Suffering

We have all asked the “Why me?” question before. Why me and not someone else? Why did I have to experience this? Why am I so unfortunate or so lucky?

I know many healers and psychics who are quick to answer these questions. It’s because in a past life you attacked this child. Or there’s an entity problem. Or you were traumatized in this one lifetime and now are reliving it until you have fully digested the experience. And our world is the way it is because of a, b, and c.

Sometimes this approach works well and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes energy work is that simple. All at once you can feel incredibly validated and give yourself permission to feel what’s been buried. We take down some armor and let the experiences move us. But sometimes this kind of thinking limits us. It gives us a false sense of control. Maybe all this happened, or maybe you are going through something totally beyond. Maybe this is just an aspect of experience you agreed to. What are the limits and extensions of “you” anyway? Maybe “you” just wanted to know suffering in this way. Maybe god has something so big in store we can’t know right now what this even means. Maybe the window your clairvoyant is looking through is facing away from the sunset, missing all the color.

 

Staying in this kind of openness to possibility is especially important when it comes to how we relate to our suffering. When suffering is perceived as out of our control, such as a sister dying, a friend moving away, or becoming physically ill, we want to know why. And the “why” in these scenarios most often drive us to blame. We want to blame and we strongly believe we are owed. We have suffered and now we should get something in return. Many of us are suffering because we have sacrificed so much, nearly everything. And it is not working. We want a reward for all of our sacrifice. It is thickly woven into our thinking. “I gave so now I am owed something.”

Another version of this is “If I am good nothing bad will happen”. When we say things like “They didn’t deserve that” it is our own little back door prayer. If this could happen to them why couldn’t it happen to me? It is hard to say, I’ve sacrificed so much but so what. Maybe I should stop sacrificing. Maybe I should stop seeing it as a sacrifice. We must stop thinking that we are owed by god. We cannot heal if we are stuck in this way of relating to the divine. So many people wonder why their life has ended up the way it has, shocked by the outcome. Bitter at the past. There is mystery here that no one can escape.

When we pretend to have all the answers, or believe our brothers died because of a, b, and c, we lose that mystery. We dishonor divine justice. Divine justice is beyond our human mind. It is god’s justice – it is from that zoomed out view, where everything  falls into place. Within human justice, our ego, desires, and monkey heart get in the way. The plan of the universe is too big for us to fully understand.

Trusting in divine justice is hard, and I mess it up all the time. Especially when I see people who came here to suffer. Suffering is their purpose this time around. And it will not stop for them. Not for a second. The hungry, lonely, and tortured. For many, this life ends long before the suffering ever could. These people know where real suffering comes from. I’m reminded of the addicts, depressed, and imprisoned people of my teen years. The child soldiers killed in battle, the enslaved, tortured, and the war torn. I work with a man who has killed others. He truly believes he will never stop suffering. I’ve seen him glare at his hands as if they were despised and defeated enemies pleading for his mercy. This suffering is the same place where feelings and ideals die. It is also the place where love, freedom, and pride are born.

 

In the intersection between divine justice and self-agency lives an element of control. Suffering is not purely outside of ourselves. We are, in some capacity, in control of how much we suffer. We have the ability to choose where we go. We can choose healing modalities, meditation, affirmations, and prayer. We can choose to stay stuck. We can choose to get back together with that old lover. We can choose to stay bitter. And there is an element we are not in control of as directly. If we were in complete control, suffering would not exist.

I do not know much about divine justice, but what I do know is that it is not about punishment. The point is not to punish those who did wrong. Your suffering is not a punishment. Your suffering is also not a reason why you are better or worse than other people. Suffering is not special. Suffering seems to be the karmic playing chips – it is what we exchange and how we bargain with god. It is the medium of the game. The point of suffering is to save us. Justice is not done until every person involved is complete. It may take a few hours, or a few lifetimes.