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Suffering

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For the moment, the veil of pain has lifted- so weep not for me- for my pain seems to have end. Rather weep for those whose pain is unending- inescapable- made bearable by love, yet ever present- to them offer your greatest love. Remember also- there are many kinds of pain....

It is said that suffering is part of life- that it gives life meaning. The meaning we discover in our own suffering and those we love is what gives us our life purpose. That and the discovery of oneness- of the need for love- love which while it can not totally diminish suffering, transforms its meaning. In youth we often feel invulnerable- death seems an infinity away. As youth passes our closeness to death brings us realization of our human frailty- the frailty of our very existence and all we hold dear. Life becomes a series of inevitable partings- parting from our loved ones, parting from our health and well being, parting from illusion. Each moment is valued for itself- we become thankful for the simple things- the ability to see, hear, a day without pain, the touch of a loved one, a kiss, a smile, a silent tear.

What sustains us is a closeness with truth- the truth of our existence. The universe seems less chance than purpose. We move in a realm of thoughts and emotions that attract and repel us to the vagaries of self imposed reality. As the mystery of our life unravels we discover not so much our world but ourselves- who we are. The undying quest- the quest for the truth of our existence.

Life is but a shadow- a dream. A waking dream, yet somehow more- sadness, joy, anger, loneliness, rejection, anxiety, self doubt, pain and finally- yes, suffering. 

Community, communion with others, is what makes us human. The more we isolate and separate ourselves from others the less human we become and the more difficult it is to sustain ourselves and find meaning.

To deny the existence of something because it is unseen is unwise. The search for meaning is a journey- we can not possibly know what will be at it's end- if it were so, it would not be a journey at all. Yet in our journey, we need a guide. Preferably one that guides us without telling us- one that allows us the fruits of self discovery, the pain of failure and loss, yet envelopes us in love. For me this is God- for you, it may not be. Yet, without God the journey seems awfully lonely and I in my infinite finiteness, might not even attempt the journey without His love. 

I am at the center of the Universe. I am where all creation comes into being and dissolves. At the edge of existence and non-existence. It is dark- yet suffused with the creationís light. I feel incredible pain- I feel the motherís pain as she gives birth. Immersed in pain I begin to heal. Pain is transmuted- as water to wine or wine to water.

Judgment gives way to acceptance and compassion. Fully Abandoning what is false I can now embrace the true. Finally I can fully manifest who I am.

In the darkest night there is light. In the abandonment of hope, there is hope. There is no pain to great and love to small.

I am at the dark night of the soul- yet I have not rejected- I walk between worlds- living in both light and darkness. The transmuting of pain is my birthing into a new life.

"It is difficult to truly understand someone else's pain- physical or psychic. It is important to be non-judgmental, even when that pain becomes a source of your own pain. It is always a delicate balance between wanting to help and respecting another's desires and needs. Perhaps all that matters is that we are sensitive to this and do our best. Not every problem has a solution and some things take time to heal."

"I donít know if I will ever be able to walk again- as I once did. I must focus on each moment- one second, one hour, one day at a time. We only live in the moment. There is no yesterday or tomorrow. I wish someone would hug me, hold me, help me to forget the pain and fear.  Help me to not forget the love."

"Oh compassionate mother- I pray to you that I may again hear without impediment, that I may experience the silence and the beauty therein. I write this from my innermost being and with all my love. So many suffer and go on. The human condition requires- demands-begs for compassion. Help me- help us to show compassion for ourselves- for each other. You are the light of which we are all part- we come from you, live in you and return to you. I came because I love the light"

My body is like  a surprise machine- an electrical storm- never knowing when the next twitch- the next pain moving quickly through the bodyís ether- here and gone.  I seek relief from the storm- and understanding of its cause and protection- a peace. Yet I have a fear- where is the next rain- the next thunder the next storm.

"Part of the spiritual path is the acceptance of death. Yes, one recognizes the continuity of spirit and that death is in some sense moving from one plane to the next- a kind of shift in consciousness. Life itself is an illusion and all is but dreamed and the dreaming worlds more real than the physical- though the two subtly merge. I do not believe that this is my time to die. Yet I must learn to accept its inevitability and truth- or any spiritual pursuit will be less than full, if not quite empty. I don't believe there is any other way to progress spiritually."


"Suffering it seems is the ultimate expression of duality and false understanding. Saying this is not to belittle the condition of those who suffer- which of course includes you and I. However, my understanding and experience of non-self seems to teach me that stripped of the karmic attachments and accoutrements of this existence- we are left with a Buddha nature that is one with everything, exists in perfect awareness and bliss- with an infinite understanding of love. In the end that is all there is. There is nothing else. Words cannot describe this. It is not joy- nor the opposite. It is just what is.

Compassion is helping extend this awareness to others- an awareness of their true nature and oneness.

 Isnít it an amazing and freeing realization that all that we think of as ourselves- our identity- our emotions, thoughts, feelings, etc. are not in any way who we are. Meditation teaches this in a very basic way- here we see how fleeting and ephemeral our thoughts are- how then can these thoughts define who we are?- they are the very embodiment of impermanence."  

Lowell Greenberg


"To overcome life and death is to know the greatest of mastery." Yagyu Munenori

"Be true to the thought of the moment and avoid distraction. Other than continuing to exert yourself, enter into nothing else, but go to the extent of living single thought by single thought." Yamamoto Tsunetomo

"Keep walking, though there's no place to get to. Don't try to see through the distances. That's not for human beings. Move within, but don't move the way fear makes you move. Walk to the well. Turn as the earth and moon turn, circling what they love."
Jelaluddin Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks from "The Essential Rumi."

"You showed me how, how to leave myself behind. How to turn down the noise in my mind. Now I haven't got time for the pain- I haven't got room for the pain- I haven't the need for the pain. Not since I've known you. ...Sufferin' was the only thing made me feel I was alive. Thought that's just how much it cost to survive in this world- 'Til you showed me how, how to fill my heart with love. How to open up and drink in all that white light Pourin' down from the heaven. "Haven't Got Time For the Pain," Words and music by Carly Simon and Jacob Brackman.

"It costs so much to be a full human being that there are very few who have the enlightenment or the courage to pay the price... One has to abandon altogether the search for security, and reach out to the risk of living with both arms. One has to embrace the world like a lover. One has to accept pain as a condition of existence. One has to count doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing. One needs a will stubborn in conflict, but apt always to total acceptance of every consequence of living and dying." Morris L. West, The Shoes Of The Fisherman

"We can never know the depth of anotherís pain, only be there to listen, to hold, to say how it is with us. When we lose a child to death, the pain never goes away, we simply learn, through practice, how to live in spite of it, or through it, partly by coming together with others who grieve, and partly by expressing our need for hugs and surrounding us with friends who never, ever back away." Charlene Baldridge, To ache and to bloom

"Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit. Eventually everyone begins to recognize, however dimly, that there must be a better way. As this recognition becomes firmly established, it becomes a turning point."  A Course in Miracles
 



Gathering Strength
© Dana Tiger
"Throughout life each of us endures both painful hardships and soaring triumphs. Lessons are inherent in each experience if we will only listen.

We grow by remaining fully conscious of the gifts we are given. Our responsibility to ourselves and the world is to seek out knowledge and act on what we learn.

We must breathe deeply, trust ourselves, be unashamed, and gather strength from the lessons learned on our individual journeys to become whole." - Diana Tiger
 

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