The Five Causes of Suffering

The Five Causes of Suffering

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Author Daniel Parmeggiani explains how mental and spiritual suffering come down to a lack of self-acceptance, connection, meaning, fairness, and safety.  

Our own negative thoughts can make our lives a living hell. I was in that situation growing up, and my inner prison became so tortuous that I simply couldn’t live with myself any longer.

Things got so bad that I became obsessed with one question and one question only:  What does it take to end this suffering and find true, lasting happiness? I wanted the truth, I needed the truth, and eventually, I was able to confirm that it’s no joke:

The truth shall indeed, set you free.

The truth that I found was magnificent and freed me from my mental prison. I now feel blessed for the opportunity to share what I learned, and today I want to share the true causes of our suffering.

First of all, I should point out that suffering does not come naturally to us. Of course, I’m referring not to physical suffering or pain but to the psychological and spiritual suffering that creates our inner hells. I say it doesn’t come naturally to us because as any small healthy child will exemplify, when our mental slate is clean we are naturally happy, peaceful and loving beings. For these few precious years, our minds lack any negative thoughts or beliefs about ourselves and our world, and we get a taste of the inner heaven we all long for.

So what happens to us that takes away that happiness? Why does our inner heaven so often turn into an inner hell? As I meditated on these questions, I identified 5 common areas in which we lose our sense of harmony as we grow older. As I pointed out in my last post, happiness is the perception of harmony in our lives, while suffering is the perception of disharmony.

The 5 causes of suffering

1)      Lack of self-acceptance

As small children, we do not question their self-worth. We never wonder if we’re good or bad, guilty or innocent, worthy or unworthy, complete or incomplete, a success or a failure. Our minds ignore even the possibility that there could be something wrong with us as beings, and we are totally at ease with ourselves. As we grow up, this state of pure being is then replaced with self-doubt and the constant need to prove ourselves worthy of our own self-approval.

2)      Lack of connection

We all share a deep longing for true connection with others. Like the cells in our bodies, we need to feel as if we are an integral part of something greater than ourselves, part of a whole, and not just isolated, separate fragments. We need to love and be loved, and as small children, we have total harmony in this area. We feel a complete bond with our parents and sense their unconditional love. Have you ever been approached by a 2-year old you’ve never met? They are totally open and transparent, with no fear of rejection, no judgment, nothing but a big smile on their face. Later, we all know what happens – we put our guard up, hide our true selves, and find it very hard to truly connect with each other and find that unconditional love we hunger for.

3)      Lack of meaning

The world, as viewed through a child’s eyes, is filled with wonder and meaning. Everything around them is a mystery to be discovered. Every experience, every touch, every sound, every new sight is an amazing experience all of its own. Unfortunately, we lose that deep sense of meaning as we grow older, as our magical new world of discovery is replaced by the cold, hard facts we learn in school. We also become exposed to our dry, scientific, materialistic world-view where there is no real meaning to be found. As life loses its mystery, wonder and depth it inevitably loses its meaning. What could be meaningful about a godless temporary existence? What is so special about life if it is just some accidental phenomenon? Why care too much about anything if it is all going to end anyways? What is the point of it all without a lasting higher purpose? True fulfillment is impossible as long as we hang on to this myopic world view and remain in the dark about our true spiritual identity.

4)      Lack of fairness

A game that lacks depth, mystery and meaning is boring and hardly worth playing. But when fair rules are also missing, the game of life can frustrate and embitter us to our very core. We are all born with an inherent need for fairness and, as children we remain blissfully unaware of the apparent injustices of life. Inevitably however, as we grow older all that changes. In a world with so many inequities where senseless tragedies occur every day, our need for fairness is constantly frustrated. The only way to make sense of things, and end our suffering in this area, is to focus on the big picture and view everything that happens as a necessary step on our spiritual paths.

5)      Lack of safety

As children, we feel totally safe, loved, protected, and we are unaware that our bodies are vulnerable and come with an expiration date. But our souls long for an eternal, unthreatened existence. We cannot truly relax and feel completely at ease as long as we buy into the illusion that we are just this temporary, fleeting existence. Deep down, we long for much more than that and our true, eternal spiritual nature must be embraced to find true, lasting happiness.

So there you have it, the five common causes of suffering. The beliefs and ideas that cause these insecurities are not present during the first few years of our lives, and so we don’t experience any non-physical suffering. We can all return to that permanently blissful place that is our rightful home simply by replacing all these negative, false beliefs with the magnificent truth of who we really are. We are absolutely innocent, unquestionably worthy, eternal and unlimited spiritual beings on a journey of awakening, and everything that ever happens contributes to this global awakening to who we really are.

Knowing that we share the same 5 causes of suffering is a crucial step to understanding and embracing our behavior and finding unconditional acceptance for ourselves and others. My internationally bestselling book, The Magnificent Truths of Our Existence, leads you on a step-by-step healing path to discovering that the harmony you seek is already present and need only be recognized. Click here to receive great bonus gifts to go along with your purchase.

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Thanks for checking in, and may these truths bring you the perfect happiness, love and inner peace that you so rightfully deserve.

Daniel Parmeggiani
9th June 2014

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  • Jun 09
  • DANIEL F. Parmeggiani

DANIEL F. Parmeggiani

DANIEL F. Parmeggiani

Daniel Parmeggiani is a modern-day spiritual teacher whose approach is unaligned with any particular religion or tradition. Driven by intense psychological turmoil, Daniel discovered within himself a deeper reality that not only saved his life, it also showed him the way to permanent happiness and inner peace. Daniel believes it is his mission to share these magnificent, healing truths with the world. He lives in Pompano Beach, Florida, with his wife, Susan, and their dog, Chewy. Read More


7 thoughts on “The Five Causes of Suffering”

  • Yes. We have to recognize and understand where we are at in life before we can journey to where we are meant to be. If we know we are suffering, we can do simple things to heal each of the things you mention. We can accept ourselves and others, we can reach out and connect, we can choose our meaning, et cetera.

  • Spot on with this write-up, I actually tthink this web site needs a
    great deal morfe attention. I’ll probably be back again to read more, thanks for the information!

  • Very interesting.I think that having these five things can also affect our perspective on physical suffering and how we respond to it. If we can reconcile these five areas within ourselves then that releases us to use our energy to get on and deal with the physical suffering, rather than get trapped in the “why” questions and the downward spiral of doom and gloom. I live with infertility and Multiple Sclerosis

    1. Excellent point, Rachel. We tend to compound our physical suffering with unnecessary mental suffering, which usually is far worse than just the physical aspect. All mental suffering disappears when we cease to resist the situation. Then we are left with a far more manageable physical condition.

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