I once owned a rifle. It was a large enough caliber to successfully end a life in one shot, if the barrel was placed properly. The idea was to place it in my mouth with my head at a 45 degree angle so the barrel would rest on the soft palate. This would allow me to reach the trigger with one had while stabilizing the barrel with the other. This angle would ensure that the bullet would travel through my mid-brain, the part of our brain responsible for our autonomic nervous system, The area that controls respiration, heart rate, blood pressure, etc. This would ensure an immediate, painless death. If the angle was off just a little, the bullet would pass through the cerebral cortex. With that caliber, this was a survivable injury that would result in permanent disability.

If I had discussed this plan with a mental health professional I would have been committed and placed on suicide watch against my will. As the only provider of my child, he would have been placed under child protective services custody. I would have been forced to take medication until I was “better”. Perhaps this approach works for some but I knew it would not for me.

Theses facts left me with two realizations. If I died, my son would have no one else. I would leave him with his highly dysfunctional mother or in the care of his grandparents. I loved him too much to part ways with him. The second realization was that I had to get ahold of my emotions if I was going to survive.

Like most who commit suicide, people often wonder why? They seemed so happy, they had their whole life ahead of them, so much potential, it is so selfish of them. On the surface this is all true. I had a great career, an amazing child, money, women, and loving and supportive friends and family. So why consider such an act?

The truth is this. It does not matter what things look like on the outside. Our well-being and happiness occurs within. This is why celebrities can be miserable and the poor can be joyful. We need to stop equating happiness with money, fame, admiration, approval, significant others, material possession, etc.

Happiness is an emotional state and nothing else can permanently create it for us. I am now happier than I have been in a very long time. Certainly not suicidal and in the physical sense I have much less. I quit my job, gave away most of my possession, broke up with my girlfriends, and moved in with my parents as a grown ass man with a child. In many ways, I feel like a child again. Free and in love with life. Things are progressing for me in unimaginable ways based purely on my heightened emotional state. However, there is still suffering at times.  I just know how to free myself of it in an appropriate way.

All the suffering in the World is a result of emotion. More accurately our inability to accept, feel and release the uncomfortable ones.  Good and Evil can be summarized as those who project their pain onto others and those who project it onto themselves. Those who project it on to others will harm, abuse, steal, rape, beat and murder their fellow Human. Those who project their suffering on themselves will become addicts, slaves to others, they will abuse and hurt themselves in multiple ways, they will commit suicide.

What is upsetting to me is that our emotions are denied, neglected and demonized. Our emotions are what make us Human. We need to stop pretending we are happy and everything is ok if it clearly is not. The painful truth is this. We were taught as children to suppress and project our emotions. They never leave us if we do not consciously learn to embrace, feel and release them. This is the true and only power we possess. Taking responsibility for how we feel at any given moment is true power. It is the power to improve our health. The power to improve our thoughts, beliefs and perspective of ourselves, others and the World we live in. It is the power to manifest a better existence. It is the power of free will. It is the power of love. Love is what transforms death into life. Love is everlasting. Love is the most powerful force in the universe. The life force that binds all living and non-living things. The energetic connection between organic and in-organic matter.

The paradox is this, love grows in the face of suffering. When we own our suffering, we grow in love. As love grows, suffering diminishes, for ourselves and all others.

Learn to meditate. Sensitize yourself to how you are feeling. When you feel an uncomfortable emotion, embrace it as yours. Do not distract yourself. Do not numb yourself. Do not burry it in your thoughts. Just feel it and allow it leave you. This is the practice that will end suffering.

Holistic Health and Consciousness Coaching

Dan McGinley RN BSN





2 thoughts on “The Reason We Suffer

  1. very nicely said. I will bring a different perspective that does not oppose. Indeed…all things considered, good and bad do exist right next to each other…always within reach. It is a matter of choice which to pick up and engage. That said…no matter what we choose, so often the choices is our best in the moment (or not…depending on how one “Judges” it).

    I’m an LVN. My field of choice? Hospice for 28 years. During my first tour, I worked in a Buddhist AIDS hospice in SF. In that place, they had a mission statement that included the word “Compassion,” and they defined it thus: To sit with suffering with the courage to bear it.” And if the the most compassionate thing was to not act to intervene…and knowing that would cause one more suffering than the mere witnessing of it…then that, too…was compassion. To sit with suffering in courage.

    To my mind, it is compassion that allows the human being to transcend…not so much the suffering itself but rather to accept that suffering exists and is part of our condition as humans. In one sense, I think compassion in the initial practice we undertake in our journey to undergo what we go through as people in witness to each other’s “Life.” And what we don’t see…Well, the consequences show up despite the face we may put on for others’ benefit.

    And life continues on…until it ends. In hospice, we formally recognize “Holistic” considerations (we used to anyway…”Industry” has changed of late). We know that suffering can be physical, psychological…SPIRITUAL. The source can be one of these…or all of these compounded.

    We often don’t consider the “Compounded” part…how things build up over time and to a point where we loose the point. It becomes so nebulous.

    Anyway…I thought I’d chime in. I really loved what you said. All true. I wanted to give a different perspective…add another degree of context…which again…does not oppose.

    Thank you so much for your courage. I have a great deal of empathy towards what you wrote. It seems…so very familiar to me…in a very personal way (never mind professionally).

    Best regards.

    Liked by 1 person

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