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HOMESpiritual Psychology

Spirituality and Suffering

Published on December 3, 2018


Pain and suffering are universal human constants. For those who suffer the deep pains of the heart it is sometimes helpful to remember the suffering of the rest of humanity. On the most basic level one fifth of the world’s population or about a billion souls suffer from hunger and malnutrition. Many of the women of the world suffer from repression, and sexual abuse. But hardly a soul escapes the pain of misunderstandings and the feelings of separation that comes from the hardening of the heart. No one really enjoys the pain of suffering and most are anxiously trying to escape it. But it is impossible to grow or change unless we embrace the darker side of human consciousness. The enormity of suffering on our planet is a painful reality that is difficult to face and yet sometimes in the face of our own suffering it helps to confront ourselves with the truth of human existence.

Through the darkness I walk deep and troubled, each thought an attack on my soul. Bleeding without end, lost with no ground, fallen low, how does God mean this to end?

Love is such a mysterious force and it usually gets us into trouble for one reason or another. The pathway of the heart is not for timid souls for once we open the heart we make ourselves vulnerable to the cosmic spirit that wills us onward and upward to purify our love.

Emotional anguish, heart replete.Violence to my being, suffering lovers twisted turn.Braving the fires, holy dreaded flame.Looking for the coolness, knowing not its name.My love tested, stretched to utter

limits,crest fallen sparrow, heroes chosen path.Love experienced to the depth of my pain, knowing its use, reaching for gods holy name.

The rejection of our love and one’s deep being is an essential problem that leads most people away from the risks that living in the heart can entail. Love is blind to all the risks but the head is not. That part of us that wants to avoid all necessary suffering is the same side that secretly is afraid of rejection. Suffering is central to spiritual evolution if we concern ourselves with the heart, which is the doorway to our deepest beings.

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The most loving, the most open and the most sweet hearts still have their flaws their resistance to love and oneness. At the heights we fall moving in and out of oneness. The self has it’s movements, we cross

back and forthcrying the tears of the hardening and melting heart.

On our individual life journeys we naturally go through many trips, fall into many traps. The issues surrounding the heart, issues of love, are painful. Many people are afraid to risk opening to the deepest feelings of the heart because the predominant experience of life, on the heart level, is the hurting of love. The head never really allows the heart to love. The head never really goes deep into the experience of love. The heart on the other hand dives deeply into things saying, "I am going to do this even if it kills me." To one with an open heart the warnings of the head are useless. We know what we should do, ought to do, want to do with our reason but the heart persists until the end.

I awake, the currents move,the tides come in.I keep my eyes closed,dwelling near the edge of consciousness.So vulnerable, feeling my heart  ache.I pray sending my consciousness out,asking for

strength as I sink into the pain,the hurt at the core of my being. My body shakes, I cry, feeling what is there and what is gone

There is in every one of us a child who wants to be loved. When we have love, nothing else seems to matter. But so many people have been so hurt by love that they end up closing down their cardiac center altogether and thus seems immune to the storms that revolve around love issues. They may be very nice and sweet, but their tendency is toward the mental and they disdain the emotional or feeling components of an open vulnerable heart. The nature of life in our society has forced most people to retire behind walls of emotional scar tissue. At the other end of the spectrum are the very emotional beings that are so identified with their emotions that they become self-obsessed and on a never-ending treadmill of suffering. They have a very difficult time picking themselves up by their own bootstraps.

To open to our pain, is to open to our vulnerability, and in reality this is often the easiest and quickest way to expand our capacity for love and joy. The heroic challenge on this earth is to reopen to the totality of our heart after it has closed. It might seem strange connecting pain and suffering to love and joy. But if we cannot experience one we cannot experience the other.

The world lives in great fear of love.We do everything to avoid what we all secretly want. We fear everything about love.No matter how

much we want love, read about love, talk about love, think about love,

we do not love, not enough, not ever, for we can always love more, a lot more. The world is far from love, further than we know. The

Marriage of Souls

Fear operates most powerfully to choke off love. Our entire sense of security often rests on our attachments so we desperately fear the loss of what we are attached to, secretly fearing that emptiness that is loss. We control our love objects thinking that this will make us secure. We want what we want, never letting things be what they are, always wanting things to be what we want. For many people love is the basic feeling of being secure and they only feel secure when they get what they want.

When we are suffering that pain is telling us something. It is telling us it is time to do something, see something, feel something, imagine something that will bring us insight and change. It could be a stimulus for us to get back in touch with the source of life, to be more humble, to look learn and grow. Anytime that we are threshed out on the floor, there is something that we are not seeing, something to learn. Often it’s possible that what we need to change is our attitudes and some of our basic beliefs in life. Often many of our harmful beliefs are creating our pain and unhappiness in the first place so the suffering sets the stage for change.

Our human race loves to make images of divine beings who seem beyond it all, super gurus and avatars and grand illuminated masters who are no longer suffering. Enlightenment is the promise of eternal bliss in many peoples minds and is something we can accomplish alone. Yes it is possible to remain in ones center of peace even amid the incredible sufferings of life.  Happiness and joy are our birthrights. We deserve it and our destiny is to achieve it. But on this planet there is no such thing as perfect happiness and joy. There is no such thing as a life without difficulties and challenges. Even the very highest and most achieved beings have their difficulties and challenges and to pretend otherwise is to lead others astray into illusions and deceptions.

The essence of HeartHealth is that it is truth that will lead us most quickly to a stable state of happiness that is real and authentic. And the truth is that to avoid suffering is the worst strategy we can possible have in life. We can never conqueror what we avoid. HeartHealth is looking for what we call steady state consciousness, steady state emotional balance, steady state happiness and joy. Like a ship moving through the sea we can cut through almost any wave with grace and balance, but there will always be a few that will crest over our bow. HeartHealth exercises are designed to move the center of balance deeper and deeper into the heart so the center of balance of our ship of life becomes more even, more a steady state but not an illusorily perfect state of joy.  No one wants to suffer really but we all need to do some work on ourselves. And no matter how badly we want to be perfect we have to settle with something less than that. There will always be some waves that shake us up somewhat.

For many people who have a hard time with the words suffering and pain you could exchange these words for stress. Stress is a form of suffering and it is telling us that our entire life or organism is out of phase with tranquility and harmony. Stress is not the feeling of steady state joy. When we reach the full power and passion of the heart we are revving up our engines and pushing our ship of life through the waters of life at flank speed. The increased intensity does not stress us out it just creates more joy and challenge which we dance with. And the bow of our ship gets stronger and higher and fewer and fewer waves have the power to crest or swamp our ship of life.

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Dr. Mark Sircus AC., OMD, DM (P)

Director International Medical Veritas Association
Doctor of Oriental and Pastoral Medicine

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