Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The End of Suffering...

A Buddhist friend told me that, "Right understanding is the end of suffering." Not pain, of course. Suffering. Jesus said, "The truth will set you free."

I've been thinking about this a lot. I see over and over the way this is true. If I have the courage to say what I really feel, think and want, and then live out of that, I am experiencing relationships with others in ways I never have before. Old wounds are healed I thought were impossible to heal.

When I want to understand others, my view of them falls away and I see them as they are, usually more like me than different. When we want to understand one another and we walk into a conversation or interaction with acceptance and love for one another, no matter what, something amazing happens. There is a connection. Something clicks. Something falls into place. New things happen. A sort of richness of relationship that is different than anything I've encountered before.

I have realized as I've left behind religion the way I experienced it that I truly never learned to trust myself. Or others, really. The Bible says, "the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?" I believed that literally. So I grew up believing that if I am honest, if I really listen to what I feel, if I go after what I want, etc. I will end up in the very pit of hell and probably drag a few dozen others along with me in the process! I simply didn't (don't still in many ways) trust myself. It's been and continues to be a process of learning to listen to the real me inside, and then, gradually, learn to trust that.

It was as though I had these muscles inside of me that had never developed or even atrophied from lack of use; Christianity told me I wasn't allowed to use them or that I didn't even HAVE them. I was deeply and totally BAD inside, I read and heard. The only goodness I was capable was when I tapped into/surrendered to God, who, if my heart was right, would infuse his own goodness into me. But I'm finding that that's just not true. I am finding "God" (goodness, truth, compassion, love) inside of ME. Not "out there." Not infused by a sky god who is separate from me and must be appealed to.

It's not changing who I am; it's uncovering who I am.
It's not ignoring the inside of me; it's falling back into it.
It's not a big "clean-up"; it's a peeling off of layers or a birth of something inside of me.

Now I am going through some "physical therapy," I guess! Learning what those muscles, that were there all along, are and do. Strengthening them. Letting blood flow into them. The book/film, "The Secret Garden" is a beautiful allegory of all of this growth and change for me.

Watch for:
-Letting light flood into dark places.
-Truth being revealed and lies being dispelled.
-The miracles that happen as we say the way things really are, challenge what we've been told is true and walk boldly into places we thought we couldn't.
-The way other people in our lives can BE the courage we don't have sometimes.
-Old, desolate places being uncovered, opened and cut back until a beauty that was there all along is revealed.
-Suffering ending.
-Muscles being found and what happens when they begin to strengthen.

As you watch the clips from "The Secret Garden" below, what else do you see/feel/hear/notice? What causes a warmth in your tummy as you see or hear it? What brings tears to your eyes? What do you find yourself wanting to have, to do, to see? What causes something that feels like what someone striking the lowest chords on a piano sounds like?

and then...


Barry said...

Learning to trust yourself is a hugely important process. Take God out of the equation and you find that it's really you who has been making the hard decisions all along.

Cheryl Ensom said...

I think it's interesting that when I thought I was doing something/deciding something because "God wanted me to" or "told me to," I didn't completely OWN my decision/action. I didn't have to think it through or even feel it through. I KNOW I made some really stupid decisions because "God gave me peace about it."

For instance, what if you are in love with someone and they tell you that God told them that you two are meant for one another; therefore, they ask you to marry them. This didn't happen to me; I just know people to whom it did happen. I can't help wondering what happens when something you didn't anticipate happens in the subsequent marriage. Do you think you would then have to question if you "heard God wrong?" Do you think you could look back on your choice to be married to someone with the sort of sureness that you would have if you just WANTED to spend your life with someone and chose that for yourself? I know for myself that I am not choosing to be married to my husband because God wants me to. I am choosing to be with my husband because I want to be with him. I am choosing to love him and walk with him though whatever comes next...come what may. I don't feel that commitment is weaker because of the fact that I don't "feel this is what God wants for us." On the contrary, I feel more sure about my decision because I made it. I know myself well enough to know that, in a place of great pain, I will not choose to stay married to him just because God wants me to. That is not a compelling enough reason for me. It has to be because I choose it...and keep choosing it.

And frankly, if my husband revealed to me in the future that he had wanted to not be married any longer for years, but had stayed married to me because "God said to" I would be so very hurt. I don't need someone to suffer through a life with me who doesn't really WANT to. I don't need someone to be with me out of obedience to God. How painful would that be?

I know I sort of went off on a rabbit trail, but oh well... :)

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