What is the secret cause of suffering?

Deepak Chopra
Alternative & Complementary Medicine
The secret cause of suffering is unreality itself. Recently I saw dramatic evidence of this in a very ordinary way. I chanced on one of those television programs where people who were born with physical deformities are given a free makeover using the full powers of plastic surgery, dentistry, and the beautician's art. On this particular episode, the people who desperately wanted makeovers were identical twins. Only one twin wanted to change her looks; the other didn't. As adults, the twins no longer looked exactly alike. The "ugly one" in a given pair had suffered a broken nose or damaged teeth or had put on extra weight. The dramatic thing for me was how minor these cosmetic defects were compared to the intense belief, shared by both twins, that one was extremely beautiful and the other distressingly ugly. The "ugly ones" admitted that not a day went by without comparing themselves to their "beautiful" siblings.

In this TV program one could witness all the steps that lead to suffering:
  • Overlooking actual facts
  • Adopting a negative perception
  • Reinforcing that perception by obsessive thinking
  • Getting lost in the pain without looking for a way out
  • Comparing yourself to others
  • Cementing the suffering through relationships
The handbook on how to suffer would include all these steps, which build up a sense of unreality until it seems totally real. And by implication, the directions for putting an end to suffering would reverse these steps and bring the person back to reality.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.