Western Religions tell us that suffering purifies us, and that we must expect suffering to always be in our lives because of our sinful natures. They believe the world is made on the basis of struggle and that struggle is inevitably attended by difficulty, often pain and hardship. The Bible says “Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward” Job 5:7 and in St. John 16:33 “In the world ye shall have tribulation”. The theme being that the chief duty of a human being is to endure life.It doesn’t feel right, that we should not only endure suffering but we are to expect it to always be present in our lives.
We Create Our Suffering
A more humane approach is through Eastern Religion, that tells us we suffer only as long as we stay unenlightened. The Tao is Tao, 79 states “The ignorant create their own agonies, when they allow their desire, greed and hatred to turn the fiction in their minds into the reality of suffering”. The Tao believes most forms of suffering are the results of inventions of our own minds, and our inability to deal with our thoughts (beliefs) and emotions. That attachment and ego are closely linked and that they are the main causes of suffering. They encourage perpetual action to satisfy their insatiable needs. They believe that the main problems of suffering lies in the “sphere of the spirit”, and that they are problems of the mind.
The False Self
The Tao holds that you don’t have to search for meaning, just rid yourself of negative dis-empowering beliefs. That the meaning of life is life itself. If you live this way you will fill the world with beauty and meaning. Cease being run by dis-empowering beliefs, only then will the essential tolerance on a spiritual level be possible. The sooner we accept the realm of the spirit, as part of reality, the sooner real solutions will become possible. Let go of your false self.
Suffering is Optional
Another interesting approach is found in the Hindu religion as expressed in the Bhagavad Gita . They believe suffering is optional , and through awareness we can improve our level of consciousness. That man has a choice.So instead of being doomed to endure a life of suffering, if we change our beliefs we can be one with life. We can create our life. as expressed in Samkhya, an orthodox Hindu philosophy, that teaches salvation through knowledge of the dualism of matter and souls.
We Consciously Create
The Samkhya philosophy systematically deciphers every part of our being, from the lowest level of moral existence to the highest level of eternal consciousness and spirit. Of the 25 elements, two are the source from which the whole universe evolves, consciousness or Purusha, the eternal reality and nature or Prakriti, pure creative power.
Our Consciousness Can Evolve
Within both Purusha and Prakriti, are three fundamental forces called Gunas. The evolution of consciousness begins with an awareness of the predominate Guna within us. Attachment to a predominate Guna leads the self either into enlightenment or into suffering. the three Gunas are as follows.
- Tamas (inertia) the vast unconscious, posses great power but is inaccessible to the will.
- Rajas (activity) the ordinary mind, that races along, desiring, worrying, resenting and competing. It has power but it’s uncontrolled and egocentric.
- Sattva (harmony) the higher mind detached, self-controlled. unity of purpose, character and desire.
Takes a Strong Desire or Need to Change
These are only rough translations, for the Gunas have no equivalent in any other philosophy. The concept of the Gunas is an analysis of both personality and matter differences. But none are cast in a rigid mold that limits our capacity to grow or matter to change. We can change ourselves completely if we really want to, or need to, but we must have a strong desire or need to change the direction of our lives., and swim against the current of our conditioning.
Strive for Harmony
To change we must change inertia and apathy (Tamas) into energy (rajas). It takes effort to overcome the inertia of Tamas. We must then channel that energy into the selfless actions of harmony (Sattva). Only when our energies are per-predominately Sattva, can we hope to unlock the door to the kingdom of heaven.
Levels of Consciousness
Lets take a closer look at these levels of consciousness. Those that are easily overcome by inertia, who procrastinate, who have little energy and cannot bring themselves to do what’s worthwhile, whose actions say ” I don’t care, what does it matter” are per-predominately Tamas.Those with plenty of energy for compulsive activities, who are always on the go but with no particular direction, who have tempestuous passions and appetites, but no will to control them, Raja is per-dominate.And those that give their time and energy freely to help others, who are “slow to wrath”. and quick to forgive, who have the ability to use the energy latent in everyone and harness it for the welfare of all, these people have attained Sattva.
Pain Assisted Institution
Step by step, sometimes over decades, by making selfless choices, we can ascend the “bright path”, that leads to the “kingdom of heaven”. We don’t start life with virtue, no one does. We simply do our best and strive to be better. As we practice, we become stronger. Life is a pain assisted institution, (PAI) we often learn through pain. It is often through the consequences of our actions that we learn the most valuable lessons.
As always , thanks for visiting. Dave