If we take all unhappy emotions and sensations down to their roots, we will see that it is fear, not the actual sensation that is the cause of all the trouble. We slam our finger in the door. No one will deny it hurts. But if we start picturing a broken finger, how impaired our action will be, the expense of going to a doctor, time off from work with possible financial consequences, being sidelined from fun activities, then we add even more to our misery. Now we are entering the territory of suffering.
If we take away all the fearful thoughts and just experience the pain for what it is: The body’s perfect warning system that something isn’t right—then we can deal with it. We can take measures to heal it, to ease the pain, and to learn from the whole experience. But if we descend into fear, not only will the healing process be delayed (due to the secretion of stress hormones) but the pain will be accentuated.
Suffering is prolonged misery. If we are fearless and trust the process of life, we will still have the ups and downs that are normal—but we won’t suffer through them. This is a function of the Soul and not of the ego-mind, which is a fear-based entity whose natural milieu is worry and fear. It thinks we need fear to survive and therefore we are doomed to suffer if we listen to it.