Travelogue VIII: Suffering

Just read Zibin’s latest blog entry. And I feel inexplicably moved by the wisdom of that entry. It serves as a powerful reminder to myself.

I, too, get too easily troubled and disturbed by external stimuli, be it people, the weather, situations or things. On the journey to becoming more and more deeply anchored and so less affected by external stimuli, I think the increasing sensitivity to my own reactions is a significant step. That too, requires inner silence. Silence in order to hear the movement of my own heart, my mind, and my soul.

I am also finding, that a huge obstacle to self-honesty and betterment is self-rejection. I never knew the depths of my own self-rejection. I always thought I dared to see myself as I really am. I was mistaken. All along I’ve been too afraid to honestly reach out to my innerself. Afraid that I would find proof of unworthiness and unlovableness. This fear is something that absolutely nobody and nothing in this world can take away from me. I’ve long tried… looking in all the wrong places, for someone or something to take this fear away from me. To prove me wrong. I’ve even tried proving to myself that I was wrong. All futile. It was also unnecessary, as I have recently learned. For I am already perfectly accepted and loved from eternity.

As part of my own defence mechanism, I’ve long needed to believe I was strong. But I had a mistaken presupposition about strength. I thought if I was strong, that I would not be as easily affected, or hurt by what goes on around me. But now I realize that it takes real strength to acknowledge just how much my environment affects and shapes me. I must first acknowledge that, before I can truly step out of it and transcend the influence external things have on me.

Life is most certainly not a bed of roses. And human beings are all capable of great suffering. We are often blind to other people’s suffering. That may be reprehensible. But it is not as dangerous as being blind to our own suffering. That is not the same as self-pity, however. When we understand our own suffering, we master it. And we cease being victims, even when nothing else changes. And I truly believe, that it is only when we learn to understand our own suffering, that we can more clearly see other people’s pain and offer true empathy.

There is a herculean task that bears upon me. A task I’ve always shrank from because I am afraid of rejection, of loss and of being misunderstood. I now know what I have to do to lose the fear. When the time comes, I hope to be fearless enough to be loving, truthful, and just. Come what may.

Meanwhile, I must be a student of suffering. Of others’, but more importantly, my own. For there is great wisdom there. When I learn how to suffer, I will be free.

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