If you are struggling to find inner peace, I urge you to read this short post. It is an excerpt from a lecture that Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology, gave to a group of clergy. I discovered it on YouTube and have provided the link below.
People forget that even doctors have moral scruples. And that certain patients’ confessions are hard for even a doctor to swallow. Yet the patient does not feel themselves accepted unless the very worst in him is accepted too. No one can bring this about by mere words. It comes only through reflection and through the doctor’s attitude towards himself and his own dark side. If the doctor wants to guide another or even accompany him a step of the way he must feel with that person’s psyche. He never feels it when he passes judgment. Whether he puts his judgment into words or keeps it to himself makes not the slightest difference. To take the opposite position and to agree with the patient offhand is also of no use and estranges him as much as condemnation.
Feeling comes only through unprejudiced objectivity. This sounds almost like a scientific precept and it could be confused with the purely intellectual abstract attitude of mind but what I mean is something quite different. It is a human quality. A kind of deep respect for the facts, for the man who suffers from them, and for the riddle of such a man’s life.
The truly religious person has this attitude. He knows that God has brought all sorts of strange and inconceivable things to pass and seeks in the most curious ways to enter a man’s heart. He therefore senses in everything the unseen presence of the divine will. This is what I mean by unprejudiced objectivity. It is the moral achievement on the part of the doctor who ought not let himself be repelled by sickness or corruption. We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate. It oppresses. I am the oppressor of the person I condemn. Not his friend and fellow sufferer. I do not in the least mean to say that we must never pass judgment when we decide to help and improve, but if the doctor wishes to help a human being, he must be able to accept him as he is. And he can do this in reality only when he has already seen and accepted himself as he is.
Perhaps this sounds very simple, but simple things are always the most difficult. In actual life it requires the greatest art to be simple and so acceptance of one’s self is the essence of the moral problem and the acid test of one’s whole outlook on life. That I feed the beggar, that I have given him salt, that I love the enemy in the name of Christ. All these are undoubtedly great virtues. What I do unto the least of my brethren, that I do unto Christ. But what if I should discover that the least amongst them all, the poorest of all beggars, the most impudent of all offenders, yea the very fiend himself, that these are within me, and that I myself stand in need of the arms of my own kindness. That I myself am the enemy who must be loved. What then?
Then as a rule the whole truth of Christianity is reversed. There is then no more talk of love and long suffering. We say to the brother within us “Raca” and condemn and rage against ourselves. We hide him from the world. we deny ever having met this least among the lowly in ourselves and had it been god himself that drew near to us in this despicable form we should deny him a thousand times before a single cock had crowed.
Image Courtesy of rdonar/Shutterstock.com
That title sounds incredibly odd, and likely insane, but most spiritual teachers will agree that suffering is a very necessary ingredient in self realization. So if I know this, and I have not yet truly realized my true nature, should I pursue suffering?
There are so many things that I can do to ‘feel better’. I can exercise, practice meditation, study cognitive therapy, get massages, play an instrument, or create art. But as these practices create a more pleasant life for myself, am I getting in my own way of realization.
Buddhism in simplest terms is the end of suffering, not the mitigation of suffering. Are these things mutually exclusive? If I pay proper attention does a pleasant life have as much to teach me as an unpleasant one?
I don’t believe I consciously choose to suffer but maybe subconsciously??? Seems I am asking many more questions in this post than I am answering. My ego feels quite like a rookie spiritual seeker here.
As an aside this thought process is coming on the heels of a night where I played hockey for 2 hours for the first time in almost a year and feel fantastic.
Anyways very interested in your thoughts on this! Have a great day!
Wow! I had never felt that peaceful before.
For several hours yesterday afternoon I held with the utmost certainty the belief that the “I” could not possibly be in my body. But yet I was.
Despite all efforts I could not pinpoint a location within my perception that I could call home. There was no tangible ground zero from which all things were originating.
Things continued to happen. And I continued to notice them. But I did not know where I was, I just knew where I was not.
There were waves in which the degree of this certainty varied in intensity. During the times when it was most obvious a strange thing began to happen.
I began to quietly giggle.
We’ve all heard of the laughing Buddha, being drunk in the spirit, or sudden satori’s that leave people roaring in laughter. Even when Eckhart Tolle is answering the questions of those people suffering significantly he occasionally subtly laughs as he talks about the madness of the ego. But this was my first experience.
It was wonderfully odd.
More notably, between the laughter there arose this gentle clarity. I was slowly strolling along the canal and I noticed it was looking quite dingy. I was thinking of how dreadful it would be to fall in among all of the slime when I noticed the plant life that was absolutely thriving along the bottom. Perhaps the canal could use a scrubbing, or maybe the right perspective is that it was just fine as it was and that another expression of life had the opportunity to be.
It is the same with suffering. Even though it looks dreadful on the surface, it is serving the divine purpose of letting another form of consciousness emerge. Instead of resisting it and pushing it away, I should have faith in it. Let myself go with the flow of life. Let consciousness take shape instead of trying to shape it.
The true magic of inquiry into an emotion or thought, is that it immediately creates a separation between the one who suffers and your true self.
After having somewhat of a dreadful morning I came across this passage from Eckhart Tolle and it triggered an aha moment. It speaks of the loss of sense of self, awakening, and the end of suffering.
What exactly is the connection between suffering and spiritual awakening? How does one lead to the other? When you look closely at the nature of human suffering you will find that an essential ingredient in most kinds of suffering is a diminishment of one’s sense of self. Take illness, for example. Illness makes you feel smaller, no longer in control, helpless. You seem to loose your autonomy, perhaps become dependent on others. You become reduced in size, figuratively speaking. Any major loss has a similar effect: some form that was an important part of your sense of who you are – a person, a possession, a social role – dissolves or leaves you and you suffer because you had become identified with it and it seems you are losing yourself or a part of yourself. In reality, of course, what feels like a diminishment or loss of your sense of self is the crumbling of an image of who you are held in the mind. What dissolves is identification with thought forms that had given you your sense of self. But that sense of self is ultimately false, is ultimately a mental fiction. It is the egoic mind or the “little me” as I sometimes call it. To be identified with a mental image of who you are is to be unconscious, to be unawakened spiritually. This unawakened state creates suffering, but suffering creates the possibility of awakening. When you no longer resist the diminishment of self that comes with suffering, all role-playing, which is normal in the unawakened state, comes to an end. You become humble, simple, real. And, paradoxically, when you say “yes” to that death, because that’s what it is, you realize that the mind-made sense of self had obscured the truth of who you are – not as defined by your past, but timelessly. And when who you think you are dissolves, you connect with a vast power which is the essence of your very being. Jesus called it: “eternal life.”