Who Is It That Suffers?


I have mentioned in previous posts that I have chosen not to comment on the current situation regarding the pandemic, which has affected so many people around the world. I’ve always felt that there are enough armchair experts out there, without me chipping in as well.

But, with the amount of suffering that is going on, I feel inspired to write this post, not necessarily just about the current world-wide situation, but about suffering in general.

Like many, I have learned that going through difficult experiences has a habit of forcing us to look within ourselves for strength and inspiration, as opposed to looking to the external world; which quite often is the source of our troubles. It is also true to say that as a species, we evolve via our experiences, and being as our true nature is consciousness, this is only natural as consciousness is in a constant state of flux and evolution. I personally, feel very positive about what is happening in the world; I feel that the end product will be something quite amazing. Let us not forget that we have this wonderful thing called relativity and that the world moves in cycles. After every fall there is a rise and every painful experience ultimately leads to a pleasurable one, and vice versa.

Once again, I’m going to refer to the teachings of Ramana Maharshi to demonstrate the whole point of this article, as I feel his simple philosophy holds the key to whether we as humans live a life of peace or pain. The Maharshi would always address questions from devotees and visitors to his ashram in accordance with their ability to understand, so from this respect, it would be impossible to say that the following is the exact answer that would have been given to everyone who asked the question. But quite often, if anyone asked him why they suffer so much or why there is so much suffering in the world, he would say, “who is it that suffers?”

He would tell them to ask the question, “who am I?” The only answer being, “the One eternal Self.” He would remind them of this; their true nature, and say something like, “if you are and always have been the Self, which exists as it is with no knowledge of suffering, who then is it that suffers?” The answer to that question is that it is only the ego that suffers because of our habit of falsely identifying with the body as the reality.

No one is saying that it’s an easy ride; far from it. But having the understanding that we are ultimately just “the witness” to what is happening and not a participant helps a great deal. Finally, I refer you to my previous blog post “Be Still.” I find that simply being still is a very effective way of getting through each day. There is most definitely something happening, but we need to look within ourselves to find out what that is. I find that it is only during moments of stillness that the Self reveals its secrets.

Promises


1555425_1388661071395910_773736335_nThe sort of promises I’m referring to here are more what you would call vows; the type you make when you get married for example. Have you ever wondered why many people find these vows so difficult to adhere to, and why (if we continue with marriage as the example here) so many marriages end in divorce these days. The answer, quite simply, is because the human race as a collective, still does not really know what love is and therefore puts conditions on it. We ask of those we claim to love what love itself would never ask of another.

Our very nature as a species is that of evolution. The individual soul experiences life in the world so it may know itself in its own experience. Or, so it may know experientially what it otherwise only knows as concept. It is these experiences of life that instigate the growth and evolution of the individual soul. As the soul evolves its perceptions and outlooks change. This means that our very nature is that of change; we do not stand still. Love would never ask another to restrict and impose limitations on itself by not changing when the very nature of life is change. A vow made today may be relevant to the person you are today. But six months, a year, five years or ten years down the line, you are not the same person; you have evolved, therefore your vow may no longer serve who you are and who you are choosing to be. In this world of relativity there is no right and wrong there is only that which serves you and that which doesn’t; right and wrong are simply relative and a matter of individual opinion.

Instead of expecting someone to “love, honour and obey”, what about “I honour your right to explore and express your individuality and I also honour your right to continually recreate yourself in the grandest version of the greatest vision you ever held about yourself”. This would be love in action, not superficial love with conditions. If this principle was applied more often to relationships of all kinds the world would be a much better place.