“Suffering has a noble purpose – the evolution of consciousness and the burning up of the ego.”
Everyone seems to be able to relate to the word ‘suffer’ in some form or another. Some people call it pain. You probably do not have to try too hard to think of someone you know who, in your eyes, is suffering. I know quite a few people who seem to be going through some sort of suffering – be it pain, illness, family, health, or job issues and the big one…..money issues!
The weird thing is, as Eckhart Tolle says in his books, we may be in a life situation that we are not happy with, but there is no need to suffer over it. We can accept what is and go from there. I know this sentence can seem so untrue to a lot of us. We can’t believe that we could not suffer over something that we seem to believe is so horrible.
But if you break it down the following way it does make sense:
If you are in a situation you describe as horrible, sad, hard or unbearable, it is this belief that makes you suffer. The situation is what it is. Acceptance is the key. Once you accept what is, then you are no longer resisting life, thus you do not suffer. It doesn’t mean you give up. It means you can choose where you go from here, with more clarity and focus, because you will be taking action from your inner being, and not your ego.
If you label it as horrible, then you are adding suffering to it. Your ego wants you to see your situation as suffering because it feeds off these thoughts. It wants you to be a victim. Your ego also thrives on getting others’ attention. If you complain, become defensive or outraged etc., it is the ego at work. It wants you to feel alone and separate from every other living thing, when you are not separate at all.
I have people in my life who appear to be suffering and it is hard to see someone you care for in pain. But after speaking to someone who I consider to be close to, if not enlightened, he helped me to understand why it doesn’t help me to put myself in a state of suffering as well. He explained that every single person is responsible for their own state of well-being, including myself. If I suffer because I see someone else suffering, then I not only add to that person’s suffering, but I add to my own pain on top of it. The main ‘Aha’ moment I had was when he said that I am not helping that person at all by not taking care of my own well-being. But if I stayed in a state of pure presence – being totally aware and in the present moment – then this is the way that I can serve that person, who in my eyes, is suffering. It’s the only way that I can be of service. In this conscious state, I can listen without judging. I can BE with them without telling them what they should do. If they do ask me for my opinion, then it will come from a deeper place, an ego-less place, and I will not be attached to the outcome. If they decide to follow my advice or not, it will not matter.
Everyone is on their own path and is here to experience life no matter what form it takes.
So I do believe in Tolle’s statement above. I believe it because I put it into practice and it works. If you intend to develop awareness in your life every day, you will see as you catch yourself in either your thoughts or in your actions, that each time you do, you tear away a piece of your ego and you will feel more peace in your life every day.