The world in duality is not typically understood as the interplay of perceived opposite but complementary forces to maintain a harmonious balance. We have been taught to select one of the forces and reject the other.
In this world we value compassion. Some religions and “spiritual keywords” label compassion as something “good.”
Nevertheless, compassion comes from the experience of suffering.
Isn’t suffering “bad”? 🙂
How is it possible to be compassionate without knowing what suffering is? Knowing is not reading about it. It is living it.
The experience of suffering brings greater sensibility to a person.
John kicked the rear end of his dog “Huey.”
If John had the sensibility to empathize with the suffering of others, he couldn’t do harm to a less capable being.
That sensibility allows John to act without a commandment, such as: “Thou shall not kick your pet’s behind.”
Perhaps John has experienced that sort of suffering which has allowed him to breakdown his ego into pieces and to know first hand, what compassion is.
On the other hand, John could have rejected the experience of suffering and that rejection could have created a sense of revenge. Obviously, revenge is the other extreme, which is meant to strengthen the sense of ego.
When John is ready to self-transform, that sense of revenge will necessarily have to transform into compassion.
That is most “seekers’” journey.
The ego is shattered through suffering. When that suffering is perceived as a traumatic experience, more rejection will be built and bitterness will come out.
A bitter person is someone who continuously rejects the experience of suffering as “bad luck,” or a “punishment” from God, destiny, etc.
That same suffering is the opportunity to self-transform: When the ego diminishes its size, then there is an automatic perception of that Totality, wholesomeness of Life.
As my friend Mathias says: “The Universe holds a mirror and most are interested in only seeing the reflection of their own faces. By doing that, these individuals miss the opportunity to see the reflection of everything else.”
That is the experience of a self-absorbed individual.
Looking back at my life experiences, Ananda was born out of the ashes of a different person, Avyakt7.
Avyakt7 went through different kinds of suffering. Those were originally taken as traumatic experiences (thus, the need to heal emotional wounds), which brought a feeling of fear, uncertainty and the greatest need to cling to something to bring some sort of security in life and … even after it.
That “security” thing may have different labels among individuals: God, wife, husband, family, work, etc.
The suffering of “losing” all of the above and more, becomes the source of liberation from all.
That suffering transforms when we bow down to life and allow life itself to change us. This is not surrendering but bowing down; that is to allow that life force to do its work as when we watch the forces of Nature, like a Hurricane or a Tornado, in their presence we bow down in awe.
Therefore, suffering is a medium to transform. It is a medium to know about compassion and a medium to dismantle the arrogance of the ego.
Is suffering “good or bad”?
Like everything else, it all depends on the state of consciousness looking at it.
Ananda typically walks in the morning by the Bay: The new day is fully alive; it is a delight to smell freshness all around: Dolphins swim nearby, all sorts of birds arrive for “early breakfast,” and the Sun shines its warmth equally among every living being.
Ananda realized in that walk, that the clearer his mind is from thoughts about himself, greater enjoyment will be experienced.
Ananda also experienced, that whatever the heart desires, the mind will make it happen…. Even if it is not “real.” It is all about those thoughts shaping the reality to fulfill unconscious wishes.
Playing with those thoughts about the reality of “me,” is called self-absorption.
When we reach that stage of consciousness, we see life only in relationship with our perceived “Me.”
If “I” have a problem, nothing going on outside will matter unless that which “I” see outside “myself,” helps “me.”
For example, if someone “falls in love,” and there is no correspondence as she wishes to happen; the ego will be hurt. That pain will be expressed through continuous thoughts about the same thing, for something has to be done to change that. Even though, life changes as we move in time, the thoughts from the past and future will be there hunting that person down, until “something” happens which is interpreted as “beneficial.” Then a “new story” is built by the mind.
Someone in that state of being cannot appreciate anything. That self –absorption does not allow for life to continue on, but it stops in the wall of the “Me.” For most, that is a very strong wall.
“I am hurt, thus the world does not matter.”
That is extreme self-absorption.
Ananda was smiling at the runners by the Bay, saying “hello” to them. But, a “hello” back to him seldom happened.
Most of them weren’t “real runners,” for running, as running in itself wasn’t enjoyed. It was about losing weight, getting a “workout,” etc. Anything but enjoying that running, enjoying that activity of moving one foot in front of the other through a graceful jump… all by itself.
You could see it in their faces. All hooked up to their devices, phones, radios, etc. To be in another reality until the “workout is over.” 🙂
In self absorption, the beauty of Nature is of no consequence when all it matters is to “lose weight” and “ to look good” as if there was a “judge” waiting to judge the “results.”
In self-absorption, enjoyment is an unknown long lasting experience. It is all about results, all about “getting there and make it happen.” Never mind the “process.”
When someone is self absorbed, to “do “ and to “have” are important as long as they enhance the sense of “me.”
My family is important as an extension of me.
My car is important as a perceived status of me.
My body is important as an image of me.
Exercise is important as a tool to reshape me.
God is important, as long as He helps me.
Meditation is important to feel good about me.
My thoughts about “me” will not allow “me” to appreciate “Me.”
In that state of consciousness, it is very difficult to experience oneness, for “Me” only sees separation.
When the capacity for enjoyment of life is gone; when feeling gratitude for being awake everyday is gone; when all there is in life is to “take care of me,” through the “same old thing,” when the only joy remaining is to “purchase” new things or to taste “new things,” at that point there is a need to change, for that self absorption will literally kill you.
That “me” is truly your worst nightmare. Wake up to save yourself…