Meaning in Suffering
With suffering comes change.
It is interesting that we pursue some sort of truth, as if life will eventually give us an answer to all of our seeking. However, living the question is what opens us to a path of abundance.
Much of what we experience is a way of breaking through our self-defeating ideas. To be one with Tao's flow toward abundance, wonder allows us to embrace each opportunity.
Nature abhors stagnation and has been evolving and perfecting itself for billions of years. If nothing is static - how can anything be classified as truth? There are only snapshots of change over time. Ideas may serve scientists for centuries, only to be overturned with the realization of new perspectives.
Meng tzu wrote: "When great responsibility is about to befall one, life appears to confound all undertakings. Thereby it stimulates the mind, toughens the nature and improves all deficiencies." The path gets more difficult because we are being called to a higher order.
Limitations are nature's breeding ground to develop its strengths.
Unlike a deity, whimsically deciding to test our endurance, Taoism teaches one to follow the evolutionary thrust of life that is simply seeking the best of what it might become.
Appreciating nature's tremendous power to renew itself, we discover that this same power is within and transforming us. Suffering is the distance we travel from this power. By exploring 'what is,' we are cured by 'what is not.'
Life only meets us halfway. The other half of the journey allows us to discover what we are capable of.
"Those who have suffered know much which is denied to the continuously healthy: and those who have been exalted - have realized truths which are out of the reach of those who lead quiet, equable lives."
Finding peace through hiding is an illusion. Nature is relentless in its movement toward regeneration and nothing can hide from its pursuit of something better. Nature does not play favorites and it does not sugar coat. When the season of change is upon us - it is better to release ourselves into the great river and discover the meaning of 'what is.' We learn that each moment fits us perfectly.
"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat." It reminds me of Kahlil Gibran's poem about Love:
"But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure, then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor, into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears."
With suffering comes authentic fulfillment.
A forest fire burns away old growth to prepare for the new. The same pollution that causes ocean temperatures to rise is often washed away in the very hurricanes that are generated from warming ocean temperatures.
One thing cannot be separated from another. It may be your desire to hold to the outworn that is at the root of your suffering. Trust that all is unfolding exactly as it should.
Black Elk would say:
"You have noticed that truth comes into this world with two faces. One is sad with suffering, and the other laughs; but it is the same face, laughing or weeping. When people are already in despair, maybe the laughing is better for them; and when they feel too good and are too sure of being safe, maybe the weeping face is better."
Laughter, tears, the pursuit of change always breaks our defenses to remind us that we are natural creatures in a natural world. It is our feelings that will re-connect us to the pleasure of living.
To believe that we can withstand the forces of change is what leads to our suffering.
Suffering is that which leads us anywhere but here.
It is better to follow where the changes may lead us. Those who defend freedom the most vigorously are often unwittingly restricting the liberties of others. Because we cannot understand the profound dynamics leading life to evolve and it's inter-connectivity, it is better to emulate nature's ways during Autumn, and turn back to be renewed. In time, Spring will return, and we will blossom.
It does seem that the closer we are too success, the more we feel the weight of what is honing our strength. Making peace with the changes and learning to follow the special nuances of our journey, we awaken into a world that knows we are coming - and always meets us half way.
It sometimes takes walking through the darkness to discover one's inner light. Trust that the way is unfolding to lead you to yourself.
Once I had a vision. I had the sense that the universe was speaking to me, so happy to have delivered my dream. "Everything around you ~ all that you see, are bits and pieces of all that you have asked for over time." I could actually feel the trees clapping. I was puzzled at first because I had moved into a different idea of success.
I realized that to be ungrateful only confused the flow of events. I did see how the present was exactly a tapestry that wove together decades of the many things I had asked for.
It is our gratitude that allows us to acknowledge these bits and pieces as gifts. To awaken in the moment and to be grateful, returns us to the flow of abundance.
Suffering can follow periods where we have lost our sense of gratitude. Like the seed that must be broken open to grow, we are released from our 'hard-headedness' and returned to the moment.
Suffering isn't about punishment. Suffering is how the rains come to renew the soil of our inner garden. No matter the path, open to the way life is coaxing you toward bliss.