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Reader comment on Ram Dass's passage ...

Suffering Leads to Grace

On Sep 30, 2014 Paul wrote:

Hello and thank you for the questions: To have "finally dealt with suffering" is a statement that is so far off for me that I cannot relate to it. I hear many people use terms, and have stories about "their darkest hour" etc. Suffering is suffering and developing a skillful effort around it is a process, a training, a commitment.

A vast majority of us have not had this "finally dealt with". Though perhaps intellectually it sounds nice. Finally, in this case (to me at least) means complete liberation and having transcended the painful reactions associated with conditional suffering.

In terms of consuming into ourselves, this can be very tricky and I would not recommend putting any more on us than is necessary. Suffering is suffering and if you see suffering as grace then you see suffering as grace, but suffering is suffering, it is not grace otherwise the word suffering would instead be defined as grace. I feel when we learn more about this suffering we are not afraid to call it what it is. It is suffering and there is nothing wrong with it. It is a normal part of this human existence and we need not rename it.

Many stories can be shared, but every time suffering arises I go back to my practice of Anapana/Vipassana and come to see the transient nature of this suffering. It is not grace. it is work, and it works. It is skillful effort and the results are bound to come. But I don't know about grace other than to relate it to suffering, It comes and it goes.

When we are able to see the changing nature of things then our mind stops playing these silly games of attachment, aversion, etc. This is a type of death to the habitual tendencies of the mind, the personality. But were we really ever living, having been slave to this? I think not. So we learn how to live, how to become alive.  

On Sep 30, 2014 Rahul Varshney wrote:

 Well said. I believe those of us trapped by our karma, once freed of this karma, can say with faith, "Through God's grace I was saved from my eternal suffering." This is the catharsis we experience after quitting (or even being fired) from an abusive job. Or when an abusive relationship truly comes to an end. For others it might be doing yoga for the first time and feeling a respite from a food addiction. Or it can simply be finding the serenity of the intuitive faculty through mindful meditation for the first time.

All this being said, we should not "encourage" suffering. I find often in spiritual circles the "master" or "guru" believes that since he/she suffered, his/her disciple should too. I am guilty of this as a parent when I refuse to take the time to plan out my son's day. I leave things to chance, and then when he inevitably misbehaves because the environment was incorrect to begin with, I start snapping at him, and somehow I try to say to my inner self, "Well this is building character." No it is not! It is simply a reflection that I have not properly dealt with my anger and letting the power or "rush" one gets with procrastination keep me in ignorance.

Our dharma is to liberate the world from karma. "The Truth shall set us free!"

On Oct 3, 2014 Thank you! wrote:

Amen, Rahul.  This is truth. 


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