Identity and suffering

This has been in the foreground over the last few days…

There is the field of seeing/seen arising, with no inherent center anywhere.

When something arises in this field, and there is an identity, and what arises is outside of this identity, there is suffering. It can be a very mild form of suffering, or more noticeable, but it is there.


So if there is an identity of someone who enjoys quiet, and there is noise, there is suffering. Without the identity, or the attachment to the identity, it all just arises as part of the field. There is noise, there is this personality, and they are just part of the field as it happens right now.

If there is an identity of someone who wants to be free from pain, and there is pain, there is suffering. And again, without this identity or the attachment to this identity, there is just the field arising of various sensations, of pain and personality, and that is it. It all arises as the field.

If there is an identity of someone who likes beauty, and there is not beauty, there is suffering. Or someone who likes beauty, and beauty is here, there is suffering because it may and will go away. And so on.

Struggle within the field of form in the foreground

When something arises that is outside of the identity, and there is attachment to the identity, the separation and discrepancy comes to the foreground. The two aspects of the field of form, the trigger and identity/reaction, are in the foreground and apparently opposed to each other. There is a sense of discomfort and struggle.

And there is an impulse to make this discomfort and struggle go away. This is a very healthy impulse, coming partly from knowing – intuiting, sensing – that it does not have to be that way.

One solution is to reorganize the field of form, either by removing or changing the trigger or the personality/reaction. It may or may not work, and even if it works to some extent, it is only a temporary solution. The patterns are still there, waiting to come up again. And no matter how much we work at it, and how sophisticated we become at it, we can’t quite control either the wider world or our own personality. It will always be unpredictable, live its own life.

The field itself, as a field, in the foreground

The other solution is to shift the center of gravity out of a segment of the field, from the personality/human self, to the seeing of it, or even better, to the field as a whole, to the field of awake emptiness and form, inherently free from any one center, personality, a sense of I, or any other aspect of what is arising.

Now, the field itself, as a field, as awake emptiness and form, is in the foreground. And any aspects of what is arising, any triggers and personality/reactivity, arise as this field. They are all just aspects of the landscape, threads in the overall tapestry, current flavors of the field, they all blend into the field as a whole although they can also be discerned and focused on if need be.

Identity is suffering

Identity not only leads to suffering, but is suffering. It is the field taking itself to be just a segment of itself, filtering itself through a sense of I and Other, creating a sense of struggle within itself.

And the only real resolution to this is for the field to notice itself, as a field, as the field of awake emptiness and form, and all forms, including triggers and personality/reactivity, as awake emptiness, as flavors of the field, threads in the overall tapestry.


More accurately, it is an attachment to a particular identity that brings suffering. A seeing of an exclusive identity as an absolute truth. An belief in a set of thoughts that make up an identity, from the idea of I to man/woman, young/old, liberal/conservative and so on. It is a way to know how to divide the field up into I/We and Other.

Even after the field awakens to itself, there is still a conventional identity left for this human self, used just for practical purposes. The main parts of this identity are the basic ones, such as name, gender, occupation, address, phone number. In addition, there are the flavors of this personality, the likes and dislikes in many areas of life, and these are now seen as amusing quirks and flavors, not taken very seriously.

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