A Perspective on Suffering

As a human it can be difficult to understand suffering (the word “suffering” here generally meaning “negative experience”). But from the greater perspective of the spirit, the potential to suffer, even very likely suffering (it’s never technically the requirement to suffer) is greatly worth the trouble. “What Is” can become more when it (through you!) can experience specific contrast- even when it can experience fully what it “doesn’t like,” which better defines the opposite. Creation utilizes definition; free will requires a context. The spirit in a fundamentally joyful state decides in all its eternal and invincible power to facilitate new experiences for itself so that it can integrate them- and in so doing, become even more, expand the frontier of all experience, and add more to the JOY!

Sometimes in that process the soul must seemingly be tried to its very limits. But so it is in a Creation that ever grows and becomes more. For if it did not, it would be stagnant; it would not become more. “What Is” is what it is and can’t be anything else- so if it wishes to increase its scope it actually needs to also “be” things that are challenging, painful, and constraining, too. When even those challenges have been integrated, its “What Is-ness” expands in due measure, and the native love and joy of Creation grows with it.

Suffering is also meaningful in another way: it serves as the feedback and counter-pressure sometimes necessary to “drive” the individual consciousness to personally grow its quality of intent toward love. Many are driven to spiritual growth through suffering. While that may be incomprehensible to the human ego, to the spirit that exists in eternity, and to the one who sincerely wishes to grow in eternal love and fearlessness, such a price is actually accepted with gratitude!

There will come a time someday when you will be able to look back at your own suffering, and see its greater context. Until then, let yourself feel what you feel, and let go of your judgments about it. Take heart, for your true nature always remains unharmed and invincible, no matter how much pain your local body may feel or how dark your human life may seem. The Source of all Creation is always, always with you! Be bountifully hopeful in that, in your true invincible nature and in your inseverable unity with God, for there is always hope available through what you actually are beneath this convincing physical experience.

A Perspective on Suffering

Form Is Not the Answer

As we exist in this physical reality, we experience a universe of form. We live within a world of duality, where things seem separate and unique from one another: cows are different than cats, hot is the opposite of cold, and the future happens after the past. We are almost totally engrossed in a life of entertaining and manipulating form after form. Our minds are full of thoughts (which are forms), our eyes behold discreet colors and shapes (forms), and our days are spent manipulating objects (forms). This is our reality, and so we assume that all of reality is this way.

Thus when we seek to understand the “Big Picture,” we naturally tend to do so using the forms that we know. Our form-based assumptions carry over into how we imagine the greater reality to be. Indeed, those very assumptions give definition to our experience of reality! Our beliefs (our deepest assumptions about reality) form the experience that we have. Once we have defined reality a certain way, the other ways become seemingly non-existent to us. Indeed, that is the very definition of form and the reason that form itself exists!

Yet all form exists within that which is formless. That formlessness cannot truly be named, for it is beyond any word that could attempt to describe it! But we might use the word: consciousness. Consciousness–  sometimes called “spirit”– is the fundamental “substrate” upon and through which all experience of form exists. Consciousness itself fundamentally transcends all of the forms it beholds. It can get “lost” in form for a while- indeed it is capable of doing even that!- but its true nature is transcendent. Your true nature is transcendent. And the unspeakable vastness, majesty, and total breadth of the Great Spirit that is the Source of All Things is most certainly transcendent! In other words, duality itself is not fundamental.

In the context of that incredible transcendence, how can any of us claim to have fit the truth into a form? How can any one Earthly idea, name, person, book, religion, or set thereof be “the truth?” It cannot. Many times a form may, through our own identification with it, help us to connect with our transcendent Source- but the form itself is not the answer. To believe otherwise is just that- a belief, which is a form itself. That belief can only have meaning as a consciousness assigns meaning to it.

We will never find the “true answer” within form. But fortunately, you are conscious, and therefore you are connected to the Source of all truth already! Your human personality with all its form-based local understanding of reality may search under 10,000 rocks looking for the truth, and may hold on to certain assumptions about how reality is until the day of your physical death– and yet the Great Spirit already and always dwells within you as that which is transcendent!

Thus when you are ready to fearlessly surrender your need for answers within form, to give up the power and control of your beliefs, and to simply meet your awareness of the present moment exactly as it is without any label whatsoever, know then that the true nature of your being will always be there waiting for you.

Form Is Not the Answer

The Gift of Vulnerability

Being vulnerable with somebody is a gift to them. If you want to love someone, be vulnerable with them. Open yourself to fully expose your pain and weakness, show your tender heart, and allow them full room to show theirs. Be completely present with them, just as you are and just as they are, without any need for protection or judgment. That is in fact giving them something precious. But what’s more, being vulnerable with somebody else also conveys a gift to yourself as well. For vulnerability is a wide road to love, and love is what you were born for.

The Gift of Vulnerability

The Allure of Vibrational Distance

As we exist in a non-physical state prior to incarnation, our true nature is completely known to us. We fully know what we truly are: a boundless part of All Things. The physical experience offers us the opportunity to fully experience a profoundly different “vibration.” The experience of that new vibration permits the individual to engage and personally integrate a new level of being. And vibrations that are extremely dissimilar from our native state- those we might crudely call “low” vibrations- offer the greatest opportunity for expansion. In fact, the “distance” away that one can go is commensurate to the potential increase in capacity of the individual (if they can integrate that distance). Because the potential increase in the individual’s capacity is commensurate to the distance, diving way in is incredibly enticing and desired. This is why so many souls choose significant challenges on Earth. The greater the challenge, the greater the opportunity.

Once we’re here though, we may be so dissatisfied that we even rage against reality itself. But that dissatisfaction and that rage are signs that the spirit is being engaged with an experience that it has not yet fully integrated, and are signs themselves that opportunity for real growth is present!

As all-powerful spirit, we actually yearned for the opportunity to experience such stark challenge! Now that we are here, now that the “rubber is meeting the road” – we can recognize even in our perceived hardship that in fact, we are being presented with a real opportunity. If you put aside your ego, let go of your fears and demands, and completely surrender to your experience of the present moment without any requirement or expectation, the deeper parts of you will always be ready to take you the next step towards the integration that you desired so “long ago.” That integration may be an extremely intense process: you may have to face your deepest, darkest fears, and actually feel your most poignant pains- but there is true healing and power available in doing so. It is often the very discomfort of our lives that finally pushes us to integrate the wonders of our depths! So we might as well choose to do so when the darkness comes, and use the vibrational distance for how it was intended. Nothing, ultimately, can change your true immortal nature- so embrace the adventure of the full experience of physical life while you are here!

The Allure of Vibrational Distance

The Counter-Pressure of Circumstance

Physical life is a constraint set that offers the spirit the valuable counter-pressure necessary to participate in personal and collective expansion. To the unlimited powerful spirit, the opportunity to actually subject one’s self to “participation within a firm and rigorous context” is an extremely precious opportunity. The circumstances of your life are the valuable counter-pressure that your soul uses to become more. It uses circumstances to expand its awareness of what reality can be, to identify what it wants and does not want, and to refine qualities of the self within a context. Your life is the context.

A couple very simple metaphors may be helpful. Physical life might very crudely be compared to getting on a roller coast: once you are strapped in, you are in for the ride and you can’t get off. The ride may be terrifying while you are on it, but is exhilarating to experience and creates a wonderful memory. Oftentimes those who get off of a roller coaster get back in line to get right back on! Another very crude analogy might be: physical life is like lifting weights on a weight bench. The counter-pressure of the weights pushing against you is uncomfortable, but you utilize the counter-pressure to grow stronger and become capable of more. In our case, it is not physical muscle we are building, but spiritual muscle: we are growing our capacity to successfully engage realities in a creative, loving, and fearless manner. We are growing our capacity to successfully engage our experience of the present moment.

The physical universe is a high-intensity full blown “experience context” wherein the soul (your awareness) can temporarily adopt a role within form, and use that role within form to better discover and refine itself. Your circumstances then are not curses, no matter how dire they may seem. Your circumstances are precious opportunities. At times those “opportunities” can seem overwhelming, or perhaps even impossible to endure. There is no shame in becoming overpowered by circumstance.

Your true power does not lie in your ability to mold your circumstance to how you would prefer it to be. Your true power lies in your ability to choose how you will meet your circumstance. Sometimes physically speaking you can do nothing at all- and yet you always have the power to meet your experience with courage, humility, acceptance, and love. That power is the true power! For you have come here to do just that: to actually and personally meet your physical context with a high quality of intent. When you do that, you will be using the counter-pressure of the physical world as it was intended and will automatically begin to transcend the challenges of the physical experience.

The Counter-Pressure of Circumstance

Spiritual Growth as a Change in the Being

Spiritual growth is not something that happens in the mind. It is not a correction of ideas, or even just a change in action. Spiritual growth is a change in one’s very being, in “what one is.”

This kind of change is not one easily undertaken. In order to grow, one typically must be willing to undergo significant personal alteration. Spiritual growth is often a destructive or painful process, and when the moment comes, many are unwilling to actually experience and undergo the intense personal alteration that is necessary. It is far easier to tell one’s self a story of what one is than it is to actually change.

Yet we are here to actually change. So much of the pain each of us experiences in our daily lives remains with us because we are unwilling to fully accept responsibility for our own state of being, and we are unwilling to grow into the humility and selfless intent that our pain calls us to. By the “laws” of the greater divine reality, our own past intentions have brought us into exactly our experience of this present moment- and yet many of us resist that present moment and the lessons it has to offer.

Spirituality is about your relationship to the present moment. It is about your actual experience, and what you do with it. If you meet that experience with willingness, openness, personal responsibility, fearlessness, humility, and selflessness, then you will allow the present moment to start actually shaping you the way it was intended. Willingness, openness, personal responsibility, fearlessness, humility, and selflessness all require a quality of intent- you must use your precious free will to choose the way your soul calls. Often that choice means walking in to the discomfort, pain, insecurity, or danger. Often that choice means taking personal ownership for yourself, for your world, and for the well-being of those around you. Often that choice means allowing yourself to completely let go of all that you are not, of all of your stories and definitions, so that you may actually change and become even more- no matter how dark or difficult that change may seem to the mind. Ultimately, you have absolutely nothing to fear- the Light is always with you and within you! And when you are willing to actually accept responsibility and grow, the universe itself actively responds to your willingness.

Spiritual Growth as a Change in the Being

The Extremes of Duality as Expressions of Love

The rigorous cruelties of the world are not signs that reality is ultimately harsh and uncaring. Rather, they are demonstrations of the incredible lengths to which love will go in the name of creation and experience. As we lose ourselves in the experience of duality, including its many seemingly darker aspects, it is easy to see the extremes of our experience in form and subsequently reach some (form-based) nihilistic or existential conclusion about the nature of existence. We may correctly identify that form does not hold the answer, even as we forget the much, much deeper meaning of our experience here.

In fact, the extremes of this world have been created in a spirit of love, joy, and even play- not in a spirit of heaviness, necessity, and misery. We have become so lost in the duality, however, that we experience much of the latter. We have become so lost in the duality that we have forgotten ourselves, and when we do that, we suffer. And yet, consistently, the enduring nature of love never tires of standing firm. It waits for us- even silently- around every corner and every experience. We may see terror- but even the opportunity to see terror is ultimately a profound gift of love. The ability to add to Creation through the experience of deep contrast is a gift of love.

The ego rejects this. But it does not see the interconnectedness and purity of love that has given birth to the valuable experience of contrast that it operates within. Thus when you decide to step past your own ego, to stop fighting “what is,” and to just be fully present with your experience without judgment or rejection, you permit yourself to take a step back towards being personally aware of the more fundamental loving nature of existence.

The Extremes of Duality as Expressions of Love