Dear PI teachers and counselors,
I have heard from a spiritual teacher/director that pain promotes growth and learning in life. He said that ease is pleasurable, but if one wants growth, pain is necessary. Is this true? Do we always have to feel and experience the pain in life for us to grow? Is it necessary to personally experience contrast before one experience relief? Is there any possibility to learn and enjoy life without experiencing pain, without experiencing contrast?
Thanks in advance!
Thanks Garth, with your reply i get some answers and clarity. But please allow me to ask more questions for further clarity.
You mean to say that pain is illusion?
Can you describe what does a passion to contrast look like?
How can one touch the surface of contrast and not be lost in the drama of contrast?
Pain and suffering is Human's way of life.
Don't believe? Ask yourself why the cross is a holy symbol for Christianity? The cross is an instrument of torture so why did it become symbolic? :)
So yes, pain and suffering is needed for us to grow... They are our greatest teacher in life. Without having too much of pain and suffering then when will we ever start to look for ways to ease those two and finally ended up, in my case Buddha's house. :)
Becos of pain and suffering that we approach enlightenment or awakening. Without pain and suffering, why do we want to be enlightened or awakened? :)
One way we can look at it, is we are trying to escape pain and suffering but on the other hand, pain and suffering is herding us towards awakening. :)
If we wish to live life without pain and suffering then the question is "How aware are you of yourself?"
Peace be with you.
My dear Garth,
I too know that pain and suffering is an illusion. I too understand why that pain and suffering is an illusion.
But how many understand and know like me??
"If we wish to find the word 'strawberry', we look in a dictionary; If we wish to know where is the honey then we can ask a person the location of the honey; if we wish to find a description of a strawberry, we look in an encyclopaedia. We can sing about strawberry and even write poems about it.
But if we were to taste the strawberry then everything we know about the honey pales in comparison to how it truly is."
What I am truly doing is pointing the ways to field of strawberry and once you taste it then you understand it.
The way of Buddha is never in believe system but through true knowing, understanding, seeing and experiencing it.
'If I tell you that I have a gem hidden in the folded palm of my hand, the question of belief arises because you do not see it yourself. But if I unclench my fist and show you the gem, then you see it for yourself, and the question of belief does not arise.'
So I do not believe but to know, see and experience it.
The pain and suffering is an illusion that cannot be deny but the most that I can do is point you to the fields where the answer lies. Whether you wishes change or not is solely up to you.
Indeed Garth, you offer me perspective but I offer you awareness or mindfulness which in the process, if you do it right will grant you inner wisdom.
Now Inner wisdom or insight is totally different from perspective and it doesn't come from you but the connectedness within yourself and the spiritual world.
"I may the person who write this book but I am not the writer."
So who is? It comes from Inner wisdom or some would like to put it, higher self, inner presence or Being.
Through Inner wisdom then can you fully realised the insignificant of pain and suffering. You will also appreciate their existence as this is what it mean to be "Human."
To be human is a privilege that is grant to soul or presence or being. For only by being Human can we have the necessary requirement to be enlightened or awaken.
However, it is also a curse since being means having ego as well. And ego is the main cause of all pain and suffering. Physical suffering cannot even compare to it.
Since pain and suffering is an illusion then too is ego who is the perpetrator. So how do we deal with it?
Indeed what Garth offer is a very temporary solution to dealing with ego, pain and suffering. But Buddha offer the freedom from all these illusion which is awakening or enlightenment.
I am not promoting Buddhism but I have tried Garth way and I find that Buddha's way is still the best.
The answer to escaping our daily life illusion is Awareness, Consciousness or Mindfulness.
So I have pointed the answer to you, whether you wanted change or not, is solely up to you.
Peace be with you
There is only one way, and that is the true way...
Eventually everybody who seek it will come that one and only way....
Nevertheless that way will be extremely hard and is mostly covered by self made illusion...
Nevertheless, I am not only saying Buddhism has the way but even Christianity is pointing the same way... And so I believe all religion is pointing to the same way too...
Eventually the path that we will take is that one and only...
Nobody needs to believe me for it is not the way of the Buddha... So don't believe me, do it yourself, experience it yourself and see it yourself.
One way or another, you will come to the same understanding of either the Buddha or Jesus Christ. Both of them understand, experienced and saw it, unfortunately, their message can only point us to the field of strawberry, how we arrive it is entirely up to us but eventually, there is only one path that lead to the strawberry field.
I am not saying Buddhism is the ultimate way to enlightenment, I am saying Buddhism is a interesting way to enlightenment which require only your understanding, experience and seeing. I am pretty sure many want prove and not just blind faith. So do it yourself, taste one of the strawberry then there is no more believe but knowing and seeing.
Feelings? No, I do not even take feelings into account becos feelings itself is not me but part of the body. Heart or mind is Citta in Hinduism, Vinnana is consciousness and Manas is intellect.
Manas is the one who is using Vinnana and controlling Citta.
So when you say the heart, it means only Citta and not even noticing or controlling it but let it decide things for you. This is not true and dangerous, for Citta is the one that must be notice and control. The tool to controlling is Vinnana and I can say we are the Intellect which is Manas. So what I am doing now is strengthening my Manas in order to correctly use Vinnana to police Citta.
Garth, you have still to reach the right understanding. :)
I have went extremely deep and not just brushing the surface but yet I feel it is still not deep enough. So to only understand the concept above is to practice what the Buddha has recommended. The above concept however may be wrong for in the sutta, Buddha says that is a waste of time to even understand when it begin and where it ends.
As you can see, it is both very conflicting but yet it rings true. This has nothing to do with the teaching of the Buddha for Buddha never offer to understand the mind completely but to uplift dukkha which is pain or suffering or attachment and etc. The word Dukkha itself is vast and cannot be just pain and suffering if we take the time to look up the sutta.
I can say, there is only one way but how we find that way is entirely up to us. When we manage to find the way then what comes next is only for us to know.
Words or labels is extremely dangerous especially to Man. It can lead them to destruction or lead them to salvation. Words is used for both. So whatever we say or write, we must always be responsible for it for it can either lead to pain and suffering of another or ourselves. Never underestimate the power of words.
I do not agree about expressing the feelings... Feelings comes from Citta which is the heart.
I would put it as expressing the wisdom and spreading what we know from our practice.
Feelings should not and never dominate our lives as condition happiness is impermanence and so is condition Joy. Condition happiness will eventually lead to sadness and so is condition Joy.
True happiness and joy can only be achieve through inner peace. To reach Inner peace require a lot of practice but it is not impossible for impossibility is also impermanence.
We should never be too attached to happiness and joy for becos of US pursuing happiness and joy that we undoubtedly cause untold suffering and pain to others. To have a lot of money means a lot of happiness right but how we get those money is another matter.
Peace be with you.
Words itself is indeed meaningless without Man...
Words are totally meaningless towards other lifeform on earth and yet words itself dominate the entire earth and are now reaching for the stars beyond even our solar system. Why did I say that? Bcos now man is naming the stars and putting label on them when in truth these stars don't need a name but we human needed it to easily identify the countless star.
Words are use to express what we are thinking at the time but yet words are limited. Extremely limited for it cannot express all emotion that our ego had not identified.
What is even more cruel is when our ego has identified it, our ego take it as we already knew everything there is about it.
Ego itself is limited too as it can only reach as far as our six senses within can reach. Anymore then that is label superstition. So ego is a sad thing we have in our own personal identity.
Words itself also is created by the ego and used by the ego to create pain and suffering with only words. Don't believe me? All wars started with words.
Yet wise and enlighten man saw the potential in words although at times it is totally difficult to express what is needed for their disciple to understand.
Like the strawberry, if I were to tell you about the strawberry then the best I can ever do is only to describe it but not to make you fully understand it. Only when you eat it can you understand the full meaning of it.
So words is used for expression but limited by the ego. So only the ego know about it but Being doesn't understand it at all until Being tasted it and then fully understand.
We all already are . . ."all" we may choose to believe and experience we are not !
Believe .... :)... Thank the Buddha I am starting to let go of Believe and move on to knowing, experiencing, understanding and seeing.
We are all already en-lightened !
already whole, complete and abundant !
Sadly, no, we are not enlightened even though we have look beyond the illusion created by the mind... I know, I was where you are but when I look further and realize I was not even the slightest bit enlightened.
Another word for enlightened is awakening.
What is awaken? How do you feel when you awaken from your slumber every morning?
What is the first thing you do when you open you eyes?
The answer is you start being conscious of the world.
But yet being awake every morning doesn't make you enlightened.
So what do we need to be conscious of?
Our mind? Our Body? Our Feelings? Our Action in our everyday life?
Or is it all of the above?
There is another word for consciousness which is awareness...
What I later discovered was that I hardly pass the junior level at all. Such simplicity of being conscious within ourselves, even then I cannot do. I need to practice even more.
Enlightened? Garth, I don't even think you know the full meaning of enlightenment. And were you to only stop at the personal ego then you are just starting to awaken but not fully, just a small little crack....
Why small little crack, becos you can identify your ego but you have yet to see past it...
I can definitely say, you are not enlighten but just starting to be awake.
And the above post about Manas, There is some slight error within the phrase I use. We are not Manas but we use Manas to interact with our body. We are entirely not of this body but something beyond.
You can see, I practice everyday and every practice is pain and suffering. Indeed it is. The pain and suffering must be look beyond in order to find the truth behind it and no, I didn't anything sadistic but just plain mindful meditation.
Many of you take meditation as something of a nice activity, Yes, it is a nice activity but it can also test the limit of your mind and develop your concentration... how long can you concentrate on your breath before being hammered by with images created by your mind?
Me? Barely 15 minutes or less. I sit 30 minutes but my concentration is just 15 minutes or less. Enlightened? LOL!!!!... I still have a long long long way to go but yet I will still go... During my course of developing my concentration and developing awareness, I notice my life is changing around me. People closeby change without me lifting a finger.
And the everyday practice of concentration and awareness, I start to see slight improvement too... I am really happy... eventhough the path to enlightenment is long and tough but it is not impossible.
This is my understanding of enlightenment, We are born like a rose bud covering the beautiful flower. Our ego is the bud surrounding and protecting us but our ego is relentless in its protection so sometimes eventhough we want to bloom, the ego still insist we should be protected by it. Becos of ego's insistence, ego indirectly cause us pain and suffering eventough ego means well.
Most of us is still in that bud still control by the ego, and some of us notice the ego and make friend with it. However, ego is ego, it will one way or another cause unintentional harm and our duty is not the stay in the bud but bloom out of the bud.
However, we can't becos we do not know how to break open it entirely. We didn't know the force of opening the bud and why should we? The bud is so protective of us and so we are attached to our ego trusting in its protection.
So we are trap within the flower bud.
However, many prophet came along and start probing and poking at the bud telling us to "Wake up!! This is not you... You are a beautiful flower and not a flower in the bud."
But how do we open up? How do we break free of ego?
Many of us concentrate entirely on the ego. It is the wrong direction for we should not concentrate on the ego but concentrate on enlightenment. Didn't the Buddha say that enlightened means freedom from Dukkha?
So why are most of us still looking at the ego and not looking at enlightenment?
But yet I don't blame others. I too was lost for the direction although it was found in the text but was too hard to understand or in other words too easy to understand but I was too egoic.
The way to push the bud free is in my case awareness. I do not know any other technique and it was not discover by me but by Eckhart Tolle. He say it out clearly but who took heed? Who was even aware of it?
Awareness is the answer to his teaching... And awareness is also the teaching of the Buddha. However, awareness is given another label which is Mindfulness...
By concentrating on awareness then we are concentrating on blooming. Our awareness empower growth within us and we are starting to be aware of everything within and without. Finally when the flower has finally open fully then will the flower bud disintegrate and drop away from us. Until then the bud is still very much with us.
This is my understanding of enlightenment. However, as I say, I still very bad in my concentration and will look forward to prolong it. Hopefully I can concentrate fully for an entire day on of these days. I am still young but thank the Buddha I start now. So I still have time.
Do any of you have time? You only got 24 hours a day you know? How many of you are aware of the precious 24 hours?
If you are not even aware of it then how are you awaken? :)
Peace be with you. (Yes, I know, I have written too long a post. Sorry.)
Like any communication medium the body receives and sends the messages that it is given. It has no feeling for them. All of the feeling with which they are invested is given by the sender and the receiver.
Jeff, When assisting people with the healing process, it is necessary to meet then where they are and then help to integrate the split mind.
"The body can bring you neither peace nor turmoil; neither joy nor pain. It is a means, and not an end. It has no purpose of itself, but only what is given to it. The body will seem to be whatever is the means for reaching the goal that you assign to it. Peace and guilt are both conditions of the mind, to be attained. And these conditions are the home of the emotion that calls them forth, and therefore is compatible with them."
Read the entire section below to get a better idea of this principle. We create the contrast and we have the power to integrate it to the One truth. Peace, love an joy are our inheritance. If we believe we need pain to grow then pain we will have and guilt will be the cause. To attain peace, though, we must first take responsibility for choosing otherwise, in the ego mind. It's the ego's teaching that ease and pleasure are sinful. Can you see how we get in to the guilt, which then must causes pain and sickness, even death?
VIII. The Attraction of Pain
Your little part is but to give the Holy Spirit the whole idea of sacrifice. And to accept the peace He gives instead, without the limits that would hold its extension back, and so would limit your awareness of it. For what He gives must be extended if you would have its limitless power, and use it for the Son of God's release. It is not this you would be rid of, and having it you cannot limit it. If peace is homeless, so are you and so am I. And He Who is our home is homeless with us. Is this your wish? Would you forever be a wanderer in search of peace? Would you invest your hope of peace and happiness in what must fail?
Faith in the eternal is always justified, for the eternal is forever kind, infinite in its patience and wholly loving. It will accept you wholly, and give you peace. Yet it can unite only with what already is at peace in you, immortal as itself. The body can bring you neither peace nor turmoil; neither joy nor pain. It is a means, and not an end. It has no purpose of itself, but only what is given to it. The body will seem to be whatever is the means for reaching the goal that you assign to it. Peace and guilt are both conditions of the mind, to be attained. And these conditions are the home of the emotion that calls them forth, and therefore is compatible with them.
But think you which it is that is compatible with you. Here is your choice, and it is free. But all that lies in it will come with it, and what you think you are can never be apart from it. The body is the great seeming betrayer of faith. In it lies disillusionment and the seeds of faithlessness, but only if you ask of it what it cannot give. Can your mistake be reasonable grounds for depression and disillusionment, and for retaliative attack on what you think has failed you? Use not your error as the justification for your faithlessness. You have not sinned, but you have been mistaken in what is faithful. And the correction of your mistake will give you grounds for faith.
It is impossible to seek for pleasure through the body and not find pain. It is essential that this relationship be understood, for it is one the ego sees as proof of sin. It is not really punitive at all. It is but the inevitable result of equating yourself with the body, which is the invitation to pain. For it invites fear to enter and become your purpose. The attraction of guilt must enter with it, and whatever fear directs the body to do is therefore painful. It will share the pain of all illusions, and the illusion of pleasure will be the same as pain.
Is not this inevitable? Under fear's orders the body will pursue guilt, serving its master whose attraction to guilt maintains the whole illusion of its existence. This, then, is the attraction of pain. Ruled by this perception the body becomes the servant of pain, seeking it dutifully and obeying the idea that pain is pleasure. It is this idea that underlies all of the ego's heavy investment in the body. And it is this insane relationship that it keeps hidden, and yet feeds upon. To you it teaches that the body's pleasure is happiness. Yet to itself it whispers, "It is death."
Why should the body be anything to you? Certainly what it is made of is not precious. And just as certainly it has no feeling. It transmits to you the feelings that you want. Like any communication medium the body receives and sends the messages that it is given. It has no feeling for them. All of the feeling with which they are invested is given by the sender and the receiver. The ego and the Holy Spirit both recognize this, and both also recognize that here the sender and receiver are the same. The Holy Spirit tells you this with joy. The ego hides it, for it would keep you unaware of it. Who would send messages of hatred and attack if he but understood he sends them to himself? Who would accuse, make guilty and condemn himself?
The ego's messages are always sent away from you, in the belief that for your message of attack and guilt will someone other than yourself suffer. And even if you suffer, yet someone else will suffer more. The great deceiver recognizes that this is not so, but as the "enemy" of peace, it urges you to send out all your messages of hate and free yourself. And to convince you this is possible, it bids the body search for pain in attack upon another, calling it pleasure and offering it to you as freedom from attack.
Hear not its madness, and believe not the impossible is true. Forget not that the ego has dedicated the body to the goal of sin, and places in it all its faith that this can be accomplished. Its sad disciples chant the body's praise continually, in solemn celebration of the ego's rule. Not one but must believe that yielding to the attraction of guilt is the escape from pain. Not one but must regard the body as himself, without which he would die, and yet within which is his death equally inevitable.
It is not given to the ego's disciples to realize that they have dedicated themselves to death. Freedom is offered them but they have not accepted it, and what is offered must also be received, to be truly given. For the Holy Spirit, too, is a communication medium, receiving from the Father and offering His messages unto the Son. Like the ego, the Holy Spirit is both the sender and the receiver. For what is sent through Him returns to Him, seeking itself along the way, and finding what it seeks. So does the ego find the death it seeks, returning it to you. A Course in Miracles
Awesome Elaine, i got enlightened with your reply :)
XF and Garth, thank you too for discussing your beliefs and backgrounds, i am empowered by the knowledge you both have. Please continue! :)
Hello Magical Realist,
Thanks for differentiating what suffering is and what pain is. So if i get you right, you mean to say, to suffer is a choice, but to feel pain is a natural way to learn by finding out what you are not in alignment of? It this correct?
Don’t buy into any spiritual twaddle which seems to ‘justify’ being stuck, struggling or pain in any way. Anything which speaks endlessly about ‘how much you can learn’ or ‘how much your soul needs it’ and so on. You won’t feel good, you won’t resolve anything and you won’t make any progress. Life will just stay shit.
Instead, focus on what you actually want.
Years ago when I was unemployed for what seemed like forever, I got a solution when I did just that: I asked the Universe for a solution. Not by eulogising on how much I had learnt by constant rejections and feeling useless. Not when I tried to justify it by telling myself that I needed a rest. And not by thinking how many wonderful lessons my soul could learn by getting by on £55 a week.
But by focusing on a solution, asking for it, and getting it.
Pain and suffering are not necessary. Watch Abraham Hicks videos.