The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. - Zen quote
Why do we suffer? Some would say, it’s the bane of human existence. Some would say it's the life of punishment we earned for something that Eve did with an apple a long time ago. Some would say that it is God's way of testing our faith (remember the story of Job in the bible?)
One of my favorite spiritual teachers, Byron Katie, who cuts right through the dogma with laser clarity and insight, says the only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with what is. If you want reality to be different than it is, you might as well try to teach a cat to bark. You can try and try, and in the end, the cat will look up at you and say, "Meow." Wanting reality to be different than it is, is hopeless. You can spend the rest of your life trying to teach a cat to bark!
Why in the world do we argue with "what is", why do we cling with stubborn tenacity to our preferences for how life should be and resist everything that shows up that does not match our desires? To resist life's twists and turns that deviate from our preferences is the way of suffering; a clearly feckless approach to peace and enduring happiness. Wisdom encourages our embrace of life on its terms, with the equanimity of one who chose all that arises.
In every moment, of every day, we come up against the headwinds of circumstances that threaten to derail our sense of well-being. If the set point for our well-being is aligned with our preferences for life, then we will find ourselves shackled by unhappiness most of the time. As Jesus and Buddha both noted, our human journey will be riddled with trials and sorrows, and that there is an overcoming power within us, an equanimous stance of the heart that can remain free from suffering through all that arises.
We relinquish our inner freedom and suffer, when we see ourselves only in partial truth, as mere mortals, at the mercy of circumstances and other people's opinion. This identity crisis underlies the pain I feel in this world of appearances. But there is a greater truth about you and me. Jesus said you are the light of the world; that heaven resides within you, St. Paul said you live and move and have your very being in God. The Buddha said our true nature transcends suffering, and that well-being is possible regardless of circumstances.
Join us this Sunday as look at the inner path to peace and wellbeing, in a message entitled, Radical Acceptance. Our Unity Singers and Joanna Lynn-Jacobs will bring their special vocal artistry to help us make this inner journey that much more harmonious.
Love and blessings,