So why is this such a commonality all of us humans have?
In reflecting about my own situations of suffering, the waves of despair I’ve known too well … today I can attest that suffering is a gift I’ve been given. This sounds so pat and dry, but it’s true. Because if we take the angst and hardships dished out to us personally, whatever their flavor happens to be, as a “sign” that change needs to be made, and we act upon that impulse of something needing to be changed—our suffering brings us closer to not only our own personal acceptance of how life can be more pleasant, as it is, but for the entire world to change into a better, healthier, more wholesome place for us all to share. Using suffering as a tool of change is, my friends, what the ancient sages meant when they described what today is called “enlightenment.”
To be in the state of samadhi, or sainthood, or great wisdom is nothing more and nothing less—than accepting things as they are ONCE we’ve had the opportunity to make whatever adjustment is necessary to get closer to feeling comfortable. I call myself a spiritual activist because yes, change must happen. But I believe the answer of social change happens from the inside out: from spiritual transformation. When people’s hearts and minds are open, through the awakening of their spiritual perceptions, then real change occurs. Everywhere. But it all begins with each and everyone one of us, inside our own hearts.Here’s an example of what I mean:
A close person in my life has cancer. She has gone through many painful treatments to eradicate this cancer, and has been told that a few more years’ worth of treatments, painful and depriving ones, are necessary to do what the medical world has told her will ensure that the cancer does not spread beyond the area where the original tumors were surgically removed. Meanwhile, she eats fatty ham and sausages and doughnuts and sugary food like there’s no tomorrow, not willing to change her diet one iota.
Today there are many books and speakers and survivors of cancer who can attest to the fact that “Sugar Feeds Cancer” and “Alkalize or Die” warning against the acidity of sugar, meats and all-dairy feeding cancer cells, but … does this friend of mine believe it? No! She still indulges in Danish sweets, cakes, cupcakes, cookies, waffles loaded with syrup, and packs on the pounds in between the annual treatments when her diet is strictly limited to vegetables, the procedure the doctors put her through to eradicate cancer cells by introducing nuclear medicine to her system. No one can even get near her when she’s being given the nuclear remedy. Yet … she won’t change her diet.
In other words, she doesn’t believe that food has anything to do with the suffering of having cancer.
She has not heeded the “sign” of what cancer has brought her. She hasn’t made any change in her lifestyle, and only resents her dis-ease. My friend doesn’t think that cancer is an opportunity to change and benefit, and become a lot more comfortable in her body-mind-spirit. Her comfort level of living, is pretty nominal. She’s plenty disgusted she’s been given the suffering of cancer. I’ve tried talking to this friend, but she’s very defensive, and thinks the medical people are doing all that can be done, and she has no power over whether her cancer thrives, or dies. She feels powerless, but for the procedures the medical world promises. She does not see her cancer as an opportunity for personal growth, only a death-sentence.
A friend who’s an environmentalist is very angry and depressed, simultaneously, at the lack of support he gets in his conservation efforts. He sees our world on its way to doom, and if it weren’t for his recent commitment to not drowning his misery in booze any more, would probably continue to stay nicely numbed out on a daily basis as he had for decades before his own alcohol bottom, when he finally had enough and embraced sobriety. I’ve tried talking to this friend about how I see the “bottom” our entire world is going through, environmentally, as necessary, and not all-negative. The dire situation our atmosphere today faces due to relentless not-caring by humanity, mostly caused by industrial waste products destroying our protective layer from the blasts of the sun’s destructive rays, fed by the rampant need of over-materialism our modern society is addicted to, in which more-more-more is the only concern of too many. I see this worldwide bottom our world faces as instrumental, and probably the ONLY way that humanity will WAKE UP! in a big enough scale to make a real difference to saving our environment from total destruction. If we weren’t facing such a doom-and-gloomy future, people wouldn’t care about change. The bottom our world faces is the same as the environmentalist faced when his own alcoholism drove him to change his life, one day at a time.
More people are waking up today, thanks to the dire situation we’re in, as a worldwide planetary family of humankind. Thanks to the Internet people know everything about everybody, everywhere. There’s no way we can be in denial anymore, about the depth of pollution, the need to change. So instead of being depressed or angry, as my friend is, what can we do about this … bottom we’re all in?I know for my own life, I’ve had to suffer tremendously to “get” the lessons I’ve been handed by my own alcoholism and other forms of nihilistic despair. But today, I’m a totally changed person from that woman who used to sing “love it or leave it.” In the past, I was angry enough to pick up guns and shoot, or rob banks … so I ran away to the Third World instead of taking my anger our on a society I was pissed about. I used to wallow in the “poor me’s” … feeling rejected to the point that I thought I had a mental disease I called “rejectionitis.”
Today I understand that I had to feel all the pain of “feeling” rejected in order to grow beyond the pain. I had to bottom out, to want to change. So I started to learn how to have better habits in order to be effective with the work I’ve set out for myself, my spiritual activisim through writing and arting. Before, however, when I was stuck in the “poor me’s” … life was all about me and my troubles, my woes, my little life and what I could do to make it better. Which in my case was to drink more, smoke more, and do more crazy stunts to take me away from my inner pain.
No matter where I go, or what I read or see or hear—it’s the same with every person. We humans suffer. Maybe quietly, in our own personal situations, or loudly, as the politicians and positive thinkers prove, from both camps. No matter in what circle we’re in, we hear about human suffering. There is even a metaphysical theory I’ve often heard that this planet we’re on, Earth, is where spirits are sent specifically to experience pain and suffering. Why? To be given the opportunity to be released from the pain of suffering.
And how do we do that? Either as a single individual who’d like nothing more than to stop feeling mad or sad or depressed, or … as a nation, or an entire community of nations. How do we change our world of humankind? How do we rise above the suffering that seems to be intrinsic with our having been born human?
For me, the answer is now clear as a bell ringing people to church. Yes, the old answer was religion. But today, I believe religion has run its course and we must go deeper in our source of comfort food. Religion has caused too many woes of its own over the ages. And religion seems to have brought us to the brink of another great worldwide crisis that already has resulted in too many people killing one another, trying to prove their religion is best.To me the answer of long-lasting change, is for each and every one of us to bless our personal story of suffering, and use it to go deeper into our own hearts, and find the answer right there, within our own experience of being alive. I found my relief by feeling the deep connection in my own heart with all that exists. Some call this Spirit, but it has many names, as God does: Allah, Dieu, Dios, Great Spirit, the One without the second. The day I learned to meditate was the day I was shown the answer for my own redemption. But … it took decades for me to embrace this opportunity. I had to suffer lots more before I surrendered to the Inner Power within … that each and every one of us shares as well.
When each of us pays attention to the opportunity our own pain brings us, and decides not to numb ourselves with pills or potions or not-caringness (denial), but seeks comfort in the deeper meaning behind all the great religions … that the Mystery of Life (yes, called “God”) is right within us … and can be tapped, felt, experienced through meditation — each of us comes to accept what we cannot change. Our world is changing right now, right here, one enlightened person at a time.I am doing my best each day, taking my bouts of pain and misery as opportunities to grow closer to the great comfort right within my own heart. Stay aware of the power of the Big Heart, part of the individual heart we all have, through and by which all humans are connected. By accepting that I’ve tried my best to change, both myself and those around me, I am en-light-ened. But whatever I can’t change I lovingly accept. And this, my friend, brings great comfort to any troubled soul. When this happens, we can bless our suffering. Because it brought us to our knees and MADE us change.
With great love, your pal Lord Flea aka teZa Lord