"This is the threat to our lives. We all face it. We all operate in our society in relation to a system. Now is the system going to eat you up and relieve you of your humanity or are you going to be able to use the system to human purposes? … If the person doesn’t listen to the demands of his own spiritual and heart life and insists on a certain program, you’re going to have a schizophrenic crack-up. The person has put himself off center. He has aligned himself with a programmatic life and it’s not the one the body’s interested in at all. And the world’s full of people who have stopped listening to themselves."

— Joseph Campbell
5 Causes of Suffering: Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras

Ignorance of who we really are (we are beings of unconditional love and bliss, but we forget that)
Egoism: Our ego fools us into thinking that our labels/title in life define who we are: Intellect, Business Exec., Lawyer, Teacher, Mother, Daughter, etc. We develop programs which have nothing at all to do with who we really are but are merely what we do. Who we are is a much more esoteric force and is often buried deep inside the body we live in and which we observe.
Attachment: This is our need to cling to what brings us pleasure. When we attach our happiness to having a person or a thing and that disappears, what follows is great suffering. Learn to let go.
Resistance of what we do not want. This is the same as denial. We create all forms of ways to avoid both what will lead to freedom from pain because we do not want to go through the passage of looking at what we might not want to deal with.
Fear of death. If this weren’t present in most of us, we wouldn’t hold on to all the reasons we work so hard to build in safety nets, both physically and emotionally.


“The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation.

For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.”
— Neil Degrasse Tyson


We work in the dark - we do what we can - we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.
—  Henry James
Row of Trees, Jan Mankes, 1915