Master Stephen Co says that our spiritual identity is constant. Therefore, in times of uncertainty, resting upon eternal spiritual truths gives us inspiration, inner strength and infallible confidence in the Grace of God.
Whatever you are going through, it is not unique. It’s not a matter of what is happening, it’s how you respond to it. Buddha taught about the 4 Noble Truths and suffering. To simplify them, basically they are: 1. There is suffering in life. 2. What the cause of suffering is. 3. This suffering can end. 4. How to end the suffering.
In Buddhism there are many descriptions of different experiences of suffering. Suffering can come as a result of 3 C’s. The law of CHANGE. The law of CYCLES. The law of CONSEQUENCE - otherwise known as cause and effect or the law of Karma. Basically it means that whatever you do, hits you back so if you don’t want it slapped back, don’t throw it out. Or throw out that which you want to hit you back. Of these 3 C’s change and the cycles of life are inevitable. We can only influence the law of Karma and thus our suffering by what we put out in the world by our thoughts, actions, and emotions. If you want to experience more joy and peace then give out more joy and peace.
If we are generating harmonious thoughts, emotions and doing good to others, we are more likely to receive the same in return.
Another source of our suffering is repetitive negative or untrue thoughts about ourselves. Energy follows thought. You cannot say not to think about your left hand and not think of your left hand. We become what we meditate on.
Suffering is directly linked to the story we make up about or choose to believe about a situation, about life, others and ourself. It is what we make it mean or decide about it.
We are programmed to see through the lenses of our past experiences and will often perpetuate the cycle of pain by looking to validate and reinforce our programmed sense of self. “I am bad... I am not good enough.... I am unlovable.... I am a pain in the ass... I am invisible etc...”. See... there it is again....
We get in this self perpetuating loop of self-induced suffering. (I am going to write about this suffering loop in another post).
Buddha contributes much of our suffering in life to either craving or aversion. That is either the attachment to the desire to have (craving) or the desire not to have (aversion).
It is wanting what I-want to be and wanting what-is to not be.
Or as Dan Millman puts it:
“If you don't get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don't want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can't hold on to it forever. Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death. But change is a law, and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.”
So even if we manage to get what we want, we often have an aversion to change that these things will disappear. The Truth is we live by the law of Impermanence where change is always constant.
I will go a bit further and suggest that it’s not even so much about what we have or don’t have as it is really about what we think having or not having will make us feel. We may say we want the nice things so we can feel a sense of pleasure, a feeling of freedom or praise. We say we want money when we really want to experience freedom. Then we don’t want something because we are afraid to feel the emotions we don’t want to feel such as pain, disappointment or loneliness.
We either want something so we can feel a something way or we avoid something in order not to feel something.
Suffering does come to an end but no one said how long before it comes to an end. How fast it ends is dependent on one thing. CHOICE. We always have the choice to wallow in the mud or let it pass.
Of all the things we have in our existence... there is something you can never get rid of that will always be with you. It is your true self.
Peace is there when there’s no craving and aversion, fear and worry. Peace is in that emptiness, is unconditional and unlimited by the conditions and ability of the the body, the state of mind, energy, actions or inactions of the body or mind, nor the condition of the environment.
Wherever we are, whatever we do and don’t do, peace is already there in us. Realizing real peace is in our true nature, we don’t need to do something or go somewhere to be in peace. This real peace never never changes or disappears.
Remember when I said we become what we meditate on? That energy follows thought? When we meditate, we experience stillness which is the absence of negative thought or emotion energy, either what we have generated or someone projected onto our energy body.
Spiritual light comes down into our crown. There’s a spiritual cord where spiritual light comes in. Everyone has it, otherwise you’d be dead. When doing deep meditation that energy acts as a flushing agent. We can flush out all thoughts and emotions that do not serve us.
Without craving and aversion, there is no fear, worry or doubt. In the absence there is nothing but peace. When most of the junk is out, what is left is nothing. It is blank. It’s not a thing. We are filled with spiritual energy as though time stands still. You are changing, converting, alchemy to transmute these lower level vibrations into peace or even bliss.
Oh come on, yeah right... you may say but my life is a crap shoot mess. How can you say I can be at peace with all of this? First of all there is suffering in life and second of all we can minimize and end the suffering and this is something that we can learn and choose to do and get better at with practice.
The next post I will write about ending suffering through the 8 Fold Path.