Why do people suffer? What is my karma, Luba? People often ask me.
I never liked talking about this and I rarely use that word. Yes, we know it has many layers – present, past lives, ancestral and etcetera. Yes, we know it is based on our actions, thoughts and intentions.
But the truth is we are all mere mortals limited by the perception of the human mind – none of us are completely enlightened – and there is a lot of danger with misunderstood spiritual concepts or incomplete spiritual knowledge. It’s like we are becoming a generation of memes. Let me start off with some basic misunderstood statements:
1. “You manifest your reality with your thoughts.” Incomplete “truth”. Sure, thoughts are absolutely important because of perspective and perception of our experiences but if you think you can sit there and manifest a house with “thinking” – you need to reconsider. It’s like saying you want to make fried chicken but you only have salt. You only have one ingredient. It takes more than that. Manifestation is attracting that which we are already feeling based on our energy. It is not creating a human or a house out of thin air – this is not Sci-Fi. It is aligning to the vibration we want to feel so that we pull in the physical expression of that feeling in our physical existence.
2. “I am not responsible for how you feel.” While we are only in control of our own reactions and responsible for our own energy, this statement does not imply that we hurt or harm someone by our words and actions.
While we are not responsible for how someone interpreted our statements or how it triggered them, we are responsible for not harming others. I’ve seen and experienced people who would say the meanest and rudest and most hurtful things and then say, “Well, I was just being honest”. No – you were being hurtful. Being honest in our conversations and staying in our truths is not the same as lashing out or hurting someone. And when we do cause someone harm by our actions and words – we are very much responsible for how they felt.
When we adopt such philosophy as an absolute truth, we are essentially separating ourselves from others. And a big part of self-empowerment is the recognition and acceptance that we also affect others with our actions, thoughts and words; it is understanding interdependence and our role/contribution to everything/everyone around us.
3. “Everything in life is a lesson” or “The greatest pains bring greatest lessons.” These can be very toxic statements also because it creates a sense of defeated-ness in those who are still going through their pain, for those who maybe will not be able to achieve the greatest gains despite their pains. Look – sometimes life just happens. And you don’t always attract who you are – sometimes the assholes you meet is not because you yourself are an asshole but because they desperately needed the energy that you had.
It’s concerning when people go around talking about “karma”or “learning lessons” especially to someone experiencing suffering or pain in any shape or form. Suddenly, everyone is some spiritual guru, expert or “healer” – just taking advantage of vulnerable people and projecting their unresolved emotional issues, disguising it by “empathy” or “intuition”. And let’s be clear – emotions and intuition are different things. Emotions are responses – feelings with thoughts rationalized by the mind – and the mind is a collection of selected memories multiplied by infinite imagination. Intuition is about a feeling, a sensitivity – being aligned to your senses rather than being responsive to emotions triggered by your past experiences. Intuition is about being emotionally balanced and understanding how your own mind works – so that you can discern what’s intuition versus what’s projection or fear. Intuition is your communication with your soul (crown chakra) but like Maslow’s Theory – you can’t jump to the top level crown chakra without having balanced all the rest below it – because you may not be getting the “right signals” through the broken vessel. This is why wellbeing and spirituality are a holistic system which is about self-awareness and full-body alignment. If you want to develop your intuition – start working on your physical, emotional and mental bodies first before going towards the spiritual body. Throwing around words with little understanding of what they mean can be dangerous especially to those more vulnerable and imbalanced. There are far too many youth and children today suffering the consequences of this. Do not become a victim – remove yourself from situations and people who are harming you or prolonging a state of disempowerment/imprisonment within you. While it is absolutely okay to feel your feelings – it is not okay to become a slave to your mind and live in fear or self-blame. And on the other hand – pretending everything is “love and light” is just as toxic; it’s called avoidance and suppression of feelings and it is unhealthy. Sometimes shit happens and it hurts and no matter the greater purpose – we need to allow ourselves, and others, to go through the grief freely without dissecting everything if it isn’t helping.
And as far as I know – none of us know exactly how karma works and why so many people suffer. What is the purpose of suffering? Our knowledge is limited and we’ll never know everything.
With our self-limiting believes and perceptions conditioned to the human existence – our minds are too restricted to ever fully understand higher consciousness. I hope we never forget that because we carry a responsibility in our energy. We need to accept we just don’t know it all.
We all look for answers to “why” when something stressful happens. And it is understandable – it gives us peace. And if we can find a higher perspective and a purpose – we need to and we have to. And of course, we need to guide another to do the same in a loving non-judgmental way.
But if we can’t – we shouldn’t delve to the point of re-traumatizing ourselves. There is a danger with too much instrospection as well. Remember – life is about balance.
“The notions of heat and cold, of pain and pleasure, are born only of the contact of the senses with the objects. They had a beginning and an end. They are impermanent in nature. So bear them patiently.” ~ Bhagavad Gita 2.14
Everything we experience in this physical life is because it has touched our senses and as such it is impermanent. Happiness and distress are also felt as a result of touching our senses. And they too are impermanent; and they too will come and go. So in the words of the Gita, let it touch and then un-touch.
Easier said than done, right? When we are in it with both feet – fuck that. And that’s fine because we are human and we are here to have a human feeling experience.
But life has its own rhythm.
We long to understand it because of our need for control, so that we feel more comfortable within our existence.
We want to label and categorize because only then we’d put others and ourselves in some understandable context or “box”. This is why humanity is obsessed with categories, definitions, facts/statistics and “groups” – we are just trying to feel less afraid, more safe – by desperately trying to stay in control “knowing” things and people. We meet someone new and immediately say, “they are this or that” – because (maybe) we are just incapable of accepting the uncertainty of a multi-faceted human and the uncertainty/risk of a real connection/relationship – which means potentially pain as well.
But life just is.
Sometimes things will happen and we’ll just never know why – may be we just need to start feeling comfortable with not knowing everything; to allow it to touch and un-touch, otherwise we’ll get stuck in a very bad cycle of self-imposed suffering.
Life has its own pulse.
It inhales and exhales in its breath.
It expands and withdraws in its lungs, like the waves ebb and flow.
And in itself, each breath is needed and each aspect is purposeful.
Good and bad are only perspectives. To the fly, the spider web is bad – but to the spider, it is needed.
Do you know that eucalyptus seeds open only when the trees are burned? They need the destructive force of fire to actually be born and grow.
What is pleasure for you, may be pain for the other in the mutual exchange.
We can’t always see the long-term higher perspective of our role and contribution to a situation.
So may be just like that – there is a continual dance between the “good” and the “bad” – between dark and light – mortality and immortality – life and decay – and like yin and yang, we are reminded that both are needed to flow freely as they need. And the waning moon is always held by the waxing.
Everything in life is a relationship.
And when we accept that good and bad, and pleasure and pain are just notions of the mind, may be we’ll be less distressed when they touch our senses. May be we will allow them to touch and then un-touch and thus, free ourselves from the false psychological burdens that we carry.
To see the face of God, may be we need to accept all of life’s aspects as they wave.
It is easier to love God when all is good; easier to trust and have faith when things are good and there is no fear. May be this is why sometimes it is easier to love looking into cathedrals instead of human eyes. We are flawed. We feel pain. We are not perfect. We are messy. And it is hard to have the capacity within us to hold another’s pain.
God too has many faces. And if we only look at the Divine expecting that it is perfect as per our own perceptions, may be we are just as biased as when we look at humans expecting them to be perfect. May be God’s face too carries the aspect of sadness.
Some waves will be strong and cold. And then another, gentle and warm will flow. And so it goes.
The humility in this deserves to be respected and treasured.
I know suffering is hard. It is scary. It makes us question life. And we get angry. And we ask, “but why?” And then suddenly it wakes us up faster than anything else – we become kinder, more grateful and tell all of our loved ones how much we love them. We reflect on how we’ve treated others. We reflect on how insignificant some things are. We start to appreciate life in its tiniest moments.
In a sense, it is precisely our acute awareness of mortality that makes us remember to live more fully.
And I too of course want to understand why sometimes things happen. But may be each time we dig in further, we are only distracting ourselves from the existence of life.
We have to become comfortable with not knowing. We have to stop defining and categorizing whether it is others, ourselves or life itself. No, not everything is a “lesson.” No, not everything is some punishment. And no – we don’t always attract our situations. We need to pull out all of our self-guilt, shame and blame, which are anchored in our throats.
Life has its own pulse. Is there a purpose? Of course. But may be it is just something beyond the understanding of our human condition; of a perception much higher than we will ever be able to fully realize in this life.
Some days are bad days and we wear sadness on our face. In the same way – life itself has different aspects of its face. And we can’t reject it just because it is having a bad day.
And we don’t need to pressure it to tell us why.
We can just accept it as is – even when it cries, it is still part of the same face that we loved yesterday.
And may be all we have to do is just hold the safe space allowing to just be.
Much love & peace