the ending of suffering
The beginning and the ending of suffering
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This message is only for those who are ready for it. It is about the beginning and ending of suffering- as in a total graduation beyond the realm of suffering.
It is brief, but it may require your study to comprehend it fully. Again, you may not be ready for it. If so, new suffering may bring you to motivation sooner than you may expect, so you can store this where you can find it then… or you can continue now.
Now, right this very moment, some worship their past as a treasured legend, a sacred myth, a holy idol. I have been one of these.
I worshiped my past with the personal glorification of pride and condescension. I repressed my own envy of others, then resented them for having what I envied. I denied my shame and condemned them for doing what I denied that I was also doing. I stifled my instincts and then vented rage outwardly towards those who explored the instincts I stifled.
I have envied the young and the healthy and the rich and the safe. I have criticized others as corrupt and foolish so that I might appear worthy of praise for my moral self-righteousness. I have made focusing on the sins of others into my religion.
“Look, that one fears,” I said, afraid of frightened people. “Careful, those people are negative, bad, wrong, evil, divisive complainers” I said, complaining about them. “Listen, this one is a deceiver and that one is so naive, unaware of the obvious deceptions- how can they be so foolish” I said, pretending that I had never been anything like them. To all whose attention I could attract, I broadcast this message: “Hey everyone, notice how different they are from me- how much worse- and how much better I am than them!”
Yet, I have been naive. I also have been deceptive- both when I was confident and sincere that the myths I had learned were true as well as when I knew that I was being deceptive.
I have set myself apart from others with my pride, such as when I became a vegetarian and then despised people who ate differently than me. “Oh my god, do they really eat monkey brains and dogs in that culture? That’s horrible- unless of course it is kosher and organic and grass-fed and cage-free, in which case it’s okay, by which I mean whatever I would do.”
“Did you hear how they treat their children or their prisoners or their women or their elderly or their minorities or their political dissidents? Isn’t it good to know that we are nothing like that? We may not be happy, in fact I may hate my life and everyone in it including myself in particular, but, hey, at least we’re not like them!”
My religious preferences were always the only right ones, even as they changed over time. My political preferences were always the only right ones, even as they changed over time. My pious intolerances were always the only right ones, even as they changed over time. My good reasons to suffer were always the only right ones, even as they changed over time. My version of my past was always the only right one, even as it changed over time.
So, here is the secret to the end of suffering, for those who are willing to explore it. There are only two kinds of people who have no suffering.
First, there are those who have never had the experience of shame for a past. That includes human infants as well as all creatures who function in their animal nature.
Second, there are those who used to have but no longer have the experience of shame for lots of past events, including being ashamed of their own actions and inactions as well as other people’s actions and inactions and, finally and fundamentally, the fear of being rejected as in condemned. Shame, by the way, is simply the fear of being rejected- as distinct from the fear of injury or death or illness or pain or inclement weather etc…. Suffering is that fear.
Suffering is not in death or in challenges (“problems”) and so on. Suffering is shaming, that is, imagining the experience of humiliation and then fearing that imagined humiliation.
Humility is the end of suffering. Repenting (forgiving others of being the target of one’s own erroneous perceptions) is the path to the end of suffering. All suffering leads to humility, and resisting humility is the perpetuation of suffering.
So, if I condemn others of faults, I retain my own shame and suffering. If I forgive others gratefully for the service of showing me what I have learned to condemn, my resisting and suffering and shame conclude.
Perhaps that is related to the teachings of Jesus in John 20:23 (below in two different translations)
“Any to whom you give forgiveness, will be made free from their sins; and any from whom you keep back forgiveness, will still be in their sins.”
“If you remit the sins of any persons, they remain remitted to them. If you bind fast the sins of any, they remain bound.”
Is this an implication that what we resent, we perpetuate- and perhaps even keep attracting, even from other collaborators? Was Jesus teaching simply people the “spiritual” laws of neuro-psychological metaphysics?
“Forgive and you are forgiven.” (Luke 6:37) Forgive is also translated as release. Release others from your resentment, and you are released. “For if you forgive others their offences, your Heavenly Father will forgive you also.” (Matthew 6:14)
What is the meaning of what is being translated as “Heavenly Father?” “My Father and I are One.” “Hear ye O Israel: The LORD thy God, the LORD is One.” “My Father abides in me and I abide in my Father.” “Many worship only with their lips, yet their hearts are far from me; they do not recognize me and I do not recognize them.”
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood up and prayed abouta himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
After suffering comes humility. With humility comes the exaltations of gratitude, peace, and… perhaps even… that which may seem so foolish to so many: tolerance. I do not mean passive tolerance like apathetic, numb permissiveness, but like compassion, like goodwill, like generosity, like a bold faith, like loving one another as one’s self, recognizing divine purpose as operating in all patterns, experiencing the one vine and not just the legion of branches.
“If any one hears my sayings, and does not keep them, I do not condemn that one: for I came not to condemn the world,” but to redeem the sin of the world, to offer release from spiritual bondage, to set free by sharing the truth. (from John)
God is blessing you. I invite you to receive the blessings… now!
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