suffering

“Life is filled with suffering, but it is also filled with many wonders like the blue sky, the sunshine, he eyes of a baby. To suffer is not enough. We must also be in touch with the wonders of life. Hey are within us and all around us, everywhere, any time.

“If we are not happy, if we are not peaceful, we cannot shape peace and happiness with others. … If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile and blossom like a flower, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace. Do we need to make a special effort to enjoy the beauty of the blue sky? No, we just enjoy it. … Wherever we are, any time, we have the capacity to enjoy the sunshine, the presence of each other, even the sensation of our breathing. … It would be a pity if we are only aware of suffering.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Suffering is Not Enough

Hahn used this title on the first chapter of his book, Being Peace. The quote is from that chapter. As he says, life is full of suffering. If we ourselves are not suffering ,we can look around and see others suffering. We shouldn’t ignore that suffering. Neither should we dwell on it constantly. A spiritual person needs to be a person of joy, peace, and love. We need to look around us and see those things. Changing suffering isn’t done by dwelling on it. We change it by dwelling on the good in life and helping it to expand until it pushes all suffering away.

We all know of many saints, holy people, and spiritual leaders who went through what is called “The Dark Night of the Soul”. Some believe it is not possible to have a spiritual awakening without going through such as experience. This is simply not true. Unfortunately, some young people are intentionally seeking out suffering so they can have their dark night. This is unnecessary, and may actually have the opposite effect to that desired. The person may become hardened and embrace a more materialistic life rather than having a spiritual awakening. Many suffer, most of them do not have a spiritual awakening.

Enjoy the Wonders

There is no reason for spiritual people to be gloomy and depressed all the time. Acknowledge that there are many horror in this world, but don’t dwell on it. Seek out the beautiful, the fun, the enjoyable experiences. When the steel and cement towers of urban life are getting you down, go to the country for a day or two. Even just taking a walk in a park will do. Slow down and watch a bird building a nest. Watch a dog joyfully playing with a ball or a stick. Go to an art museum or gallery and look at the artworks. Attend a concert. Find friends who also enjoy life. The idea that we should hang out with the depressed people so we can help them is wrong. That attitude can be contagious. We help such people best from a distance. Send out light, love, and joy to them. We don’t need to be with them physically.

Peace and Happiness

It stands to reason that if we are suffering, angry, or depressed, we are not going to be very peaceful. Peaceful people are happy people. They understand that you can’t fix all that is wrong with the world by yourself. So rather than suffering over it, they do what they can and concentrate on being loving and joyful. The higher vibrations of those positive thoughts and emotions help raise the vibrations of others. When enough of us do that, we will have a happy and loving world. In addition, anything that raises our vibrations to higher frequencies helps our spiritual growth. Higher consciousness is, after all, higher vibrations.

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