gratitude for suffering

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runstrails
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gratitude for suffering

Post by runstrails » Fri Sep 26, 2014 8:56 pm

It occurs to me that suffering is the greatest catalyst for awakening. For this, I am very grateful. This body/mind has so much rajas (i.e., constant mental activity) that (mostly imagined) suffering is par for the course almost daily. But these days, rather than use some self help technique to make it go away, I'm grateful for suffering, since it causes me to turn inward in self-realization.

The universe is so perfectly constructed that suffering plays a brilliant role in getting us to know our true nature. So why turn away from it, use it as a reminder to turn inward and reflect on your true nature (that which is ultimately untouched by suffering).

I would also go out on a limb and say that the more intense the suffering, the deeper the self-realization.

So lets not turn away from our suffering, rather embrace it for it might serve the most important role in our lives.

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Re: gratitude for suffering

Post by runstrails » Fri Sep 26, 2014 9:15 pm

And at the risk of boring everyone to tears, I feel a great need to give thanks for the following causes of suffering:

1. My ambitious and competitive nature which causes near-daily suffering at work. There are so many imagined scenarios that run through my mind where I'm no longer top dog. So many threats to my future egoic achievements. For this, I am especially grateful, because I while I recognize the shallow nature of this self-created problem, it is my number one cause of suffering and it allows me to turn inward daily at work.
As I write this, I realize how hilarious this must sound!

2. My insecurities about parenting. This one is harder and would come under the velcro category. Still get hooked by this all the time. But it does allow me to experience unconditional love.

3. My hypochondria. For this one, I'm especially grateful, since it helped me to confront and then overcome my fear of death. Talk about a paradox :D.

Thanks for listening. Feel free to add any suffering you are grateful for too.

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Re: gratitude for suffering

Post by Enlightened2B » Fri Sep 26, 2014 9:29 pm

Much love to you RT for being so open and honest here on a public forum and I can resonate greatly with your post.

I too have been a hypochondriac for as long as I can remember.

My insecurities through life have really built up over time to contribute to my current conditioning and have even contributed to health issues throughout my life. I've been insecure about rejection, sexual insecurities in the past and even insecurities in dealing with shyness when I was younger. I used to worry greatly over what people think of me and would always try to say the right thing to impress others and gain the love from others. I suffered so greatly for so long and still do when this conditioning becomes unconscious.

I've found the more open and honest I have been of late with my emotions/feelings, even publicly here on a forum like this, has been so liberating for me personally and has helped me work through many of these insecurities.

I think conditioning will always be a factor for us, but it's more about checking it periodically to see where you're operating from. At least that's what I do. Am I operating from love or fear? And I can tell the difference! Relationships are the ultimate tool for this for me.

I'm reading a book called the 'presence process' which is a program to integrate emotions which directly goes along with Eckhart's teachings and the author Michael Brown talks about how instances or people in our lives can be seen as messengers for us to to be able to see our own conditioning and bringing our unconsciousness to light.

Thanks again for the starting this thread and all that you contribute in your openness to this board. I value your posts greatly and I love to see others who are vulnerable just like me!

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Re: gratitude for suffering

Post by runstrails » Sat Sep 27, 2014 12:42 am

Thanks, E2B!
I enjoy reading your posts too.

A long time ago I told myself that I would write with complete honesty on this forum. Like you, I think writing things down does have a clarifying and liberating effect. And our causes of suffering are so common and pedestrian that I'm certain most people on this forum can relate to them.

I don't think you can get rid of suffering and I don't think you need to. I've found that if I keep using suffering as a scaffolding for self-knowledge and it decreases automatically.

Ultimately, is there any one who hasn't suffered? But from those who have, how many have used it to reach self-realization? Well, there was that guy...Siddhartha :wink:. and some of us on this little blue island :D.

How can we not be grateful for our suffering? Thanks so much for sharing yours.

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Re: gratitude for suffering

Post by KathleenBrugger » Sat Sep 27, 2014 1:32 am

I also thank you for your honesty about suffering, rt. I think that is one way we can help each other, by sharing our experiences of pain and suffering--when we hear another's experience then we know we aren't alone with our problems. Recently I shared on a thread (can't remember which one!) about thinking I had deleted a video I had just filmed. I panicked because it was a one-time event and I felt so bad about letting the people down I was filming for. In my suffering I searched out a friend and revealed my pain to her in an extraordinarily open way (extraordinary for me that is). Turns out I didn't delete the footage :D but I am so grateful for the experience of vulnerability.

I think suffering is one of the best impetuses for growth and learning. Here's a song of my husband's about the value of suffering--he calls suffering "the guru." You can see us perform it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO9K3Ds ... KY1CIxKZVg

THE GURU

Thank God for the pain
And the suffering in my life
I'd have never grown a single bit
Since way back when
But I hurt so bad in that bad dream life
I called reality
I had to give a lot up
And I'll be giving more up again

Until I get it right I can count on the pain
To point me right again
It's just a matter of time when I drift out of line
Till it surfaces demands and ever more refines

Thank God that this universe
Simply doesn't give a damn
It's gonna kill me one of these days
You can bet your life
And I can count on gravity to teach me
When I tangle up my feet
And when your love's not living in me
It's a special kind of strife

The soul is no different than the body
It's gonna tell you where it hurts
You've got to listen awfully close to hear
The treatment it prescribes
And sometimes the waking hurts more
Than to be lost in the sleep
But you can follow that hurt you feel
It never lies...
We are ALL Innocent by Reason of Insanity
http://kathleenbrugger.blogspot.com/

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Re: gratitude for suffering

Post by Onceler » Sat Sep 27, 2014 1:38 am

Sorry, don't know if I agree with you...at face value it sounds good, and I've even had the same notion, but suffering is suffering. There are many folks who suffer and don't learn a thing, it seems. Myself included. The most positive thing for me has been the end of suffering, not suffering.

Suffering has made me bitter, depressed, angry, not soft and open like the end of fear and the seeing into my essential being. I think it's the gradual stoppage of suffering by seeing who you are that ends our misery.

I have no use for suffering. Might say I'm averse to the gnaw of fear and the twist of misery.
Be present, be pleasant.

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Re: gratitude for suffering

Post by karmarider » Sat Sep 27, 2014 3:03 am

It was my suffering with anxiety and depression which brought me to awakening.

But suffering in itself is not enough. Human beings have a tremendous capacity to suffer. Many and do suffer and consider it some sort of badge of honor.

It seems to me it's a combination of suffering and the coincidence of someone pointing out the insanity of suffering which brings us to awakening.

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Re: gratitude for suffering

Post by runstrails » Sat Sep 27, 2014 4:02 am

Thanks, all.
Hi Kathleen--Arthur really nails it by calling it GURU--that's how I think of it too--a wonderful teacher! It's so great to see you both. Thanks for sharing.

Onceler--I hear you. My suffering has decreased too. But can there be an appreciation of joy or peace without experiencing suffering? They are two sides of the same coin. Interestingly, you can't really dull one emotion (suffering) without affecting the flipside of the coin. The intensity of both pleasure and suffering decreases with awakening.

Yes, Karmarider, I've been pondering the same thing. Why do some people awaken as a result of suffering and others not? Grace, perhaps? Genes? Luck?

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Re: gratitude for suffering

Post by KathleenBrugger » Sun Sep 28, 2014 7:51 pm

Onceler, let me try and explain why I think suffering is a guru.

Stop signs and stop lights are red because human perception is keenly attuned to the color red; this is because our blood is colored red and our physical survival depends upon us being aware when we've hurt ourselves. Physical pain exists, at least in part, to draw our attention to the fact that we are ill or injured. Most of us resist physical pain--we reach for the pills to make it go away--we see it as an enemy. But when you look at it from this perspective you see that pain is our ally, it's drawing our attention to a problem that needs fixing. The pain is the motivator for us to stop a behavior that's hurting us, to go to the doctor, etc. Autistic children have to be watched carefully because they will injure themselves--and this happens because they are less aware of their feelings. The mechanism of "pain means you should pull your hand away" that makes those of us who aren't autistic take our hand off a hot stove just isn't working for them.

Problems of what you might call the soul--our ego-identity, psyche, the mind, our emotions--don't have an obvious physical symptom like a bleeding wound or the pain of a burn. But the sufferings of ego--pride, embarrassment, anxiety, regret, depression--are the analogues of physical pain. These are the ways our self is trying to let us know that there is something ailing our psyche. The suffering is pointing towards the problem, in the same way a pain in my mouth points to a problem with my gums/teeth and sends me to the dentist. The depression or anxiety is our ally, our teacher, our guru, pointing our attention to a sore in our mind that is in need of healing.

As karmarider points out, many people never understand this way of framing suffering, and as a consequence suffering seems pointless and a horrific aspect of life. American culture definitely does not support seeing suffering as a teacher, the whole attitude is "make the pain go away now." What does it take to be able to perceive suffering as the guru? For me it took having it pointed out to me by Arthur, my husband.
We are ALL Innocent by Reason of Insanity
http://kathleenbrugger.blogspot.com/

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Re: gratitude for suffering

Post by Clouded » Mon Sep 29, 2014 1:32 am

No way LOL I just discovered this thread after I submitted my latest post where I wrote that I was grateful for experiencing unpleasant thoughts/feelings because it led me to Eckhart Tolle which then let me to other sources (namely this forum, Bryon Katie, Mooji, etc.) and all of this helped me realize that there is nothing wrong with me or the world, I just BELIEVE that there is something wrong and thoughts are not a true depiction of reality! It finally makes sense to me and I feel like I removed so many layers of my conditioning because my thoughts don't feel as real as they once did, I know that all I have to do to feel better is snap out of dreaming. Of course, I wish I never suffered in the first place because I am dealing with personal struggles that have their roots since I was a little and it is hard for me to let go of my habitual negative beliefs but I feel like I gained 50 years of wisdom and I am no longer the same person I was 1 year ago.
"If you want to know what your were like in the past, look at your body today. If you want to know what your body will be like in the future, look at your thoughts today." -Deepak

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Re: gratitude for suffering

Post by rachMiel » Mon Sep 29, 2014 2:31 am

Some say the human body-mind is designed expressly for awakening, coming home.

The wake-up call of suffering is a huge part of that design. The deep yearning for peace, security, freedom, completeness. The hunger for truth. The drive to understand and learn.

It's like we're all born with profound homesickness. :-)
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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Re: gratitude for suffering

Post by Onceler » Mon Sep 29, 2014 4:01 am

KathleenBrugger wrote:Onceler, let me try and explain why I think suffering is a guru.

Stop signs and stop lights are red because human perception is keenly attuned to the color red; this is because our blood is colored red and our physical survival depends upon us being aware when we've hurt ourselves. Physical pain exists, at least in part, to draw our attention to the fact that we are ill or injured. Most of us resist physical pain--we reach for the pills to make it go away--we see it as an enemy. But when you look at it from this perspective you see that pain is our ally, it's drawing our attention to a problem that needs fixing. The pain is the motivator for us to stop a behavior that's hurting us, to go to the doctor, etc. Autistic children have to be watched carefully because they will injure themselves--and this happens because they are less aware of their feelings. The mechanism of "pain means you should pull your hand away" that makes those of us who aren't autistic take our hand off a hot stove just isn't working for them.

Problems of what you might call the soul--our ego-identity, psyche, the mind, our emotions--don't have an obvious physical symptom like a bleeding wound or the pain of a burn. But the sufferings of ego--pride, embarrassment, anxiety, regret, depression--are the analogues of physical pain. These are the ways our self is trying to let us know that there is something ailing our psyche. The suffering is pointing towards the problem, in the same way a pain in my mouth points to a problem with my gums/teeth and sends me to the dentist. The depression or anxiety is our ally, our teacher, our guru, pointing our attention to a sore in our mind that is in need of healing.

As karmarider points out, many people never understand this way of framing suffering, and as a consequence suffering seems pointless and a horrific aspect of life. American culture definitely does not support seeing suffering as a teacher, the whole attitude is "make the pain go away now." What does it take to be able to perceive suffering as the guru? For me it took having it pointed out to me by Arthur, my husband.
I hear what you're saying, Kathleen and I agree to a certain extent, however I think there is a point where suffering simply begats more suffering and not a solution. I have suffered acutely in my life and much of it, most of it, seems so unnecessary. But mainly, I want to counter the implicit message that says we have to suffer greatly to realize an end to suffering. I don't think this is true and is simply more distortion from the fear side of things. This is fear talking.

Of course I don't know that I didn't have to go thru all the pain I went thru to greatly decrease the suffering in my life, I probably did.....I just don't think others have to. Key to this is to get a sense of your essential being, just a glimpse, this is the beginning of the end of suffering.
Be present, be pleasant.

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Re: gratitude for suffering

Post by KathleenBrugger » Mon Sep 29, 2014 5:00 am

Onceler wrote: I hear what you're saying, Kathleen and I agree to a certain extent, however I think there is a point where suffering simply begats more suffering and not a solution. I have suffered acutely in my life and much of it, most of it, seems so unnecessary. But mainly, I want to counter the implicit message that says we have to suffer greatly to realize an end to suffering. I don't think this is true and is simply more distortion from the fear side of things. This is fear talking.

Of course I don't know that I didn't have to go thru all the pain I went thru to greatly decrease the suffering in my life, I probably did.....I just don't think others have to. Key to this is to get a sense of your essential being, just a glimpse, this is the beginning of the end of suffering.
This makes sense to me Onceler--if people think the only way to awaken is through massive suffering then that kind of glorifies suffering. This makes me think of the book The Fault in our Stars which I just read with my niece. Imo, the book glamorized having terminal cancer; the subtle message was that only the sick kids are cool. Maybe what rt and I are talking about is a way to transmute suffering into something useful. If you don't know that trick then you're right, suffering will just beget more suffering, just like an untreated physical pain will just keep getting worse.
We are ALL Innocent by Reason of Insanity
http://kathleenbrugger.blogspot.com/

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Re: gratitude for suffering

Post by snowheight » Mon Sep 29, 2014 7:08 am

runstrails wrote: 3. My hypochondria. For this one, I'm especially grateful, since it helped me to confront and then overcome my fear of death. Talk about a paradox :D.
uhm .. ok .. Image .. well, while we're at it then, here's another one!

(** takes a leading half-step toward the door **)

Suffering. Is always. A choice! Image

(** runs full-speed toward the exit **)

Image
Stop talking. Hear every sound as background. Look straight ahead and focus. Take one deep breath. This is you. This is Now.

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Re: gratitude for suffering

Post by rachMiel » Mon Sep 29, 2014 3:39 pm

snowheight wrote:Suffering. Is always. A choice!
Oy ...
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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