Of peaks and valleys, but mostly valleys

31 Dec

When people start to bare their hearts on facebook, that is when I know I should really be worried about them, that something is critically wrong in their lives. It says ‘I’m in pain, in so much pain, and with so little effective support in real life, that I’m choosing to bleed on facebook.’ There is something incredibly heartbreaking about involving facebook in one’s encounters with sadness.

Ok, I get that facebook is a type of ‘real life’ too. But it is a rather shallow and uncaring form of real life, unless you’re one of those rare people with a friend list of under 20; i.e. a friends list of actual, dear friends, as opposed to a more loose collection of friends, both close and casual, that you’d like to retain some sort of interaction with, even if that interaction is limited to hitting the occasional ‘like’ for the occasional profile photo.

I’ve seen forms of this from a couple of friends I consider very dear to me, and from two acquaintances, all of them dealing with love and loss. Identifying pain in friends does not mean one can take away that pain. No mortal being can take away the pain of another. That job belongs to God.

“Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” I remember coming across this in one of Paramahansa Yogananda’s writings. It is a truth that I hold on to as a talisman, at certain points. For those seeking to make a spiritual journey, it is not pain that they are hoping to shed, but suffering caused by that pain. The way life functions, it is inevitable that we will cause pain to our loved ones at times, and our loved ones will cause us pain. Not all pain is voluntarily inflicted; the source of all pain is not an angrily spoken word or a thoughtlessly carried out action. No, sometimes it is our life choices, it is who we are, the part that we know to be the best part of ourselves, that is responsible for causing pain. And we can only weep in a clarifying moment of resignation when we realise that there is nothing that one can do to take away that pain. That that pain is inevitable, that it must happen. And similarly, we too must bear the pain inflicted on ourselves by those who are not responsible in any agential manner in causing that pain.

Pain is a rule of life that is independent of human action. It will happen. Because that is the law of duality, which states that no lasting peace, no lasting joy can be found in the human world that is bound up in contradictory pushes and pulls. Peace and Joy, with a capital P and J, are only to be found in God. We as humans can only touch it in meditation, we can only touch it when we surround ourselves in reminders of God every waking moment of the day. But we cannot be guaranteed to live in it 24/7, until our meditation takes us to the highest stage of spiritual evolution, that of God-Realisation.

The second half of this year has made me acutely aware of the struggles that adults go through in feeling secure, loved, cared for, and cherished. We’re all several degrees of hurting, from traumatic childhoods, from abusive relationships, from various struggles with mental health. There isn’t a lot of compassion going around for adults. Most of us would like to only deal with the well-adjusted kinds. Aside from the fact that I don’t think ‘well-adjusted’ means zero-problems (just that they know to deal with it better than others, most of the times), I think it is an unfair stance to adopt. Why would you leave the hurt adults by the way-side? Who cares for the hurt adults? All adults are, after all, ex-children.

Where does healing come from? Certainly not from us. Healing comes from God. Our role in all of this is to perhaps just extend a loving ear, a loving hand and a loving hug, un-rationed, to all we come across. To ourselves become so filled with the love of and for God that we can’t help but spill over onto those we come across.

For those of us that believe, it is our duty and responsibility to work on ourselves, to fill ourselves with God, because if we’re not in God, we’re no use to anybody, least of all to ourselves. Oh it’s not easy, a hundred million things will work hard to, for instance, derail one’s meditation efforts. But the rewards (in the here and now 😉 ) are great and it was never meant to be easy. I suppose that is another thing I have come to learn over this year…that hard is not necessarily bad.


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