Just thinking about human anguish, mental suffering. We understand, ultimately, that there is no one to suffer, there is no suffering. But that is on a level that will seem insane to almost everyone. So why is suffering so common? Ignorance? Yes but, I feel, not just that. Could suffering be the greatest gift? When you put your hand too close to a flame it hurts and you draw away. You’ve learnt something useful and if you’re sensible you don’t do it again. Pain has modified your behaviour, informed understanding and you’re the better for it. This is pain related to the body.
But pain related to the mind, or more accurately, the sensed separate self, is more valuable still. I view this pain as Consciousness calling one over and over again to wake up, to come home, to see through the mortal error of egoic identity. And the stronger the sense of separation, the greater correspondence of pain until a tipping point is reached and critical existential questions are asked and necessary change begins. Or it doesn’t. And a life of misery pushes on, maybe ending in the deepest and darkest of separate identity: suicide.
Not only do we suffer for ourselves, but we suffer for others, too. A loved one sick, an injured pet, a friend’s job loss, the death of a child or infant. The death of a child looms unbearably painful and unjust. But, in this Theatre that we’re apparently living, could it be that the child who dies might be the most effective prop available, a pain so sear that life changing introspection is inevitable? The greatest sacrifice in order to save another? In a nutshell: is pain God’s compassion?
I don’t offer these thoughts lightly. But they occur to me, and I just wanted to share them among friends.