Friday, January 20, 2017
Suffering Your Way To Peace and Happiness
What if I told you that the only way to get to 'heaven' is to travel through 'hell' first? Would you still take the journey even if you knew it would take many years to get there?
I use heaven and hell as metaphorical terms because they have differing meanings to everyone. I am simply trying to convey the thought that if the only way we can find happiness and peace is through get suffering, would we choose suffering or not?
I have spent many years studying the Buddhist philosophies, along with other belief systems, and I am true believer in reincarnation. Life is cyclical, not linear. Life is created to live, not to die. Therefore once a life has been created it will live forever, under the aforementioned assumption.
Based on the theory of reincarnation, we continue to cycle through one life after another in the material world until we transform and escape it, or continue the cycle for all of eternity, living many lives here on Earth. Within the Buddhist philosophies one much reach 'sansara' to escape the cycle and finally find true peace and happiness, what some people like to call heaven.
I share a simple basis for reincarnation to explore another belief system that I have. If we continue to cycle life and death her on Earth for generations, then it is quite likely that we chart our own life path before returning, in order to learn the lessons we require in order for 'spiritual' and self growth.
So ask yourself, if you were presented with the question I posed at the beginning before your return to material existence, would you choose to suffer greatly in order to find your idea of utopia? I have spent most of my life suffering with one or more health issues and the world has not treated me terribly well, even though I have tried to live an ethical and honest life.
I could quite easily sink into despair and let it all overcome me just like so many others out there, or I can get up each day with a strong will and positive attitude. If I simply use my choice of how I perceive things, then I can view challenges and opportunities, as opposed to barriers and problems. Also, if I take the simple assumption that I charted my own path for this time around the 'life wheel', then I have nobody to blame for anything but myself.
This realization instantly takes away our negative views of the world and makes us understand that we are putting ourselves through our life experiences for a reason. Each situation and challenge along the path was put there by ourselves so that we can learn the things we need to find peace when our material existence ends.
This realization is also where the awakening process begins. Once we realize that there is more to who we are than what we think, we begin the recognize our true self, the one that exists even when the organic materials of our bodies dies. Many people like to call this the 'soul'. The 'soul' is simply our true self! When people say 'I need to take time to find myself...', this is what they are looking for.
So many people have experienced this and I believe that eventually everyone will experience this part of the awakening process, but 'newbies' need to understand that this is just the beginning. You are not wide awake yet like you keep telling me! The only wide awake person I can find right now in the world is Eckhart Tolle.
Millions of people are reading his books, creating support and discussion groups online, and unfortunately providing advice to each other much too often. It is easy to enter ego awakening and believe that you are wide awake because you have experienced something new, and something that feels like it is yours alone, but the process then takes time. This is where true self reflection begins, and it is not a simple process.
So many people who believe they are experts in Eckhart's teachings give advice to others on how to live in the 'Now', and many of them believe that finding presence is the answer to everything. It is simply an enlightened state of consciousness. Finding it really isn't that difficult, but holding onto it is terribly difficult.
The problem is that once you have identified your ego mind and the awakening process has begun, it cannot be stopped. Your ego will create every illusion it can muster and wildly conjure up arguments within you in order to trick you into thinking you have found the answers and that you are already wide awake so you won't continue in your journey. If you already think you are wide awake, then why would you continue trying to go any further?
When negative and compulsive thinking have ceased altogether, then you can consider yourself enlightened. I wrote this to offer ideas on how our perception of things can change how we view things, and that is our true self trying to teach us the lesson we need to learn.
So, if I choose to believe that we chart our own lives, then we have nobody to blame but ourselves for everything that happens. If we choose to take on suffering in order to learn the lessons we need to learn, then can choose to face everything as a challenge, rather than a barrier. In this regard, suffering then becomes a challenge in itself. Logically speaking, if my earlier assumptions are true then the more we suffer, the greater the rewards.
Jesus and Buddha both said that life is suffering and I tend to put much weight on their words. If life is suffering then So Be It! Challenge the suffering and learn all you can, while you can. Experience presence and the 'Now', but use the reflections that come with this new understanding to grow your true self. You have to believe that goodness will be rewarded in the end just as evil will be judged accordingly.
Learn from your suffering and grow your true self. This is life's only goal!