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Awareness can end your suffering

By Sadhguru Email By Sadhguru
March 2021
Awareness can end your suffering

The following is a transcription of a spoken discourse. To maintain the style and authenticity of Sadhguru’s spoken words, we have retained the original language instead of conforming it to our standard style book.

Why didn’t the universe create everyone equal? Why are some handicapped, and others able-bodied? Why are some poor, and others rich? What is the point of all this terrible inequality?

Pause and examine this with absolute clarity. You will see that the primary cause of human suffering is not physical handicap or poverty, but oneself.

Let us first make the distinction between pain and suffering. Pain is physical; it is useful as a valuable wake-up call when there is injury to the body. Suffering, on the other hand, is psychological. It is hundred percent self-manufactured. You don’t have a choice about being in pain, but you can always choose not to suffer.

A situation by itself does not cause misery. It is how you react to it. Human beings are capable of suffering just about anything. Someone doesn’t have a job, so he suffers. Someone has a job, so he suffers even more. Someone isn’t married, so he suffers. Someone got married, and now he is in agony! Someone is distraught that he has no children. Someone else has children, and so lives in constant anxiety.

Generally, the word ‘karma’ is used in a rudimentary way to suggest that you did something bad and so you are doomed to suffer. This is a simplistic understanding.

Karma has nothing to do with moralistic categories of good and bad; it is only related to cause and effect. If a man complains that his heart is clogged up, is it because he committed some terrible crime? No. It is much more likely that he lived irresponsibly, ate and drank improperly, and messed up his system.

Someone recently told me about a friend who had lost the use of his hand. Now, the accident was unfortunate. But the question is whether you would suffer from having too many hands. All Indian gods are presented in iconography with four hands or more. But if you were granted four hands, you’d probably think you were a freak, and suffer for sure.

Pain is physical, but suffering is only of the mind. If you are suffering mentally, it means that you are manufacturing your own anguish. In other words, your karma cannot turn into suffering without your cooperation.

But with awareness, you reach the end of suffering.

Your karmic inheritance may contain all the necessary ingredients to create suffering. But you always have the choice not to manufacture suffering for yourself today! The source of your misery is not your past actions, but how you process the imprint of the past now. You may be carrying around a sackful of stinking garbage. You can either smear yourself with it and get miserable; or you can make good manure out of it and create a wonderful garden.

Karma is the seed. What you are going to make out of this seed is up to you. A large part of agriculture is, in fact, just weeding. The same holds true for life. You have your seed karma. But you also have your weeding karma. If you decide not to perform your weeding karma, your life will be just an overgrown wilderness. If you choose to perform this simple activity, however, your life could yield an incredibly rich harvest.


Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, and visionary, and a prominent spiritual leader. An author, poet, and internationally renowned speaker, Sadhguru is the founder of Isha Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to human wellbeing. (www.isha.sadhguru.org)


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