Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday's MeditationMom Moments- 01/19/09 - Suffering

Q: Why is there so much suffering in the world?

MM: Is there more suffering than there is joy? And why do we not ask:"Why is there so much joy in the world?" Does not the joy of one man make the suffering of another that much more unbearable?

There is as much suffering, and as much joy in the world as we see. Joy and suffering are the front and the back of the same thing. Joy turns into suffering and suffering into joy the way day and night turn into each other.

Wisdom, enlightenment, and the end of suffering - is when joy and suffering are experienced simultaneously and understood as one phenomenon, which translates into a profound peace and an intense level of awareness. For example, if one were to hold ones dead child in ones arms with both the devastation of this loss and the overwhelming gratitude for every precious moment one had had with that child, in such a moment suffering and joy become so interwoven that one can become free. This peace is beyond both joy or suffering. It expands endlessly, is experienced as if one had awakened from a never-ending nightmare. This freedom that is serenity should not be confused with the false freedom that comes from denial, detachment or numbness.

Some people achieve this over a lifetime as the pain of loss, the hatred towards injustice, and the gradual descent into despair, is transformed into deep love, compassion, and gratitude - through an inner alchemy. Calling it forgiveness is wrong. For forgiveness there still needs to be blame. Calling it acceptance is also wrong. Acceptance is not yet deep, overall gratitude. This gratitude is not for something, but in spite of everything.

One has to go beyond logic and reason for this kind of inner alchemy that turns lead into gold to come about. One has to go beyond oneself. This is by no means easy when there is great pain and trauma. But with love, humility and self-knowledge it is available to everyone no matter their circumstances. That is why the sages tell us to wake up. Joy and suffering come from the same source.

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