I’m so happy to be back and writing again after a long break. Part of the reason for my absence here is that I have been dealing with online identity theft. The takeaway for all of us: complex, unique passwords and as many layers of security on your accounts as possible.
Yes, I see the irony in protecting my identity. Who am I really? Not my name or social security number. But in the realm of infinite possibility, it makes sense to be practical and protect yourself as needed.
What to Do With All the Pain
As readers here, you know that this blog is all about lasting happiness and true freedom. But are these truths universal? Do they apply to people suffering in difficult circumstances in all corners of the globe?
This is just the question asked by reader Tristan, who writes,”Are these answers universal? What should someone do if (s)he is going to be abused tonight if dad/uncle comes home drunk/horny/aggressive. Or lives in a war zone, and may have her/his child murdered tomorrow?
“I know I can achieve my own peace by shining awareness on everything, and my middle-class circumstances afford me plenty of space… but I worry for our sisters and brothers I mention who still suffer in agony while I claim my peace… I feel so such pain over that that if there isn’t a realistic answer for them too, I would actually rather not be alive.”
Yes, these answers are universal. The truth is not selective. It is the reality of everything always. It is stable and unchangeable and applies everywhere and to everyone. So how do we understand these situations of immense suffering?
Deeply Investigate Who You Are
This question invites an investigation of who we really are, and who are all these other beings on the planet who are suffering. Who is it who is peaceful? Who is the one who is suffering? Let’s start with you.
When you look in your direct experience to find yourself, what is there? You will find thoughts that come and go, a body that changes over time, feelings, habits, physical sensations – but you will not find an entity that is you. So who you think you are is all of these experiences congealed into what seems like a separate self.
But there is no actual self, there is just these experiences, coming and going and changing. And the same goes for the rest of the almost 7 billion of us on the planet. We think we are separate, but in actuality, there are no separate selves.
Let’s then go straight to the heart of the matter and ask, “Who are you?” Who you are is the consciousness that comes before all thoughts, feelings, habits, sensations, etc. You are unity, non separation, non division, the space of awareness, the source that everything arises from. You exist, you are.
You are the purity of love itself before any objects or thoughts about the personal self arise. And this is true of every thing, every person that appears to be a separate entity.
Tell the Truth About Your Beliefs and Habits
Before this truth is realized, we buy into our belief systems, habits, and feelings that divide and separate. We justify bad behavior toward the apparent “other” in our thoughts. We compare, judge, and make ourselves and others better than or less than. We are misguided in our intentions, coming from fear, and lack, and not from love. This is what creates the suffering in our world.
And there is so much of it because only a tiny percentage of people investigate the truth about existence, and an even tinier percentage are open to realizing the endless well of peace that is possible. The vast majority of beings on the planet run on mind-created beliefs and delusion, fear and lack.
Don’t we all know the pain of being victim and perpetrator? I haven’t been physically violent in behavior with others (except for a girl in second grade), but I have said hurtful words, pushed others away, and been less than kind toward myself. I have let myself be the victim of others’ unconscious confusion when I knew better. And I know I’m not alone.
When any of our habits go unexamined, and we don’t admit the truth of who we are, there is great suffering of all kinds.
This is true even for those who commit the worst acts and for those who are the recipient of them.
From this place of non separation rises understanding and even compassion. Because when we truly see the apparent “other,” our heart knows there is no difference – we see ourself everywhere. Sometimes this moves us to help others or simply to be so very kind in the simple acts of daily life, including toward ourselves.
This is the ultimate healing – to be alive in the understanding of non separation and to live the unfolding of life in the knowing that all is love.
Allow Everything and You Will Be Peaceful
Should you take care of yourself and your loved ones in the face of threat? Absolutely. In the great openness of awareness, nothing is excluded. Are there times of great helplessness in the face of all the suffering in the world? Yes. And as you let that helplessness in without resisting, painful as it may be, feeling or action may arise.
When you claim “your peace,” it is not actually yours in the personal sense. There is no you to whom this peace belongs. You are touching into the truth of reality that is available to everyone – to all our brothers and sisters who are suffering.
Be a Living Testimony of Infinite Love
All behavior, all events that occur, unfold from original innocence. See that, then feel into the intensity of unexamined belief systems that bring about tremendous suffering. Eventually, only love is left. And, for me, the fire to bring awareness to any vestige of misguided thinking that may remain so the personal “I” dissolves, leaving presence, aliveness, and love.
Choosing not to live because of the suffering of others would be a sad waste of amazing potential. Instead, consider dedicating this life you have been given to living the truth. Clean up all your belief systems that confuse and limit.
Since there is only unity, the joy and ease will be felt everywhere, even if it is at the most subtle level.
For the next day or so, look into, and behind, the eyes of everyone you meet – people familiar to you and strangers – and see that the source of you and the source of them is the same. This is where we all meet in love, as love.
Any reactions, comments, or questions? I’d love to hear…