above toward regions which are not longer this little body at all and what it contains.

And so one begins to understand what one’s consciousness is; and it's after that that one can say, "Good, I shall unite my consciousness with my psychic being and shall leave it there, so that it may be in harmony with the Divine." Or else, "If by this exercise of rising above my faculties of thinking and my intellect I can enter a region of pure light, pure knowledge ...", then one can put his consciousness there and live like that, in a luminous splendour which is above the physical form.

But first this consciousness must be mobile, and one must know how to distinguish it from the other parts of the being which in fact are its instruments, its modes of expression. The consciousness must make use of these things, and you should not mistake these things for the consciousness. You put the consciousness in these things, so you become conscious of your body, conscious of your vital, conscious of your mind, conscious of all your activities through your will for identification. But for this, first you must be sure that your consciousness is not entangled, mixed, or joined, so to say, with all these things. It must not take them for itself, must not be mistaken.

When one thinks of oneself (obviously out of millions of men perhaps there are not ten who do otherwise), one thinks "Myself ... that's my body, that's what I call 'myself', what's like this. And so, I am like that; and then my neighbour, he also is the body. When I speak of another person, I speak of his body." And so, as long as one is in this state, one is the plaything of all possible movements and has no self-control. The body is the last instrument and yet it's this which one calls 'myself' most of the time, unless one has begun to reflect."

~ Sri Aurobindo, Mother

In becoming aware of oneself, we need to learn what we are not! One of the ways to start that journey is to find that emotion is ephemeral like an itch—as it comes and goes.

A Zen disciple approached his teacher. “Master, I have an uncontrollable temper. Can you help me overcome it?”

“Hmm, that’s strange. Can you show it to me?” asked the master.

“Not right now.”

“Why not?”

“It occurs suddenly.”

“Then it can’t be a part of your true nature,” said the master. “If that were the case, you wouldn’t have any difficulty in showing it! Why do you allow something that isn’t yours to worry you?”

Thereafter, the master’s words would come back to the student whenever his temper rose. Soon, he learned to check his anger and developed a placid temperament.

~ Zen Story

Desire is the root of all suffering, but it is also what drives existence from a state of boundless love. Everything within you, including all the cells that combine to form you, have desire.

That is what holds your physical body together and allows it to function and allows the same from the whole multiverse for that matter. Viewing desire as solely a negative is missing the point of it all, as we wouldn't be here if consciousness didn't have a desire to express itself. Except that conscious desire is purposeful with full intent to experience everything, as your true desire is not for just more, it's for everything, a desire to be boundless.

Change the object of desire from reactionary to purposeful action, and you learn how to truly live and bring Heaven to Earth.

An easy way to decipher the difference between reactionary desire and purposeful action of desire is to ask: is it based in the betterment of all kind, from a state of emotional intelligence, and intent on what is being created through words and actions, rather than an ineptitude of an ego-based attitude where one is just looking solely to suit their own needs?

When physicality is all you know, there's bound to be suffering, as this is a bound state. The true aspect of you is unbound and cannot be bound by physicality.

Unbind your limitless potential by understanding the nature of ego and desire. It is important to remember the polarities and your ability to either respond pleasantly or unpleasantly. When you act or react, this is you responding, not one of the entities of the 108, and having accountability to that response or action. Your will is your power and responsibility to act and engage life fully, with the intent of creating the world you wish to create.

Our lives become beautiful not because we are perfect. Our lives become beautiful because we put our heart into whatever we do.

~ Sadhguru

As we have learned, our emotions are not us. We can start witnessing them from a new perspective and deliberately exploring them without these being a controlling factor since when we are triggered and reactionary in an emotional state, most often, the mind becomes clouded and our judgment impaired.

By recalling and exploring an emotional state later when you are not reactive to it, you may better explore what you are not to better learn what we are. This exploration I refer to as emotional welling, a meditation of drawing an emotion in to oneself then engaging a mindful exploration in witnessing. Through this you will eventually have new perceptions open up to see that suffering in a choice.

~ Mal'akhiyah

Excerpts from The Dark Kingdom 108 Monsters Within

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