We deserve love and comfort on every level. All of us. This is the most important thing to know, and believe, and embrace. Nobody and nothing ever deserves pain and suffering, of any kind. The experience of pain exists only to alert us that we've veered off the smooth path. Suffering is a consequence of our belief, mostly subconscious, that we deserve pain. It's a powerful illusion of the material plane. But the truth is that we are all made of the same essential particles: Light and Love.
Yet... the pain is real, the suffering continues. How do we make a wish "I deserve a better life" into reality now, in this life on Earth? How do we let go of pain and suffering while still being alive in a physical body?
If you touch a hot plate, you get a burning sensation, and your body's reflexes pull your finger away from the source of pain. You don't keep pressing your hand against the heated surface, thinking that it's your destiny to injure yourself, do you? No, that would be insane. If this is your first encounter with an object called hotplate, you would either quickly walk away because it appears dangerous, and you don't know how else it could harm you. Or you would investigate to learn more about this seemingly dangerous item. You would figure out that it's powered by electricity, cold when turned off, and hot when turned on. A pot full of water can be put on it, and you can use the warmed up water to make some soothing tea for yourself.
If you aren't the one who operates the on and off switch, you would begin to cooperate with the one who does. S/he has the fire, you have the water. Together you can brew a refreshing cup of coffee. A Turkish one would be nice. The coffee grounds stay at the bottom; the cup is turned around after you drink up the liquid. While waiting for the pattern to emerge, you chat with your companion. And then you can look at the wondrous creation of the coffee grounds in each other's cup. It's fun and enlightening. The initial startle, harmless because of your healthy reflexes, thus transforms into a pleasant and meaningful social interaction through a process, involving courage, curiosity, cooperation, sharing. All fueled by the feeling that you both deserve to be loved.
The same principles apply to emotional pain and suffering. Unfortunately, we often forget to remember that we deserve love and comfort. We keep leaning into the hotplate of unhealthy relationships of any kind--intimate, family, job, circumstance--hoping for someone to please unplug the misery before I die. We somehow miss the obvious point: "I have to pull away from the burning surface." We need to detach from the hostile environment, and affirm: "I deserve better." This is the key, whether you decide to leave for good, or stay to investigate the causes. The first and most essential step out of the hell of suffering is to let go of the subconscious "I deserve pain", and embrace the conscious "I deserve love". And it's not easy. Why?
Human beings are a spiritual scientific experiment, if you will. We are the most advanced animal species, biologically. Spiritually, we are eternal souls, without boundaries. As sentient physical creatures, we sense pain and pleasure, we procreate and live and die, subjected to the laws of Nature. As spiritual beings, we are made of Light and Love, we are aware of our existence. As human beings, we have free will, and our task is to find the way to merge the vertical line of Light with the horizontal line of Life. We are the point of the cross made by Light and Life. Our purpose is to add the next dimension that encompasses all: Love.
A Soul in a physical sheath, living in the world of matter, first needs to learn how to detach from the negative, the harmful, and how to imbue the resulting void with the positive, the loving community. The teachings of Buddha are all about detachment; the teachings of Christ are all about Love. Detachment doesn't mean to disappear off this Earth and into the Light of the Spirit. Love doesn't mean to live this life as a martyr, allowing everyone to abuse you. To detach is to stand upright in our individual column of Light, connecting the Earth and the heavens. We love to permeate all matter with Light. Both actions must consciously arise from our own free will.
Nature offers us insights through its physical laws. Angels whisper spiritual guidance. But only a human being knows how to walk the Bridge between the two, or rather, we are in the process of learning to trust this marvelous pilgrimage across the Arch, called human life. Only a Soul in a body can feel Love and fear, and can choose to transform hate into Light. The kaleidoscope of colors between the Valley of Tears and the Sky of Laughter enriches the cosmic creations. The inspiring rainbows of human experiences co-create the existence. They dissolve sorrows into Light.
Neither matter nor Spirit alone can make me happy. Only when my Soul and my heart become one, I can dwell in peace at the conscious core of my humanness.
Over to you, dear Soulful Reader:
What practices do you use to find peace within?
This article first appeared on the Soulful Sparks of Inspiration website.