I will begin by referencing “isolated insights,” which can then form a pattern of related insights. Eventually, I will bridge that topic to “superior living” (or insightful living… as distinct from a life with a few isolated adaptions that are insightful).
So, I was taught that suffering is an effect. It is something that can happen “to” anyone. Eventually, I discovered that it could also be an activity (or a way of relating to some detail of life).
As an example, there was once some hot food in a hot oven. I opened the oven to remove the food and I was startled by how hot it was. It burned me slightly.
Was that “suffering?” Or was that just pain and getting a burn?
Then, I stuck my whole arm in to the oven and said “who the fuck turned this oven to 400 degrees? That is WAY too hot. It should be 350! Doesn’t anyone read the god damn instructions anymore? You are the reason that my arm hairs are getting melted right now! How could you do this to me?!?!”
However, end the underlying neurological state of hysteria, and the suffering is “uprooted.” Some people can experience “attacks” of hysteria (such as from hypoxia / hypocapnia/ neurological inflammation/ acidity). However, for those without a chronic case of barely-suppressed hysteria, then the “normal” circumstantial triggers in daily life that would cause an eruption of “suffering” are no longer “so irritating / disturbing.”Are people being attacked by anxiety or panic or asthma (or, in a “heart attack,” by their heart)? Not exactly. The attack itself is the “demon” that possesses someone and then attacks them. We are in the midst of a modern religion of demon worship (in which we worship demons like cancer or asthma or allergies, which we might say “possess” an organism). What is a more precise or attentive way to reference those kind of developments?To paraphrase the New Testament (from Titus 1:15), the one who is already somewhat disturbed emotionally will find many triggers that “disturb them.” However, the one who has a pure heart like a mirror will simply reflect back whatever passes in front of the mirror. The mirror itself will not be disturbed by whatever it reflects.
But a mirror covered in steam will make everything cloudy. A mirror that is bent will distort everything it reflects.
So, back to my example of a reaching in to a hot oven, what was so disturbing about the heat? Was it really the heat of the oven? What about when there is no longer any heat in that oven? What about if I remove my arm from the hot area?
Just removing the arm from the oven is not enough to end the verbal suffering. People can continue to suffer from something that happened minutes ago… Or even decades ago.
So, there is a possibility of salvation, the uprooting of all potential for suffering (ending the neurological context in which verbal suffering COULD develop). Further, there is the more accessible possibility of discontinuing a particular practice of suffering (about a specific idea). Note that we do not suffer from what happened. We suffer from ideas (as in fantasies or even delusions) ABOUT what happened (or about what MAY happen in the future).
Someone can communicate to me an alternative way of relating to something which is not “suffering that thing.” Maybe I previously organized a particular historical incident to be part of an ongoing narrative about being victimized.
I constructed a social persona around that narrative. I filtered my perceptions through that narrative. I selected what fits my narrative, ignoring everything else, plus inventing or distorting details in order to serve my narrative.
However, a victimhood narrative itself is not the problem. They can be silly or even hilarious. Believing a victimhood narrative sincerely (even desperately or hysterically) can be quite a problem though.
So, I cannot “remove” the history of ever having practiced a victimhood narrative and why would I want to? Is it “victimizing me,” too?
It is just a practice. When someone is in distress (or hysteria) they send a social signal of “help me,” and organizing a victimhood narrative is a typical way to do that. The narrative itself is not important (except if it temporarily is).
So, there are a few stages of “recovery” from a habit or addiction to victimhood narratives. First, recognize what verbal suffering is (as in a practice of hysterically relating to something from a victimhood narrative). Then, recognize that the verbal practice of suffering is optional.
Next, get help. Also, get the relevant help. People do not really need help with the oven “which has been victimizing me.” The demons that they worship may have no power beyond what they give them. But, it is fine for them to say “the hot oven has been victimizing me” to start a conversation, right? The purpose of any tantrum is to attract attention, so if it produces that result, the rest is trivia.
We do not need to remove the oven from the kitchen. We do not need to urgently pour buckets of ice in to the oven. Removing the arm from the oven is enough.
So, we can help each other to be alert to victimhood narratives as well as alert to alternative narratives (like “self-empowerment” and so on). However, there can be a real transition for people to go from hysterical victimhood to being humbly open about getting help with hysteria. If we do not have a well-developed perceptiveness about who to trust, then we also must develop it from experimentation. For one who is anxious about their lack of emotional stability being revealed or “taken advantage of,” then experimenting responsibly can seem terrifying….
Eventually, one instance of hysteria at a time, we can process through our inattentive use of language. We can develop attentiveness to language on our own (in seclusion) and together (in conversation).
We can offer to interrupt each other’s linguistic suffering rituals. We can request and invite help from each other (again, not from just anyone, but from those who are perceived to be appropriate).
We might even occasionally be wrong about who to entrust with what responsibility. All of that is part of the learning process. Through disappointment, we get motivated to develop in our selectiveness of who to entrust.
So, there is recognizing what suffering is, recognizing the common foundation of a victimhood narrative, then interrupting each specific instance of a victimhood narrative. Finally, after those three initial issues (or “noble truths”), there is living in a way that uproots the vulnerability to hysteria. We shift from the victimhood narrative as a primary narrative to a more creative, more effective narrative. We shift toward “mindful living” or “healthy living.”
That can involve several changes to how we use time and money and so on. Those go beyond occasional “helpful conversations” and “healthy communication.”
So, jumping over to the subject of neurochemistry (serotonin and so on), a psychiatric approach to someone who is in a house that is on fire would be to suppress their body’s ability to produce stress hormones like adrenalin (or whatever). Medicine of that kind just suppresses symptoms. It is a coping mechanism for temporary tolerance of an unhealthy environment.
“Oh, look, your blood pressure is too high. Let’s fix that problem!”
That is much more harmful than something like a “practice” of calm breathing. However, the use of toxic medications can be appropriate for battlefield emergencies (as well as for systematically profiting from the ignorance of the medical patients).
What would a more enlightened approach be? Consider why the blood pressure is high. If your home is on fire, could that trigger a HEALTHY rise in blood pressure to levels that indicate an UNHEALTHY lifestyle or living condition?
So, a more enlightened approach would be “do NOT suppress the high blood pressure or the adrenalin. First, exit the building that is on fire (or at least remove your arm from out of the hot oven). Then, USE that adrenalin to PUT OUT THE FIRE.”
Does the heart need to pump lots of blood to the “fight or flight” muscles? If so, help it to do so well. If not, then alter the process that is sending those signals to increase the pumping.
Rather than mess up the receptors for the signals or block the transmission of the signals (which are both popular interventions for high blood pressure, by the way), we can respect that the brain is the source of those signals. Improve the brain’s ability to accurately identify real dangers as well as to “downgrade from high alert to calm” (when appropriate).
It is not ideal (from a health perspective) to numb the brain (to make it unable to produce stress hormones). Stress is not the problem. Stressors (like having an arm in a hot oven) are the problem.
Stress hormones are part of the solution. Much of modern commercial medicine is about interfering with the natural solution (although that can produce long-term customers / prescription drug addicts and thus lots of profits).
What is a good way to create a drug addict? Invalidate their body’s natural response of anxiety and tell them that anxiety is a shameful problem which can be “permanently” fixed simply by taking $14 of drugs twice a day for the rest of their life.
Is it profitable to assist people in RESOLVING an individual cause of stress or anxiety? Generally, that is not as profitable as making them in to a drug addict.
Is it profitable to assist people in relieving their underlying vulnerability to distress and shame and hysteria? Generally, it is much more profitable to promote an emotional instability in the general population that is widespread and crippling. In particular, for those who conduct the business of government wealth extraction, it is important to keep the overall morale of the taxpayers very low (and their desperate loyalty to delusions about political salvation very high).
However, there may be cases in which I am interested in the emotional health of specific people. Plus, I may value cultivating a network of people who are all relatively stable and mature (rather than relatively hysterical).