That’s important: the 'in and of itself.' That helps get you out of the entanglements that come from your clinging to your suffering.
When you can look at these things as events simply on their own terms, simply as a pattern of cause and effect without asking how you’re involved in it, when you can simply see the fact of suffering as it’s being caused, then you see the connection to its cause. You realize that you don’t have to engage in the cause. That helps loosen up your attachment to the suffering.
So it’s important to understand this process: that you’re clinging to, identifying with, the very things that cause you to suffer. Even though that’s what defines you, it’s simply a definition you’ve imposed on things. You don’t really need it to function. You don’t really have to worry about being annihilated if you stop the suffering.
For many people that’s a scary idea, because the connection between their self and their suffering is so strong. This is why the Buddha focuses you back on just the suffering in and of itself.
Don’t ask who’s doing this. Don’t ask how you’re involved in it. Just ask, 'What’s happening here?' Look at things in and of themselves as events, as processes."
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