The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet. - James Oppenheim
In class 25 you will:
- understand why there is pain in a perfect world
- work out how to make negatives work for you
For the last few classes we have been talking about ‘so-called’ negative qualities. To summarise all negatives are really just the bludgeon of change. Every negative quality is actually just a wall we hit as the last stop before we learn and grow. It was the Dalai Lama that said that there isn’t a big problem that did not start as a small one.
This is true of all pain. Believe it or not, there is not a thing that happens in the world for no reason. Just as if a child was about to burn himself by putting his hand into a flame, an adult would yell and grab the child from harms way. The child might cry with the shock of being yanked to safety but most of us would say that that pain was necessary so the child would learn and grow.
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.-
So it is for us exactly the same. Each so-called ‘negative’ that we experience remains negative while we experience it as a negative. For the child, we all say to the child ‘look you were so lucky, we saved you from being burned’. We try to teach the child that the pain was actually a positive experience because now it has learned and it will act differently. If this works the child will forget the pain of being saved, he will act differently and the lesson will be learned. If it did not get the lesson properly – it might feel angry or resentful at the pain the adult that ‘saved’ it inflicted and not learn a valuable lesson. In effect, the child would allow the pain to be swallowed down and fester inside the child, in resentment or anger.
This is the problem with negative qualities. If we do not act upon them, they can literally burn us up. Just like fire, if we do not use its energy to cook or direct it’s energy in positive ways then it can get out of control and start destroying things. All ‘negative’ qualities have this same directive, they will harm us if we don’t hear their message, but they can be very positive if we act.
Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It's all in how you carry it. That's what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you're letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain.- Jim Morrison
In mathematics there are negative numbers and positive
numbers, they do not change. For us, they do. If we want to progress in the
spiritual life than we must realise that our numbers have to keep rising. What
we deem to be a negative quality right now might be another’s positive. The more
we progress, the higher these qualities must become. For example, a few years
ago it might have been acceptable for you to be angry every day. Now, however,
you see the effect anger has in your life - now you treat it as a negative and find the action your anger wants you to change in yourself, and immediately make yourself determined to act upon it
(see class 22).
Perhaps to just not be in pain might have been a positive a month ago. Now you aspire to higher numbers. Now you realise that you can blissful, so pain is no longer necessary.
Pain is almost always an indicator of a lesson not learned. A time for us to stop and reflect. A time for us to shut up and listen. There is no blame. There is no need to beat ourselves up. This is one of the steps forward, one of the 99 times we fell off the bike, so that we could eventually ride it. This is a time where we are being given the opportunity to leap forward. Sometimes without pain this is not possible. Our leaps sometimes need the extra focus pain gives us.
Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever. - Lance Armstrong
For us with our children, we try with love to direct them. Sometimes that doesn’t work. So then we have to make rules that give them boundaries. Sometimes even that doesn’t work. So then we might have to act angry to make them realise that we are serious. Sometimes even that doesn’t work. So then we might have to inflict pain. Grab them forcefully from the boiling pot, so they don’t burn themselves.
Isn't it strange that many mothers describe childbirth as
the most painful but also the most powerful experiences of their lives. That the
most essential part of life, birth, should be at a time of such powerful pain.
So do you have another opinion of pain now? It is here as the last resort.
It is here as a blessing. It is here as a tool, the bludgeon of change.
The soft-minded man always fears change. He feels security in the status quo, and he has an almost morbid fear of the new. For him, the greatest pain is the pain of a new idea.
Martin Luther King
Our choices shape every one of our experiences. If we choose to believe that life is painful and that there is no getting around it than our experience will reinforce that belief, we will see pain everywhere. We will think of ourselves as victims of life and we will not feel responsible for our own happiness. But if we come to realise that life is actually blissful, that we are in actuality right in the middle of heaven, then we might also come to realise that the so-called negatives in our lives are blessings as well.
We will realise that every one of our choices create our life’s experiences. That we are responsible. We are the creator. Then we will begin to realise that life is actually a beautiful and fantastic gift, a wonderful opportunity for us to grow and learn in bliss and love eternal. That the so-called pain is really just to give our bliss more width and depth, our love more space, more dimension. That pain is the beginning of the next great leap forward.
For this exercise we’ll take a moment to really dive deep into our heart. I would like you to realise that we are going past the superficial mind with thoughts going everywhere. Deeper and deeper, past the subconscious mind and finally into the heart, the home of our intuitive experiences, the heart of love. Deeper and deeper into the heart. Feel it expanding all around you. Deeper and deeper. Here there is no longer superficial thought, there is only the 'aah' of the present moment.
For a moment to entertain the idea that here in the heart, life is actually blissful. That here, there are no negatives, there is only a wider and deeper love.
You are calm and at peace. Then for a moment, reflect upon a time in your past that might have been painful. In a universe that is blissful, what was the meaning of this pain? Sit with it for a while. Feel your calm expanding, your love expanding and see if you can get yourself to a place where you can say thank you for that blessing. Thank the universe with peace and serenity and love and hopefully, real sincerity. There is a lesson there. There is a truth for you, a wisdom that needs release.
Allow yourself to feel the pain, but not to experience it as a negative, but to feel it as a necessary step. A launching pad. A place of determination to change. If you need to, forgive those that you have blamed, with love and real peace. Feel the release. The peace.
There is no blame. Every part of what happened was necessary at that time. It is all perfect. It is all good. And now you are safe and secure and calm and in love, deep inside your blissful heart.
If you are still holding onto that pain as a negative, release that judgement. Release your anger or resentment and change in exactly the way the lesson is guiding you to.
See if there is someone you need to forgive. A resentment that you have swallowed down. Release yourself. Forgive.
For some deep seated pain or resentments you might need to do this exercise over and over again. Remember that every negative that we hold within us is an anchor holding us back, slowing us down, so let it go and feel yourself being freed.
Finally be sure to remind yourself that you can be free of all suffering. You can be free from all pain. It is your natural state. Do not buy into a world that causes you suffering and you are a victim. Realise that every experience of yours is chosen by you.