HSEP29: Transcend Human Suffering; go in - to get out
Can we really transcend human suffering? Well, that depends on what you think that means. If "transcending human suffering" means that you will reach a place in life where you no longer suffer, and the rest of your days will only be pure bliss, then... No. If "transcending human suffering" means anything about your future, then... No.
This is such a great point to clarify because, so often, in our human obsession with the past and future, we look for these spiritual concepts to affect the past and future, rather than seeing how these concepts pertain to the reality of right now. We are under the hypnosis that the prize in life is beyond the present moment, that the whole point of our existence is about reaching some photoshopped image of the future, and escaping some distorted perception of the past. This misses the real point and opportunity of Life and being human, all together.
Spiritual concepts, pointers, and teaching, serve as signposts to guide you back to reality, back to what's real, back to what's true. All of which, is only happening right now. If the pointer is to transcend human suffering, then the invitation is to transcend suffering NOW. This includes any degree of emotional disturbance that might seem to be blocking a sense of wellness and ease that allows you to enjoy your human experience, or at least be at peace with Life and being human.
The challenge here, with the confusion that it's about past and future, is that it completely distorts the teaching and turns it into something it's not. It's like trying to take the real and use it to affect the unreal (the dream of past and future). In this approach, we only find a disappointment that ends up blaming life, or maybe it shows up as some sort of resentment for spirituality in general. "This isn't helping me get to the future I want!"
As one understands this more clearly and applies the teaching to the present moment experience, then one develops a skill that they effectively take with them into the future. The invitation here, is to stop trying to protect yourself from future suffering and get in touch with the reality of your suffering - NOW, in all its forms and flavors. The only suffering you're going to encounter in the future is the suffering you haven't resolved - NOW.
Transcending Human Suffering - is the present moment experience of realizing that You are not really suffering. I say it this way as a matter of pointing, inviting you to see something profound. The intensity of suffering we experience revolves around our identification with the suffering. Maybe more accurately stated as; suffering is a dream where the character of you is disconnected from what you crave, missing something that appears to be vital for a sense of wholeness. Underneath ALL suffering, is a perception that sees yourself as 'not enough,' or sees yourself as undeserving of... Love.
There is an intensity of belief that - you are this character that's lacking something, and, that what you imagine to be happening to you (the stories being told) are actually happening to you. In these stories, are 'meanings' being created that express this lack of worth, value, and separation from what you crave. Yet, the stories and meanings being believed in, don't actually exist outside your belief about them. In other words, you're creating something that doesn't really exist and then believing in (identifying with) it. It's the same as having a dream during the night and thinking the dream is real, and in your assumption that the dream is real, your physiology (body and mind) respond as if it's real.
The playful disaster, in this, is suffering in the dream and then trying to resolve the suffering in the dream. This is also like dreaming about monsters and then trying to run away from the monsters, in the dream. The running away from the monsters only validates the monster's existence. The running away says it's real. The act of trying to escape - reinforces the idea (the dream) that you're trapped.
The spiritual invitation is to stop running, stop trying to get away from suffering, and... look at it. Look at the monster, face the monster, and see that it's not really a monster. See that it's not real, see that what you think is happening to you (being chased by monsters, missing what you crave, or being unlovable), isn't actually happening to the reality of what you are. All of these things are happening to the character in your dream, and it's the character that is suffering - not YOU.
Granted, depending on where you are in your journey of self-inquiry and looking beyond the mind's fearful conditioning, it might seem incredibly unclear - this difference between what you really are and who you only imagine yourself to be in the world. This, though, is the real spiritual journey, to get more in touch with the reality of Self & Life, and gently release your grip on the mind's dream about self and life. All spiritual practices, in some way or another, invite you to see this more clearly, invite you into presence and connect with the moment that's actually happening.
Go In - to Get Out
Most people are trying to get out of suffering, rather than deeply understanding suffering. Trying to 'get out' of suffering, only shows that you don't understand suffering. If you understood suffering, you wouldn't try to get out of it - for this only implies you are separate from it, or that it's happening to you, rather than coming from within you.
This is why I often say that, "All suffering is the result of an innocent misunderstanding."
We are misunderstanding our human experience, imagining things that are not really things, imagining meanings that don't really exist, and struggling our way through a dream that we adamantly, but mistakenly, believe is reality. And, this is all so incredibly innocent. To judge it as wrong, would only be to have another dream about the dream.
To "Go In" is to fully ALLOW the suffering, which is quite an interesting invitation, given the determination that says you 'should not' be suffering.
You can not truly understand something if you don't first fully allow it to be what it is. If there is ANY rejection of it, any judgment, or any effort to avoid it, then you're essentially saying that you don't want to understand it. Which, makes perfect sense, if you also believe it's attacking you. Just like with the monster in your dream, if you believe the monster is real, then any invitation that invites you to make friends with the monster simply sounds absurd.
This is where the real power of spirituality comes in, the power of teachings and pointers. They invite you to be a little bit more curious about your human experience. I mean, people often come to spirituality because their current attempt to run away from monsters isn't going so well; they are simply exhausted and don't seem to be making any meaningful progress. So, naturally, they ask... "What is really going on here?" This is the curiosity that sparks the spiritual journey, even if it's not defined as "spiritual," it's ultimately a journey of connecting with reality in a deeper and more authentic way; which, of course, is the ultimate remedy for connecting with what you truly crave.
Come watch the show!
I'm so stoked to be diving into this more during today's first live broadcast, for "Holding Space for Love to Be Seen." Join the conversation by watching live on YouTube, share your comments, bring your questions, and let's HOLD SPACE together. Tell your friends!
If you are part of the FREE inLight Connect Community, you can watch the recording here for a limited time.