The Silver Lining of Problems and Pain
I know I haven’t been blogging so much recently. Reasons? Busy with daily life for one, and then, spending more time in silence when I can rather than in the energy of mind / thinking / concepts. Sometimes, you just need to go into silence. But here I am again and it feels good.
Being a deep thinker, when challenges arise from life’s circumstances either for myself or for others I am always intrigued at how I or they approach problems. It seems that society does not applaud an authentic approach but rather we must put a brave face on. Most of us were not given the freedom or shown how to be emotionally honest when young, so as a collective society (whether in the west or east), we grow up putting that brave face on.
For some people life can continue in this vein for a long time, even for their whole life. But what if you’re not one of these people? Perhaps you are an empath – sensitive and feeling (or having learnt to be so). Or perhaps life deals you some very challenging cards suddenly and forces you to look at yourself. Or perhaps you have entered the spiritual path where you want to explore the deeper levels of life.
Whatever the situation, what happens when you are no longer papering over the cracks but looking through them? For example, you might have issues to do with work, money, relationships, health or any number of problems that this world throws up for us. It’s hard, right?
From a deeper, spiritual perspective, there is a silver lining to our problems and pain. Put simply, it brings us closer to God. I would even say that without pain there is very little depth to our relationship with the Divine. In fact, Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist said:
There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.
I wholeheartedly agree. When we are in emotional, mental or physical pain, and see no way out easily, that moment right there is just one step away from the peace of the Divine / God. That very moment, is ripe for surrender to God. And in surrendering, we suddenly go beyond the limiting, contracted, powerless place of suffering we are trapped in and soar into empowerment, freedom and Divine ecstasy – and into a new place within ourselves, for we will be altered. A touch by God always alters us.
What the word ‘God’ points to
Now just to clarify – I use the word God but could easily use the word Divine Consciousness, All That Is, Source, and many other such words. I don’t mean the God of any religious book, with a personality or white beard or a particular name. I don’t believe in any God with a name. Yes, God can be given any name by man, it’s fine, s/he doesn’t mind! But the God I am referring to – the Original and All-Pervading Energy that allows all of life to occur in the first place, that God, has no name, no form and no favourites. This God is not just out there, but in here, in you. A truer phrase would be Divine Life Force. And as you sincerely call out to it in your pain, your consciousness becomes expanded so that it can finally reach the otherwise hidden Life Force (that is everywhere but must be reached out to through our own consciousness).
Right, having cleared up what I mean by God in this post, on with the post…
How can we experience the Divine Life Force?
All that is required is to call out to God inside ourselves. There are so many ways of doing this. Here are some:
- Simply talking to God silently. Praying, in other words
- Listening and focussing devotionally to sacred music
- Meditation with a focus of surrendering to God
- Dancing devotionally – eg Osho dance meditations
These are just some ways I like, but there are sooo many, you may have your own preferred way.
But take action too
But this doesn’t mean we only call out to God. We must do what we need to do to ‘sort our life out’. If our mental and emotional state is in turmoil we must do what we need to (improve our work / job / relationship / whatever we are facing) to get more onto an even keel in terms of the worries we have before our consciousness can be raised, because these energies will act like blocks to the Divine being experienced by us. We have to be practical and take action, not just pray! But all the while, keeping focus on the Divine.
Maybe you feel that your burden is too much, or that you did something very bad in your past, or someone did something bad to you. But know that all can be forgiven (within yourself) through reaching out to the Divine and surrendering what you carry. It just needs some courage and a desire to go beyond all of the burden without judgment. I can say from my experience this really does work. You can go from one moment of intense pain and suffering to the next of Divine ecstasy in just the space of a second. Sure, you may have had to feel pain for sometime, but when it releases it releases instantly. You shift from being your mind to the watcher of it. And in this shift lies your freedom, joy and peace that surpasses all understanding.
The Indian mystic Osho said:
I’m simply saying that there is a way to be sane. I’m saying that you can get rid of all this insanity created by the past in you. Just by being a simple witness of your thought processes.
It is simply sitting silently, witnessing the thoughts, passing before you. Just witnessing, not interfering not even judging, because the moment you judge you have lost the pure witness. The moment you say “this is good, this is bad,” you have already jumped onto the thought process.
It takes a little time to create a gap between the witness and the mind. Once the gap is there, you are in for a great surprise, that you are not the mind, that you are the witness, a watcher.
And this process of watching is the very alchemy of real religion. Because as you become more and more deeply rooted in witnessing, thoughts start disappearing. You are, but the mind is utterly empty. That’s the moment of enlightenment. That is the moment that you become for the first time an unconditioned, sane, really free human being.
“Your suffering makes you special”
Osho also said that ‘your suffering makes you special’. So if you need anything to jog you out of suffering then ponder on this deeply. We are attached to our pain and suffering. It is totally true.
At the same time the other side of the coin is true also but much easier to see – that we are attached to pleasure also. Whilst they are both the same in spiritual terms (both are ego-based) we generally don’t mind admitting to being attached to pleasure but not to pain. Still, admit it or not, we humans do like the drama of suffering.
The gift of pain
So pain offers a potentially wondrous gift. The gift is however but a potential. It becomes a reality when we seek to discover God in the midst of pain. It sounds masochistic but it is not, to say just allow yourself to suffer (when suffering arises). It is what Jiddu Krishnamurti said – pain frees you up from pain. I have said before – you have to feel it to heal it. That society at large would rather people hide their pain is something that will keep you trapped. Eckhart Tolle has said:
If your mind carries a heavy burden of past, you will experience more of the same. The past perpetuates itself through lack of presence. The quality of your consciousness at this moment is what shapes the future.
So it is imperative, if we want to experience true empowerment, joy and peace, that we avoid the tendency to hide away from difficult emotions and thoughts and show our spiritual mettle. You definitely have it – the spiritual mettle. It may not seem so but the not seeming so is just the way the cookie crumbles – that’s the process. We must go through the denial and the believing of our ego-based mind before we can know what it is like to be in the opposite space where we traverse the terrain feeling vulnerable and uncertain but are then blessed with the touch of the Divine. First we experience the downside then only can we fully appreciate the upside.
Thus by experiencing pain that very process itself is what brings us to a space of an absence of pain and of bliss.
Some would say that pain is the greatest gift and I would agree. I read somewhere recently online (can’t recall the site now) about people’s awakening and what the triggers were. A large proportion of those who had awakened cited a very difficult just before they awoke.
The phoenix rises from ashes – remember! Life truly is a miracle. It is a wondrous alchemy. When all seems lost – amazingly, it is not.
- The Mystery of God in Human Form – Swami Krishnananda - Dec 24, 2021
- The Absolute Waits Patiently - Nov 29, 2021
- God says, Remember me? (Suffering on the Awakening Path) - Oct 17, 2021