Powerlessness in the face of suffering

Topics related to physical, emotional and psychological forms of pain and suffering
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Alicia
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Powerlessness in the face of suffering

Post by Alicia » Mon May 06, 2019 11:43 am

What I seem to find hardest to deal with is complete powerlessness in the face of suffering - not so much mine but witnessing that of other people. There is a situation very close to me where this is occurring and it's one I can't walk away from, for a multitude of reasons (can't go into them here). I am also deeply triggered by anything on the news that relates to people's powerlessness when they are attacked emotionally or physically by someone else. I avoid most of the news now. I also avoid TV shows where the powerlessness comes up as a main issue. Ironically I like crime dramas, but just whodunnits rather than those which focus on the suffering of individual(s).

How do I deal with these feelings from an awareness point of view? Do I just be with them as they arise, even though in the case of the situation personal to me, they are causing me a lot of anxiety due to the behaviour of someone in particular. I'm literally doing all I can, which isn't very much, so I feel powerless myself.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts or advice anyone may have.

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Webwanderer
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Re: Powerlessness in the face of suffering

Post by Webwanderer » Mon May 06, 2019 5:25 pm

Thanks Alicia, for posting such a great topic of interest. To address your concerns, I suggest creating a context in which you may see them from the awareness perspective through which you wisely wish to see these matters.

Awareness, or the awareness point of view, is inherent in the larger context of our spiritual consciousness and being. Most of us are either trapped, or spend much of our time, in the egoic view on life. It's natural in that this human experience is designed that way. The pain we feel, whether it be powerlessness or anger or frustration or whatever, influences us to reach for an understanding that relieves that pain. You are 'presently' having personal experience with that.

The relief we seek comes in the higher consciousness context - which is clear awareness - and is fundamentally the path of our consciousness evolution and growth. To see things clearly, through a more powerful context, consider and recognize your, and our, eternal nature and that all of this intense human experience is for the very purpose of the challenges that confront us. Challenges such as you, and those close to you, are currently experiencing.

The pain we feel is an important element in the experience of our lives. What does it teach us? You can't learn for someone else, but you can interact in a way that helps them and you to a clearer context of understanding. This is not a suggestion to do or not do a particular thing in regards to the circumstances at hand. It is a suggestion on how (or maybe 'from where') to perceive these, or any conditions, in your life experience.

Once you can recognize a larger consciousness perspective, you can allow unbiased curiosity into your presence awareness whereby the conditions become set for spiritual insight to flow through. There may be actions to take, and there may not. Regardless, there is no right or wrong in any of this, only different paths and outcomes - with different lessons on life to offer.

Consider a Larger more inclusive view. Judgments of 'wrong' on conditions or events is an exclusive point of view. It is saying no to something that is in our life experience and narrows our conscious awareness. It doesn't remove what concerns us. It just narrows our options on how to deal with it. Judgment makes our conscious experience smaller and more pointed as emotions become sharper and more intense. And note that sharper, pointed things can be painful.

A larger view and context, is empowering. If we're not fighting with so much pain, we're open to more possibilities. Our spiritual context offers access to a more insightful approach that has a strong element of understanding. There is also a genuine quality of freedom to be had from the unnecessary pain through aligning with this context.

WW

Alicia
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Re: Powerlessness in the face of suffering

Post by Alicia » Tue May 07, 2019 2:48 pm

WW, thanks so much for such a thoughtful and informative reply.

By creating a context and seeing the situation from a spiritually conscious viewpoint, do you mean along the lines of what it could be teaching those involved, how we can all grow from it, and/or understanding the limitations of certain people due to their level of consciousness at this time?

I understand completely what you mean in saying if we judge these situations, we then limit ourselves on how we can move forward.

I am trying not to judge the people in this situation but when it involves someone of great vulnerability it is distressing and anger-provoking (not that I get angry with them; I'm more passive and it turns in on myself) but I can also see that even the vulnerable person holds some power by their behaviour and is also responding in the way they know best.

I will try to take a step back and ask what is the spiritual view on this. I remember reading something about being ready to learn through love (unconditional, accepting love, not egoic love) and wonder if this has a place here for all concerned, or if it's another issue?

Thanks again.

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Re: Powerlessness in the face of suffering

Post by Webwanderer » Tue May 07, 2019 5:02 pm

Alicia wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 2:48 pm
By creating a context and seeing the situation from a spiritually conscious viewpoint, do you mean along the lines of what it could be teaching those involved, how we can all grow from it, and/or understanding the limitations of certain people due to their level of consciousness at this time?
Great question. But rather than me give you my view on it, what is your sense of it? How does the context stated in your question feel to you? This is one of those frequent opportunities to get quiet and become open to your own insight. Invest in its guidance.

I am trying not to judge the people in this situation but when it involves someone of great vulnerability it is distressing and anger-provoking (not that I get angry with them; I'm more passive and it turns in on myself) but I can also see that even the vulnerable person holds some power by their behaviour and is also responding in the way they know best.
That's some good insight.

One last pointer: I am not suggesting you get all 'Pollyanna' about it and never engage with conditions that call out to you. I'm suggesting that you get clear minded by quieting the mind of its judgment, and act appropriately from a larger consciousness view. Maybe there is something to do and maybe there is not. This is where a conditioned clarity will serve you best.

I understand that these situations often come up in the spur of the moment and can be difficult and challenging. But that is why it is wise to do our consciousness work with enough regularity that it becomes our default response rather that one of accusatory judgment. It seems you're well on your way - doing the work you came here to do.

WW

Alicia
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Re: Powerlessness in the face of suffering

Post by Alicia » Thu May 09, 2019 2:02 pm

Hi WW, yes I can see the difference between being Pollyannaish and developing a higher perspective of the situation. Unfortunately things have worsened now, but I am clear on what action needs to be taken on one level of the situation. On the other, I'm trying to be in the moment and remain open to all thoughts and feelings about it -and my ego is angry for all sorts of reasons. Why do people have to be so awful. Why does my life have to be so hard etc. I know how self centred that sounds!

In regard to powerlessness, it's an issue that I personally struggle with due to how my life as been. I know all children are powerless to some extent, but I was treated as though I was invisible and was also openly controlled by a parent who got angry if I spoke to the other parent, even though both parents lived with me. I was also sent to stay with a relative who openly didn't want me there and made snide remarks to her own children about me. My family life was very difficult and consisted of much worse than what I've described already. I won't even get started on my school years.

Without wanting to get caught in those emotions again, I think powerlessness and my fear of it is playing out now. I was in a very controlling relationship for a few years as an adult and that affected me as well. It's hard finding my voice as I'm naturally introverted and passive and am treated as though my presence is not wanted or valued. My spiritual practice shows me that it is, but it's hard reconciling that with the pain. When I see someone else being powerless/controlled by others and there's little I can do, it brings up awful emotions again. It's so hard to deal with.

I will keep meditating, keep trusting, as much as I can.

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Re: Powerlessness in the face of suffering

Post by Webwanderer » Thu May 09, 2019 3:43 pm

I kind of know the feeling you're talking about. I grew up in an atmosphere of emotional and mental neglect. My mindset developed a strong perspective that I was a 'bother' to others and not an appreciated asset. I think it likely that I was an unwanted additional child in my family and the interrelationships spoke to my conditioning in that reality.

One thing that has been a great help to me is the knowledge that our time here is devoted to our greater evolution of consciousness. That means all these challenges are here to assist in that purpose. How do given actions and reactions and re-reactions affect our conscious energy and that of others? It's this larger view that puts these painful conditions in a manageable context.

Much of it is experiment, trial and error, and exploration. Being conscious of the process brings better immediate results than the unconsciousness of unexplored and constant mental rebounding. Our meditations, its spiritual alignment, and knowledge of the workings of emotional energy contribute greatly to the evolutionary process of consciousness and being. Be willing to test considered approaches born of inner guidance in the same way any scientist would test for solutions to problems he or she may be working on.

Let the results be measured by how they feel in consciousness and not defined by condemnation or approval. Rather consider them by their value as guiding experience. As Thomas Edison once said "I did not have 1000 failures in making a light bulb, I had 1000 successes in how not to make one" (paraphrased).

WW

Alicia
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Re: Powerlessness in the face of suffering

Post by Alicia » Fri May 10, 2019 1:50 pm

Yesterday I wrote a fairly long response but when I went to send it my laptop lost signal and I lost the post. Annoying, but a lesson in letting go!! I will copy my posts in future though.

WW, I also find comfort in the knowledge of our evolution and that our difficulties in life can be seen in that larger context. I do sometimes doubt this though, but that doubt comes from the part of me that is angry and upset at how many things have turned out. I haven't had an easy life. Very few people have, but it feels as though mine has been an endless struggle and it is very wearing. I guess the challenge is to accept those feelings without identifying with them and becoming the pain and despondency. Much of my pain is the result of how other people have been towards me, although some of it is pure unfortunate circumstance. I know I can change neither, only accept and work with what is and, as we say, view it from and within that larger context.

I like what you say about experimenting with the inner guidance to see how it affects us and others.

Yesterday I was not so good, I felt very ungrounded, but today is better as I feel more present and am also aware of potential actions depending on where things go from here.

I'm sorry for your experiences as a child; they hurt, even though they can be seen in the light of our personal growth.

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