Pain and suffering are two different things. One can experience pain, but not suffer. Pain can be a pleasurable experience if we feel that we are gaining something from it.
We suffer when we see ourselves as the victim and when we hold attachment to whatever we see as the cause of our suffering.
I studied to a fair depth both the buddhist teachings and the Vedic teachings, spending time in monasteries and temples, experiencing and searching for some meaning to our existence. They both taught the principle of non-attachment, but the beliefs around them differed slightly.
In a nutshell, attachment = suffering. To free ourselves we must realise and accept the impermanent nature of the reality that we live in. Life is in a constant state of flux and flow. Nothing we experience in this world is permanent. Everything will change and everything will wither and die.
I had a profound experience of this one Christmas day. I was a strict raw foodist at the time and had given up my attachment to cooked food. I ate only raw food in its simplest form. I didn’t even think about making it taste nice. I ate a big plate of chopped vegetables for my Christmas dinner and then went and sat away from the dinner table and observed everyone eating.
I went into a trance like state and saw the passing of the times, maybe a little like what scrooge experiences with the ghosts. I saw that every body around the dinner table would one day be no more, and then I saw the house that we were in disintegrate and disappear. I observed it all happening in complete acceptance of it.
It is human nature to become attached to whatever we experience with our five senses, but we can take a conscious leap out of attachment when we can completely accept that, which we are attached to is impermanent. If you are feeling sad, don’t worry because this too shall pass. If you are feeling happy, don’t worry because this shall also pass.
So what is eternal…what should we focus on…and just what is the goal? I want the truth!!! What studying the world religions did for me was give me a foundation to then discover the truth. It can get confusing when they all have a slightly different slant on it. The trick is not to be attached to any one particular teaching or doctrine.
Another profound experience happened when I was deep in meditation. I asked for the ultimate truth and I was offered love and gratitude. This was experiential for me and every one of my cells bathed in love and gratitude for a number of hours. I was ‘home’ for a short time, but then it slipped away and I felt myself become annoyed as I tried to grab onto it, but it just slipped through my fingers. Ha, I had become attached to it. so even when you find the ultimate truth, don’t become attached to it was my lesson there. All I could do was shake my head and laugh at this realisation.
Now my journey is to learn to cultivate this love and gratitude in my daily life. Some days I feel like a Yogi Master and other days I feel like a Neanderthal, so to speak. But in all my searching, I would say that the most important lesson to adhere to is simply, keep going. So if you meet Buddha on the road, keep going! 😉
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