To understand suffering we have to first answer the question: “Who suffers?”
We must keep in mind that we have an ego-identity. This is what we call as the self. But Yogis say that this is not our true identity. Underneath our ego-identity there is our true identity that is known as the Self with the capital “S”.
Ramana Maharshi often said that since there was no suffering in the Self, all suffering must inevitably be a product of the mind. The ego-identity is the one that experiences suffering.
When somebody asked him, “Is there no way to escape from worldly suffering?” He gave a typical reply: “The only remedy is to remain in the state of Self without losing awareness of it.”
When our awareness resides with the Self, we are in a state of Yoga. So to answer the question on how to escape suffering, the answer is to practice Yoga and remain as close to the Self as possible.
To clarify, Yoga is not just about practicing Yoga postures. This is just one limb of Yoga and a great starting point. The full practice of Yoga consists of 8 limbs and the primary limbs are the ones that are related to meditation. Since it is not easy to practice meditation it is important to practice all 8 limbs of yoga to gradually deepen your meditation experience. The full practice of yoga leads to the gradual reduction of the ego-self. Our awareness is increasingly expressed through the Self rather than the ego-self. This leads to a great flowering of love and happiness in our lives and a sharp reduction in suffering.
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