Perhaps it is that we are nearing the ominous start of 2012 and its dramatic predictions. But I have been thinking about suffering and how it seems more and more unnecessary to me. Might 2012 be a time when we let go of the terrible weight we load upon the idea of suffering?
Isn't it strange that love has been assigned as the cause of suffering by so many people? Oscar Wilde said, "Now it seems to me that love of some kind is the only possible explanation of the extraordinary amount of suffering that there is in the world." Actually, Buddha, in my opinion, is more correct in his statement that "Attachment is the cause of suffering." Many have misinterpreted that to mean we shouldn't feel, or love in an emotional way. Oscar Wilde also said, "To become a spectator of one's own life is to escape the suffering of life." And our modern philosopher, Woody Allen, partly corroborated this with, "To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering, one must not love. But then, one suffers from not loving."
I have thought long and often about the causes and cures of suffering. It seems to me that Buddha's statement implies a few more layers of meaning before we can really understand him. When we look to the outside world for a source of love, and give "the other" responsibility for our happiness, and become attached to that person or object or situation as the source of happiness, and then the Flow moves us on, and we experience loss and change—the resistance to that is what causes suffering. The attachment to the old, comfortable reality where love was provided to us by the world is what causes us to be ripped away from being with what is, and finding love in a new form in the present moment and in ourselves.
When we create these sorts of "gaps" in our awareness—for instance, between a desired reality and the way it actually is, or by focusing on what we don't have to such a degree that we create a void where we can't experience the true self, or Soul—then we suffer. We suffer when we don't experience Soul and wholeness. Certainly physical pain is suffering, and it is a powerful distracting force for the mind. Yet ideally, if we can return to center in the midst of physical pain, and come fully present, and direct consciousness to the experience of love and Soul in the moment, pain can dissolve. Here are a few other quotes that begin to illustrate what I want to talk about:
"It is not true that suffering ennobles the character; happiness does that sometimes, but suffering, for the most part, makes men petty and vindictive." —William Somerset Maugham
"The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love, and to be greater than our suffering." —Ben Okri
"Suffering is not good for the soul, unless it teaches you to stop suffering." —Jane Roberts
The following is a transcript of a talk—a "research reading"—I did many years ago, from a trance state, on suffering. I'm leaving it in the rhythm of the spoken sentences to perhaps convey a certain subtle energy.
"It's deceptive when people advise you to "just love yourself" and everything will be fine. Our predominant model of perceiving is linear, that is, we visualize projecting or sending love to one another. So we naturally use that image when thinking about loving ourself. But how can we get outside ourself to project love back to ourself? You cannot really be separate from yourself in order to see or love yourself. You can only BE yourself, and look out from behind your eyes, and that means if you ARE love, the only thing you can do IS love.copyright by Penney Peirce 2011
Love is who you are and love is what you do. So, don't love yourself, just love. Just love, just love, just love. "I am Love, I am Loving." Don't try to receive love: Be love. The only time we move into suffering is when we try to receive love, when we try to love other people so they will love us, or when we try to love ourselves by looking at our images through other people's eyes. Then we lose our connection with the central truth: that we ARE love and all we want is to radiate it, share it, experience it, and feel it in motion.
So if you know who you are, why do you ever stop yourself from doing this? Go into a deep state and feel the sense of truth about who you really are, and from that place say, "There's nothing else in this world except me, and I am Love, so my whole world is Love. And I will never allow anything that is not this, that does not have this quality of oneness and love, to exist in my world, in any of my dimensions. So: the alternative to suffering: the statement "I AM."
You must first have the experience of yourself, and second, you must bring that experience into the body, into the here and now. It must become a feeling. How do you do that? You center. Bring your awareness inside your skin: Here. What does "here" denote? It denotes the body, it denotes space. Then you get into the now. Now denotes time. Time and space—you must put yourself squarely in the intersection of time and space where your physical body exists. You are coming into alignment with that location. And as you do you say, "I am Love; and I am Here; and I am Now. 100%. There's not one part of me that isn't Love, not one part of me that isn't Light. I am everything." This is what we might call the warrior's stance—total presence, total conviction, total knowledge, no doubt. So, you are Love, you are Here, you are Now, you are in the body, you have BECOME the body AS the higher superconsciousness, or Soul.
Next start expanding the bubble of your present moment in terms of space and time. So from the awareness of being the body, next become the aura: "I am everything around me for 3 feet, 5 feet, 10 feet, above and below. I am the luminous egg. I have no skin; my body is open. I am light permeating everywhere. I am a collection of particles of light floating in space; a ball of light." Let the light clear until you simply feel its diamond presence in everything around you, and keep expanding yourself, gradually including everything into your conscious awareness, until you reach a point where nothing in this world exists outside you. "I am the world; the earth exists inside my consciousness; the peoples of the world live inside of me. The solar system lives inside my awareness."
You can go as far as you want, making the universe personal—then you can come back again. But realize that as you increase your awareness of size, which is space—you also increase the amount of time you have. You empower yourself for action, because you have unlimited time and space. And, if you have included other people inside your consciousness, they are being created by you and are therefore a part of you, an aspect of you. They must know you. And they must be embodying a certain thought or facet of your identity because they include you as well. So there is a learning here—that as you look at others and say, This is me. How is this me? What is the message they bring?, then you know more about your own inner dynamics and the ingenuity of your creativity.
The skin is no boundary. What occurs inside your mind, the thoughts that are seeded to you from the inner self, are also happening in the outer mind, that which we often refer to as the environment, or your world, or your reality. The environment is your outer self. The inner and outer selves always act in unison, so that if you will start matching up or aligning the occurrences in the world with the same thoughts inside your brain, you will feel bigger, more confident and at peace, and more of your Soul will be available to the conscious you.
To summarize a bit, then: The key to ending suffering is to be fully present, here and now, as your true Soul-self, including others within you as that Self. If your Self is Love, they are Love. If you are in harmony, they are in harmony. If you are Love, your whole world is Love if you have merged with your world. If you are loving, the world is loving, the people in your world are loving, loving anything in their world, and if you come near them, they love you. You are "in love" together. If you are your Soul-self, there is no suffering. And yet there will be people who occur within you who still act as though they are suffering. Just be with them. Don't believe them. Say, "I hear you, and I KNOW you are not hearing your Soul. I am going to be with you, fully, for even just one moment. I am going to see the real You."
Let them feel your presence, let them merge into it as much as they wish, let them become you, as you become them. Let the beingness equalize, and your certainty will transfer to them and they will KNOW. And it won't be you who's done it, it will be the Soul that has done it. It's your alignment with and affirmation of what is already so, being communicated to the part of them that knows this is true as well, to that little spark inside them which has never been blown out. That little spark perks up, says "You are right! That's what I've been waiting for, and now I can come into activation. And I will displace through my own presence all that is not true in this personality." When this occurs, there may easily be instantaneous healings, remissions, sudden personality changes, and spiritual transformations."