For the Highest Good…Amen!
To end suffering, stop wanting anything. Stop desiring anything. Stop seeking anything. Just be like a baby in the arms of the mother. As a friend said to me the other day, “Experience the effortlessness of your being.”
Suffering comes when we clench our fist and think that to succeed we need to clench even more and more. Relief from suffering comes when we realize that the solution we’re looking for is to unclench the fist and open the hand, relaxed.
The mind can manufacture endless stories about how we screwed up in the past and could be in a better situation than we are now. The mind is great at leading us to think that we are a victim or that we are guilty and whatever else. That is the mind clenching, holding onto its sense of separateness. The mind/ego fears for its survival, and thinks that it will die if it doesn’t keep clenching.
Our Higher Self can witness the dramas of the mind and executively decide to let go, release, unclench. To unclench requires willingness. Are we willing to let go of the drama? Do we see that this mental story of drama is leading to suffering?
Sometimes the suffering can feel like it is a good story to keep giving energy, to keep juicing. And, maybe it is! If we suffer enough, then we might inspire ourselves to finally let go and change. Like the story about someone holding a hot coal, the time to finally drop the coal is when you no longer even have to ask and you drop it automatically. As long as you are asking, maybe you need to hold onto it a little longer. Finally, it will be too hot, and you’ll drop it.
I notice mental stories/dramas come up over and over again, the same repeated story that projects blame on someone else or myself, and ultimately leads to experiencing some sense of suffering. Because – to feel like one is the victim or to feel like one screwed up is a subtle negative state that can be categorized as suffering. So then, why do I allow these stories to keep come up, and how can I totally let them go?
With one of the recurring stories, I sat down with it and analyzed it deeply. Is this true? What’s the reality of this situation? What are others ways of looking at this? How is this actually a blessing? What can I learn from this? How can I learn from this so it doesn’t happen again? What are the lessons to take away from the scenario?
In the context of learning, everything can be seen in a positive light. Everything is a blessing. To have the patience to sit back, relax, and analyze a scenario is one way to transform mental suffering into something meaningful.
As Viktor Frankl talks about in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning – with any event, as long as we can find some meaning in it, we don’t have to suffer. If we feel things are meaningless – like, “I lost all this money,” or “This relationship ended,” or “I’m sick and getting sicker,” – if stories like that manifest and we don’t take the time to find meaning in it – to find a lesson to learn – to find a blessing in disguise – to see the good in the situation – to see our opportunity to contribute and grow and become better – then yes, we will suffer. But the meaning is always there. We just have to look for it.
So…how to be free from suffering?
There needs to be some context – some over-arching attitude toward life – that you are willing to apply in all situations, in all circumstances, in all conditions – no matter what!
So to adopt the attitude, “Everyone and everything around me is my teacher,” means moving through life, every moment, as a student, constantly learning or looking for the lesson. In this context, even if you get hit by a car, robbed, and your house burns down – you can sit back and say, “There is a lesson for me to learn here.”
Ultimately, from a spiritual perspective, one of the primary lessons to learn in this school of life is that, “Happiness, Peace, and everything Good is Within.” As Jesus recommends, “Wear the world like a light garment.” Be in the world, but not of the world. We can move and be in the world and engage with all the material things while keeping an awareness that affirms, “Peace is within. Happiness is not dependent upon external circumstances. I have the freedom to be happy always – it is just a matter of being aware of that.”
What are some of the other key lessons to learn?
Well…no matter what level of consciousness someone is functioning at…just to be learn that there is always something to learn – that is fantastic! And, if you’d like, to embrace the idea that the major lesson of life leads to ever-increasing happiness, peace, joy, serenity, all the positive emotions/experiences, etc. So, the more ‘learned’ someone is, the happier they are. That is the sign of real, successful, spiritual learning. Real learning leads to great happiness, peace, happiness, joy, compassion, gratitude, appreciation, all the good stuff!
To be free from suffering,
we come to accept that ultimately – all we really want is to be happy in this moment. Happy, peaceful, joyful, grateful, whatever resonates with you – realize that what you want is an internal state that depends on awareness.
Realizing that what we want is within, and fully knowing it – beyond mere believe but coming to know it experientially – and remember it absolutely – then we can move in the world without being affected by all the various things that come and go.
With this understanding and awareness that what we are seeking is within, we become increasingly vigilant of those things that occur on a ‘more within’ level than the material world — what I”m referring to here is the world of thoughts. We see that thoughts are actually outside of us – and that what we’re looking for is more within than our thoughts. We see that thoughts are actually like events happening in the world. To watch a person score a touchdown in a football game is similar to watching a thought story come up about when you were in kindergarten and counted to 100. Notice the thought is a thing, just like a spoon is a thing. Whether you are aware of a thought/story or a spoon, in both cases – you are aware. You are the witness. You observe the thought; you observe the spoon. Because you are observing it, you are not that thing. You are the observer of that thing.
Just like the body. You observe the body breathe and move do all its thing. You have the great fortune of watching a human body live – and every now and then if you consciously think about it – you can exert the will to control the body in a particular direction or way of behaving, but even that is limited. If you watch the human go about the day, you’ll see most of the time it is just on auto-pilot.
So yes, happiness is even beyond the body. Because, if you think about when you feel happy – maybe you feel happy right now – how conscious of you are of the body? Maybe as you read this, you are a bit more conscious of it, but really the body is just like anything else in the room. You can choose to focus awareness on it, or not. And, the awareness of happiness can be present regardless of whatever is being observed internally. It just matters with what eyes we’re observing the world. Do we look at things and say, “I have to possess that” or even, ” I have to destroy that,” or “This is good, this is bad,” or are we simply looking at things non-judgmentally, not with any stories about them, but just accepting things and allowing them to be as they are – witnessing as a neutral observer.
The main thing is…to realize our happiness is not dependent on external things. If we internally promote the idea that we need certain external things in order to feel happy, we are setting ourselves up for misery. The greatest treasure is within us – we are already that which we ultimately seek. So, knowing that we are already that happiness itself, that happiness is within, we can freely be among material things without clinging to them one way or another.
Whenever you catch yourself feeling disturbed, annoyed, angry, etc., notice how you were not “Wearing the world like a light garment,” but were perhaps taking it a bit more seriously than Jesus recommends. Notice how you were projecting happiness on a particular outcome, and because that outcome didn’t happen, you are experiencing some sense of unhappiness. And then, re-affirm that the Kingdom is Within. Close the eyes, take a few, slow, deep breaths, force a really big fake smile and even let out a few big fake laughs, — and then perhaps look for the lesson to learn from the scenario. Aside from the scenario teaching you that you will continue to suffer as long as you project happiness onto external things and don’t wear the world like a garment, what else is the lesson for you?
“No appointments, no disappointments.” – Sri Swami Satchidananda
The main thing I learned from writing this…
The heart feels very open.
There is a sense of watching the human body do its thing, clicking away with the keys, etc., while the real “I” is somewhere else, yet aware of a few things in the material world.”
The witness…cultivating the witness…
Quite entertaining to watch the human rather than identify with it. Just watch it go about its business.
I am certainly guilty of occasionally projecting happiness outside myself. Particularly with the recent flurry of bitcoin fun, I’ve felt a bit caught up in that wave – borderline obsessing over the rollercoaster of the price. So what is that – a financial concern? Eh…I think it is actually just for fun. Interestingly, I wouldn’t know what to do if I had more money. Wearing the world like a light garment, there is a clear understanding that the world doesn’t need to be saved. We are all here being provided optimal scenarios for our spiritual evolution. Of course, if I see opportunities to be of service, I embrace them. The key is to not cultivate the thought that, “Unless I do this and that and the other, I’m a failure.” Although, in a sense, such a thought can lead to spiritual progress. Anyway, realizing the world doesn’t need to be saved is a way of demonstrating trust and faith in God. God created the world and is handling it all just fine! Of course, we are each moved to service in the divine way.
Alas, this human pet is being moved to bed. And as it moves to the bathroom and moves to sleep and such, I will remain the witness. Watch it move! And watch the thoughts…if the thoughts are a bit unruly – then yes, think good thoughts. Otherwise, no need to think anything. Just witness and enjoy the show! Make funny sounds with your human pet, play and have with it. Take good care of it. Treat it well. Moderation.
“Simple living, high thinking.” – Mahatma Gandhi.
Role model success! What kind of success are you looking for? If you are looking for spiritual success, where better to look than the Sermon on the Mount and the life of Jesus? Buddha’s life and the Dhammapada, Gandhi’s Life. Mother Theresa…all different ways of living a holy life, some living more in the world than others, but all certainly wearing the world like a light garment. Even if they rendered incredible service and fed millions, the great spiritual giants still did not think they failed if they didn’t feed one more person. They reason they fed some many or taught so many or meditated so long was because that action – for them – was the action that facilitated their connection with the presence of the Peace Within, the Kingdom Within, God Within. Feeding people is a great way to know God. Meditating is a great way to know God. Studying scriptures and standing against negativity and standing for non-violence and truth is a great way to know God.
Glory to God in the Highest!