Suffering is neither good nor bad. Suffering of all kinds is a human condition that is aligned with being alive. It is a natural process of nature and as formed life we are nature. This human condition exists for what needs to be born and what needs to die personally and collectively. While suffering we are organically coming through ourselves to ourselves. We are becoming more of who we were meant to be in our lives and as a society. This process of birthing also occurs upon death. When we suffer massive deaths the dead and the living are being birthed together into a new and different relationship. The living eventually fills the space left empty by the dead as the dead no longer needs it. Everything and everyone is changed forever. Suffering is a dynamic interaction between death and what keeps us alive. We may have borrowed the wrong word from another language or have taken on a meaning of suffering that makes it impossible to understand. I wonder what indigenous traditions in the world understand in regards to human suffering and it’s existence? On the other hand, joy is a matter of passion. That passion erupts along with the condition of suffering and can bring ecstasy while we are still suffering. It is the sap or the honey of our embodiment. Joy is an elevation. We don’t have to create joy. We just have to realize it, see it, taste it, alongside or within suffering.
I touch the earth. I honor my ancestors with my sitting meditation practice. And to them I say, “Let each breath be a gift of my love.” –Zenju
May the heavy become light,
May what’s ill become well,
May what’s violent become peace,
May rage be settled,
May the idea of enemy be banished,
May actions be filled with sincere purpose,
May wellness be illuminated,
May gifts be recognized,
May all that we know to BE LOVE,
pour out and overflow
wherever it is needed.
—Zenju Earthlyn Manuel
Everything you seek in this world is within you. Supreme joy blazes inside. But it is not enough merely to have an intellectual understanding of this. You have to go deep inside. The is the true house… It is the seat of happiness, the abode of unending love. Go there. —Swami Muktananda
This is a morning reflection I have been using in the last months. When I read it and sit with it I feel my heart open to all that will come my way during the day. I can release all strategies and all the wanting. I turn inward to understand the turmoil I see and feel around me. I can be in that true house without judgment and blame. And what’s especially joyful is that I can go to that house all day long.
“It [treasures] must not be sought for or heaven forbid! –dug for. No, no dredging of the sea bottom here. That would defeat one’s purpose. The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures show not only impatience and greed but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty open, choiceless as a beach — waiting for a gift from the sea. —- from Gift from the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
My parents worked hard their entire lives. Watching them work day and night, I made a secret vow as a child to find ways to enjoy life, to have fun. The problem was, I didn’t know that enjoying life had to do with nourishment and not so much with earthbound desires. So I found myself using all the money I earned to indulge in food, parties, anything to satisfy whatever craving I had. I thought giving myself whatever I desired was the way to nourish myself. Of course, I went deep into a great amount of suffering….