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Switch to Forum Live View Some Thoughts on Suffering
7 years ago  ::  Sep 06, 2010 - 9:50PM #1
Posts: 3

     Anyone who’s been on this earth for any length of time at all knows that trials and troubles, afflictions and adversity galore, and all the anxiety, disappointment, grief, and other forms of mental distress that our pesky problems and plights give rise to are a chronic and universal aspect of the human condition, and the condition of all living things. In other words, as the Buddhists say, life is suffering. And all self-aware beings capable of reflecting on this fact desire to understand such a woeful existential state of affairs, and long for an effective solution to the indigenous-in-the-world problem of suffering.

     Yes, we all yearnfully dream of getting to a suffering-free place in our lives. Unfortunately today, in our overtly and overly materialistic culture, many of us erroneously think that we can reach such a blissful mode of being merely by achieving economic security and success, by accumulating a lot of money and possessions. Many people, robotically following their cultural programming, just keep plugging away at trying to attain or hold on to a degree of affluence, even though this only seems to multiply their cares and worries.

     John and Jane Q. Public have completely and credulously bought into the whopping big lie of our crass consumer society, that the meaning of life and happiness is owning the latest iPhone model, the most coveted luxury car, the priciest widescreen TV, the trendiest designer outfits, etc. None of this ever really brings us the deep, lasting, and truly satisfying kind of joy we hope and pine for, but sad to say nowadays many of us apparently can’t think of any other way to engage in the pursuit of happiness.

     Of course the cruel irony is that not only does a life devoted to getting and having material stuff not increase our contentment and emotional well-being, it seriously undermines it. Our hankering after material things and riches makes it difficult for us to ever rest satisfied with and be thoroughly grateful for what we have, it keeps us in an innerly disquieted state of always wanting something else or more.

     Then there’s also the rub that investing all our happiness in our worldly belongings and assets is a highly risky proposition, that it just sets us up for the pain of loss when a downturn in the economy or a stroke of bad luck takes away some of the goodies we’ve grown attached to. And even while we continue to sit pretty we feel a good bit of angst about the prospect of one day losing what prosperity we’ve been able to precariously eke out for ourselves. No, money most definitely doesn’t buy adequate peace of mind.

     So if being a fast runner in the ole rat race and outdoing the bourgeois Joneses in acquiring the material trappings of success is not the sure ticket to happiness that it’s cracked up to be how do we transcend suffering and fully actualize the joy of being a part of the universe? The great and revered spiritual pioneers of humanity have pointed the way and laid out the path to these existential goals.

     Liberation, in the sense of our release from the “cave of despair” and the unlocking of our inner potential for life-enjoyment is accomplished by realizing that we are in fact NOT the needy-greedy ego that’s always fretting about what it has and aching for what it would like to glom onto. Liberation or enlightenment is a matter of waking up to the bogusness of our self-centered self-concept and gaining a profounder insight into our real and wondrous nature.

     There’s no “secret” to it, when we personally debunk the ego; when we learn for ourselves that we are not the small and selfish self that we naively ground our consciousness and identity in, that we ignorantly endow with permanent and ultimate reality and take way too seriously; when we reach that point of sage self-understanding at which our minds are no longer engrossed in the ego’s anxious preoccupation with itself and its wants; and when we begin to identity with and fulfill our inward truth, which is nothing other than the joyful creativity eternally reconfiguring itself in the diversity of the cosmos, ipso facto enlightenment is ours! Voilà, our experience of life is liberatingly transformed.

Moderated by Beliefnet_community on Sep 07, 2010 - 02:17AM
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