What is our job in this world?
So, what is our job in this world when it comes to human (and other) suffering? How are we to respond to pain and suffering?
I have clients tell me they feel guilty – guilty for being happy when others are suffering, guilty for being in joy and happiness when others are struggling, guilty for succeeding when others do not.
Do we need to suffer along with all others like this?
Do we help them by suffering as well? Do we help them by not experiencing the good that we have access to?
Let’s define a few terms. There is pain in life. To me this is the crap of life. This is disappointment, this is illness, injury, losses. These are the things that happen to all. There is no avoiding these events.
I have heard someone say that pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. In some ways I agree with this, as suffering is about HOW we react and deal with the pain that comes our way. And yet to claim that we can somehow never suffer….I think that can be harsh and a denial of our experience in the moment.
Self compassion teaches to accept and even embrace the suffering….for ourselves. Step two of self compassion is to say “suffering is a part of life”, that it is normal, that it is OK to be feeling it. This is kind.
Heart centered folks feel a lot. Much of the time. We feel deeply, good feelings and not so good feelings. So when we see sad, hurtful things, it tends to also hurt us. This is ok. It is how we are, how we were born.
But then, after the initial impact of the feelings, what do we do? Do we keep dwelling, keep feeling badly for that person or situation? Does that help them?
I say NO. I say that dwelling (intentionally, not just having it cross your mind – that is almost bound to happen), does no one any good.
Dwelling on suffering simply brings YOU down. It lowers your energy. It makes you feel sad or mad. It does not assist those suffering in any way.
When we see suffering, what shall we do?
If you can help in some real, practical way, by all means do so! Lend a hand, give support, give some money, give some time, give your energy. Give as your heart leads and your resources allow. You will be blessed by anything you offer or give or do.
Then comes the time after the helping. You reflect, you think, you feel about it all. What then?
If you believe in energy, if you believe we are all connected thru energy…..then to sit and feel bad would be sending those suffering folks more saddness. Do they need that? I say no.
What they need is love and light and positive energy. And how might they be able to receive this? First by YOU being in love, light and positive energy. YOU need to experience it, sit in it, be emersed in it. Once you are full of this good state of being, then think of them. Wish them the same good state you are in. Send it to them. Wrap them in it! Wash them in it! See their circumstances improving. See them doing better.
I no longer feel guilty when I am in a moment of joy or pleasure. I savoy it, feel it more…..and then if I do think about others who may not have what I have…..I wish for them the same. This is similar to the loving kindness meditation (“metta” meditation) that buddist followers do. It creates compassion. And in that meditation you create good for you and within you before you send it to others. You cannot give what you do not have!
I believe we make this world a better place by being in a good, positive, happy, joyful place ourselves (as much as possible!) Then and only then can we share it with others.