Have you ever wondered why an event that happens can seem to be so much easier or harder from one person to the next in the same circumstance? A great example is having a relationship end and for one person it seems to be excruciating and for the other they may be a little sad yet moving forward quickly. Why the varying degrees of suffering? Let’s look at suffering first and then we’ll breakdown the varying degrees.
Here is the basic principle behind suffering; everyone suffers and as much as we all would like to avoid it, suffering seems to be an inherent part of life itself. The Buddha himself stated, “All I teach is suffering and the end of suffering”. Even with a brilliant master and so many teachings we are still swimming in the scummy pond of suffering. So let’s break this down into something much simpler, let’s stop over thinking, wash off the scum, and go for a swim in the clean clear waters of the ocean of liberation. Now that we can enjoy!
“Oh Bhikshus, there are four noble truths. They are the noble truths of suffering, the cause of suffering, the cessation of suffering and the path to the cessation of suffering.” From the Four Noble Truths – Buddha
Since you are reading this, I can say with a fair amount of certainty, congratulations you are currently and actively walking down a path to the cessation of suffering! To help guide you on this path, here are some great internal questions to sit with to help aid you in ending your response to suffering. So sit down, relax and ask these questions in a state of observation, a moment of curiosity free from judgement, and allow the answers to naturally arise for you.
Once you have your answer, you can start your healing. And the further that you walk on the path to the cessation of suffering, I can honestly say your view of suffering will shift. Suffering is not really a bad thing, it is simply there to alert us to the momentary fact that we are not in alignment, that we are not being aware of what we really are. All grasping at things, thoughts and emotions creates suffering. Learn to relax, to graciously engage and move forward as love in action, as compassion in action, and in this embrace your true nature as a Soul. If you are basing your joy and happiness off of how you feel other people should be responding to you and your needs, this is a whole other level of suffering. And if we are really being honest with ourselves, if we look at what is behind our pain, it is always something that we are attached to that creates suffering; an outcome, how someone will act or interact on our part or towards us, etc.
If you’ve been studying with me over the past five years you are very familiar with my teachings on RELAX, allowing yourself to really relax, to open fully. To allow yourself to surrender, not from a place of defeat, rather from a state of complete trust in your Soul and what path your Soul chooses for you. Why is this so important? Because it is the only true path to Nirvana. There are many paths to walk to achieve this state, many holes to dig, however they all lead to the same place. Be kind to yourself, be kind to others, let yourself embrace your innocence and trust in a friendly universe again free from what you think it should look like. Liberate yourself from suffering, you are more than worthy!
And here is my tidbit on that promised piece on why there are varying degrees of suffering for people. It is simply this; even if you perceive that an experience should be registered at about the same point of pain from one person to the other, the simple fact is people are at different stages in their own awakening. One person may be fully engaged in the suffering stage while another has had the grace of more awareness and may be further on in the path of cessation. It is entirely up to you to choose how you wish to move through these levels.
It is far more painful to hold onto the suffering than to let it go. I can almost hear the rebuttal, but how do I let go of the suffering Brook? I can’t!... Yes you can! Think of it this way, you are holding your pain and in this case it is a 100 lb. pack that you are carrying in front of you as you walk up a steep mountain trail. No matter what you have to walk up it. Your Soul is controlling your soles and there is no stopping the feet of dharma. Yet, there is no-thing of significance in the pack, in fact it is filled with so much shit that it would be useful to put it down and let the Earth use it for what it is, fertilizer. It does no-thing for you. It makes you perceive that things are going against you and it smells so bad no one is attracted to walking up the hill with you unless they are carrying the same stinky pack. In which case you both feel comfortable and won’t call each other out on how ridiculous carrying that shit really is. So let it go. Your Soul is so patient with you that it will make the incline more steep or longer. It does this not to harm you, to GRACE you. Because, at some point, you’ll hit exhaustion where your arms give out and you cannot carry it anymore. Letting go is your liberation. Whether it is in this life, or the opportunity to try it again in another form (as in death and rebirth) you get to choose. Let go now or have another life. Your Soul is eternal, I assure you waiting is no problem. And if you are graced (which many of us are) your Soul will add a few extra pounds to help you let it go a little faster the next life or in this life if you are extremely graced. Due to the way we are wired, until we hit a certain level of awareness and can move from love, we seem to only shift with pain. Until we reach a level of awakening, if we are comfortable we will hold onto our shit forever.
So once again my friends relax. The further you relax, open and drop the illusion of control the freer you become. Allow yourself nirvana (bliss). How do you acheive this? By extinguishing the three fires of greed/ego, ignorance/delusion and aggression/anger/hatred. Letting these go or extinguishing these is as hard or as easy as you choose to make it. To get this at a deeper level look at why the Buddhists refer to it as extinguishing fire, why fire? What is a fire? Fire simply is a source of energy and we can use it to also to light our way and keep us warm. So ultimately it is up to us to choose where we get our energy from, what motivates us, what lights our way. Won’t it be wonderful when we have so many awaken that all of us choose to ignite the fire withing from making our natural energy source, our fire, the fire of love, compassion and understanding. Here is to upgrading our natural energy sources, here is to igniting the fire within in alignment with our true nature. May we all be blessed in this awakening!
To read further on the wheel of life click here for Brook’s archive blog on it.