Friday, 3 April 2009

The Question of Suffering

I still have to type in font 28 and then copy and paste this into my blog – and I can’t focus on this that clearly, either! I am so sorry that this means I am currently unable to read and comment on your blogs – please don’t think me rude! Thank you all for your kind and thoughtful comments.

I have been experiencing many emotions during what I have been referring to, both ironically and humorously, as my ‘time of confinement’. However, whilst said in jest, there is also some truth in there; as ever, ‘many a true word spoken in jest’. It is true, I do feel incredibly frustrated, and I do feel confined. There is so much that I am currently unable to do and as such my frustration with self, as well as my situation, grows and as these emotions grow so does resentment. I resent the fact that this situation has been foisted upon me. (False) guilt then comes along as my situation is not life threatening and will pass in a few weeks, so who am I to be feeling these things anyway?!?

But there is learning in all this. I am now wondering where my responsibility lies in this situation. How and why did this happen? Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way whatsoever thinking ‘why me’ in some kind of melodramatic ‘poor little me’ way, but what I am wondering is; have I somehow allowed a chink in my spiritual armour or a leak in my aura to develop and grow that has allowed this to happen, and if so, what can I do about this? Is there a lesson for me to learn in all this, or should the only lesson that suffering can ever teach be how not to suffer any more? Or, as I am spirit housed in this physical vehicle for a period of time in this incarnation, is suffering of the physical vehicle inevitable as it is fragile and weak and prone to fail – or is this something one can rise above?

As you can imagine, these questions are doing my head in! However, these are questions I am pursuing as I have never been given an answer to the thorny issue of suffering that I have found satisfactory from the pagan/magickal perspective.

In my long and distant Christian past suffering was also referred to as one of the consequences of humanities fall from grace – it was a consequence of sin. I was actually told that when I lost the sight in my left eye that I “clearly had sin in my life and that I couldn’t expect God to heal until the sin was dealt with and removed.” You can, I am sure, imagine how such a comment affected a 23 year old coming to terms with such a loss at such a tender age. This only added to my sense of guilt at being gay, as it felt that it had to be this fact that was preventing God from healing me. Whilst I moved in these Christian circles I saw many, many people in the most desperate and even life threatening situations come forward for healing, and leave as sick as they arrived, but with condemnation, guilt and rejection added to their issues and problems because, as it would have seemed to them, God chose not to respond to the cry of their heart. In my own personal experience I went through a period of profound depression as it seemed to me that the God who at the time I believed to be the creator of the Universe, who I thought I had a personal relationship with, had chosen to reject me. Being rejected by the creator of the universe takes some getting over!

Clearly, this was not the case and obviously I have moved on from something that happened 23 years ago – but you get my point. Christianity offers an answer to the question of suffering, unsatisfactory as it may be.

Buddhism teaches that all is suffering, that existence itself is suffering and that this is caused by desire and attachment. The Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eight-Fold Path deal with this, I over simplify, I accept this, however, what I am simply attempting to show is that Buddhism places suffering at the very heart of its teaching.

So, as a Magickal Being, how do I respond to the very real issue of suffering? As I deepen my relationship with Source so I enable the Divine to operate more actively and positively in my life. This isn’t about sin at all, rather it is about exploring the inner planes more fully and deeply and experiencing the manifestation of the Divine within me at ever increasing levels of reality. As my Higher Self manifests, can there be room for suffering?

Clearly there can. Leading occultists whom I have the deepest and most sincere respect for have died through contracting serious disease. Is this a reflection upon their spiritual development? I think not! To think otherwise is to imply judgement, and I don’t see how that is appropriate or necessary.

So what is the answer? Why is suffering so evident? How is it possible to have ones Higher Self manifest and then contract disease that threatens ones physical existence? Women and men of spirit, down through the ages, have cried out to their Gods with this question and it would seem there are as many answers as there are people asking the question. I don’t think I have an answer at the moment and I really would value the thoughts, ideas, and feelings of those further along the path than myself.

I wonder whether it really is a simple case of the divine spark within each of us being capable of a process of evolution through meditation, ritual, pathworking and encounter with Source, whilst the human vehicle is frail and susceptible to aging, pain and suffering and death as experienced by all things on this plane of existence, Suffering, it would seem, as Buddhists discovered long ago, is at the centre of everything and is maintained by our buying into dependence upon that which we experience through the limited human senses. The answer lies, it would seem, in the evolution of our soul, and our commitment and dedication to this process.


Anonymous said...

Blessings, Andy - and how typical of your bravery and honesty to use a time of adversity to deepen your understanding of your life and the way you live it.

Is suffering necessary? Do we subscribe to the fact that we should suffer?

A question I find helpful is - what use do we make of the suffering we undergo? Suffering is one of the things that makes human life have a shape - that, and joy, and all other human emotions. Adversity comes to us all. Surely the mark of the superior man is the use he makes of the adversity that comes his way.

You and I both know that God cannot both love us unconditionally and simultaneously punish us physically for our so-called faults or sins. This is one of the baser misrepresentations of the love of God - of any god, for that matter. It's people who want to control us through suffering, not god. IMHO!!

Tess said...

I was struck by your use of the word "confinement" and its old-fashioned use as a word for childbirth. I wonder what this period of difficulty will bring to birth in you.

Moonroot said...

My own belief is that suffering is a part of life - the same as joy. Sometimes shit just happens! What counts is how we deal with it, and what we learn from how we deal with it.