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Suffering On The Path To Awakening

Many of us read the word suffering and cringe as we are instantly taken right back to a moment in our own lives where we experienced suffering. For as different as we can sometimes all seem, we are truly unified by many common threads of our shared humanity on this journey. All of us experience suffering. We experience it from small mundane daily life things, to life altering events that cut deep grooves of suffering in us.

I have been suffering recently with the death of my beloved Uncle Paul, who lost his fierce fight against cancer last week. Times like these are always deeply challenging as death and loss stops us right in our tracks, leaving us searching for solace, comfort and wisdom so we can move on from the paralysis that the loss of a loved one can bring.

I teach my students frequently that no amount of yoga and meditation makes the stressors of life go away, but there is such poetic beauty found in the deep teachings of the path to help us ease our suffering and learn to hold it with more grace.

The Buddha once referred to our life's journey as human as "The 10,000 joys and the 10,000 sorrows." and his life's work was to teach of the 4 Nobel Truths. They are

  1. The Truth of Suffering

  2. The Truth of the Causes of Suffering

  3. The Truth of the End of Suffering

  4. The Truth of the Path That Leads to the End of Suffering

As simply as he could the Buddha dedicated his life to teaching about suffering. He tried to help us all see that life has suffering in it in both obvious and subtle ways and the causes of our suffering are often self induced. Meaning that we suffer because we get attached and we live in a mistaken belief that we are a separate, independent "I".

You see I clearly displayed just what the Buddha was talking about in my declaration earlier in the blog that I am suffering because I lost a loved one. This life has suffering in it, our favorite people die and sometimes unfairly and too soon from cancer. The grief can roll through big because we are so deeply attached to our role in this body and we forget these bodies are mere vessels, meant to fade away and release our divine Soul again back into the Universal God Consciousness from which we came.

The 3rd Nobel Truth is that suffering ends. This speak to the impermanence of everything, but also is a reminder that our higher mind can be purified of delusion and awakened and we can see the distinction that life HAS suffering in it, but we do not have to suffer FROM it, if we can remember the TRUTH of who we really are.

From my years of deep study of the paths of Yoga and Mindfulness I have learned alot about suffering. The way suffering is explained is so much more profoundly than we think of suffering here in the West. The Sanskrit word for suffering is Dukkha. The definition is more a spiritual term than the way we hold the idea of suffering in our Western minds. Suffering or Dukkha is taught as not being unified with our own natural bliss. Simply we have forgotten our Divine Essence. We have forgotten that we are boundless Spirit, ever free. That real suffering is not the fact that Uncle Paul died, but the fact that I let my grief take over in such a way that it makes me forget that I am a Divine Conscious Being, not of this body, not of this sorrowful mind, but I am the whole Universe itself and Uncle Paul is too, we ALL are. We forget this and thus we suffer.

The 4th Nobel Truth guides us to return home to this sacred remembrance. The toughest part is that we MUST do it in the midst on the 10,000 joys and the 10,000 sorrows. We must not wait until we are done grieving or until the suffering has passed to return to a place of peace in ourselves again. We MUST be present to our pain, but witness it from a place of deep ease within ourselves. We MUST turn to this wisdom when we are right smack dab in the middle of suffering.

We MUST remember that we are Divine Spirit. We are a part of the Universe, the stuff of all the stars and planets. We are the breath of conscious life, we are God Incarnate and we must hold this truth next to our human bodies and breathe it into our human minds and hearts.

This life has suffering, but we can walk our path and greet suffering when it arrises from a place of wisdom that we know suffering is included in the owners manual of this human journey. We have it within us to reframe suffering so that we can be free.

Uncle Paul's body was consumed by disease, until it ate away at every last cell and he had to let his body suit go. Each day as I ride the waves of grief I remind myself that Paul is now ONE with Divine Source Energy. He is boundless, ever free, blemish-less love and when I pause, get quiet in meditation, I can merge with him for a time for I am this Spirit too, I just get distracted by this body suit every now and again.

The Buddha was poetic and precise...This human journey is painfully beautiful and during this short planetary adventure, we can sometimes get caught up in identifying in the land of the ego (I am this body, I am this mind) and forget about our Spark of Divine Consciousness. When we forget, which we will do daily, we can suffer. Meaning we are out of alignment with our True Self. BUT fortunately we are both the cause

and what can end this moment of superficial suffering by returning to the wisdom of this path to guide us back home to the truth of who we really are and when reunited with our True Self we can lessen our own suffering on the path to awakening.

In honor of Paul Gregory Wiedel

September 15th 1958 - October 21st 2021

Enjoy the nectar of the Universe my dear beloved Uncle Paul, you are loved and we will hold you in our hearts each day and feel your Spirit all around us until we are untied again. Try not to make them laugh to hard up there ;) Om Shanti, Shanti Shanti

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