Apr 24, 2017
A Life of Suffering? I Disagree
It dawned on me that most of the world's great religions espouse suffering as the other side of the coin to existence. Buddhism claims that all life is suffering caused by selfish craving and aversion. Christianity claims that we are born into suffering with Original Sin from Adam and Eve. Islam says suffering is built into the fabric of existence so that Allah may see who is truly righteous. In Judaism, suffering was thought to be the ultimate form of divine purification leading to unio mystica.
I ponder. Why should life default to suffering? I have a limited mind, limited thinking and a limited life experience - but I disagree. I respect these wise sages, prophets, and holy men, but I have my own truth as life unravels for me.
I maintain, as validated by my own life experience that life defaults to bliss - not suffering. Bliss is my benchmark to life! Sustained bliss is my benevolent universe telling me that I am on the right path.
I don't claim this because it's a good sound-bite or it offers psychological well-being or emotional solace. It's an experiencial claim - not bragadoccio but simply to underscore a point. I live a life of bliss where I find myself in the right place at the right time where doors to possibilities manifesting my desires open up. I meet people whose wise counsel I benefit from at the time I need it. Money falls on my lap in the right amount (no more, no less) in the dying seconds when I urgently need it. I have no home, no address but I get to live in nice resorts and plush hotels without spending for it. I have very little money but I get to eat good nutritious and delicious food - durian when in season, gastronomic indulgences with wine to wash it down with. I even get to invite friends to join me for buffet breakfast sometimes! I own no car but I get to travel quite extensively even outside the Philippines. I can end up in a foreign place that speaks a different tongue, worship a different God, with a culture alien to mine, but by the time I leave the place, I feel like a local with lots of acquaintances and friends...sometimes with invites for a roof over my head on my next return. Everything I own on the planet is only what fits into my backpack (plus a few shirts left here and there) but they satisfy my meager needs. I do not worry about money or worry about the future - I know in no uncertain terms that the same energy that brought about the Big Bang is right behind me...an unseen hand looking after my well-being. The universe provides. And when that happens, it's a life of bliss. This did not just happen in the last few days....I'd been living this life for years. And I maintain that this should be the benchmark for life - not suffering.
What is Suffering Then?
Sure, suffering exists. But it's not a validation of my mundane existence. Suffering is a red flag. Suffering is life calling my attention that something is wrong! Much like pain is nature's way of calling my attention that there is something wrong with the body - and that I must take measures to alleviate it. I step back from myself and regain perspective why this suffering exists.
Part of a Process
Sometimes, suffering is inevitable - it cannot be helped. If and when it happens, I see it as part of a process - something that needs to happen to make way for other manifestations. I've seen this happen time and time again. Suffering does not exist for its own sake. In this respect, I view suffering as an integral part of the process to take me where I need to be.
Abstract? Here's an example - I was fired from my job for tellimg my boss she was incompetent. I was out of a job while I was in the middle of a nasty divorce with a $22,000 personal loan. I thougt this suffering was the end of the world for me. But within a week, my company gave me a severance pay in the amount of my outstanding loan - my 4-year debt program was miraculously paid overnight. Within that week, another company gave me the same job for the same pay - I was only out of a job for a week (a rest I badly needed). My suffering (getting fired), needed to happen so that my $22,000 debt had to be paid! This series of serendipitous events have repeated itself many times. I am confident in no uncertain terms that when suffering happens (to me), it comes with a beneficial end.
Am I saying I'm special or gifted to have these wonderful things happen to me? NO! Not at all. Somehow, I speculate that there is a hidden law of nature that makes this happen as a repeating pattern - very much like the Fibonacci Sequence or fractals. It's a law that applies to everyone who complies with it. It is a natural law that is accessible to everyone. But it's a hidden law - I was simply fortunate enough to have stumbled upon it. What exactly is this law? I still do not have a firm grip on it. This is something I try to be mindful about. I try to dissect the anatomy of cause-and-effect to isolate what this principle is. Currently, I have a vague idea how to tap into it, but I don't think I can filter it to an elegant equation that will be comprehensible to people who have not yet experienced it. I'm like a blind man who stumbled into an elephant and started feeling it's trunk - but not the elephant in its entirety. That law is there. I know it so, and I am experiencing it so. Given all the above, I am drawn to the conclusion that life should default to a blissful existence - not suffering.
ps - I need to make it very clear though that talking a life of bliss doesn't mean a life of hedonistic self-indulgence - far from it. The hidden law I talk about entails many things all coming together into a singularity, which includes mindfulness, pureness of volition, empowerment, connectedness, etc. But I purposely did not elucidate on these because it takes focus away from the point. This hidden law will be the subject of another blog.
Reader Comments:Kwanyin Ang
(May 2, 2017) It's well explained. Coming from his own words that life is suffering. But that one has a choice to find its own Bliss. An increasing awareness to the unity of it all will surely unfold the greater power of who we are and Bliss is but a consequence of that awakening. Suffering is but a spiritual amnesia of who we are. I agree, it's more like of a "traffic light".
(May 2, 2017) We must not forget we are simply human beings with the responsibility to at least try to be as good to everything around us as we possibly can.Through our spirituality we can achieve more of this we are fallible with individual brains .My personal belief is that the ego is our enemy for moving forward and selflessness can bring bliss from time to time Every person has a different experience so this will have a different effect on us.What perhaps the Buddha was trying to do was find out for the masses a core philosophy to use to bring us closer to being more empathetic to our world along with better understanding of our situation.
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