Monday, March 28, 2011

We All Suffer . . .

"What now is the Noble Truth of Suffering?"
"Birth is suffering; Decay is suffering; Death is suffering; Sorrow, Lamentation, Pain, Grief and Despair are suffering; not to get what one desires is suffering; in short: the Five Aggregates of Existence is suffering."
("A Buddhist Bible," Dwight Goddard ed., page 23.)
We all, every one of us, suffer from the same, progressive and unavoidably fatal illness. Such is life. And the death of each individual in time - itself a relative and wholly self-referential concept, and an unconscious, unseen dimension of the blind perspective of our seemingly separate existence - is inevitable.

Individual and collective suffering - in their nearly infinite forms that are rooted in the desires of the self, groups and societies - is the sole symptom of this uniform malady.

This existential disease presents as the angst of the psyche and causes the sufferer to incur nearly continuous yet varying periods and intensities of irritability, restlessness, discontent, a sense of ennui or non-fulfillment, and/or outright depression. These multiform strains of suffering may be temporarily anaesthetized with varying degrees of effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) by one's ingesting food, drink, drugs, or raw experiences, or by projecting one's inner angst onto others or the world environment at large. Yet, all these 'solutions' are only temporary expedients, and will ultimately fail.

The only known effective treatment for these symptomatic strains that does not exacerbate one's condition and, hence the self-same conditions in others, is to forgo both one's physical and mental attachments to and dependence on these alleviants, as well as the imperative urge to project one's internal strain externally by word or conduct. (This is the pith and substance of Gandhi's and the Buddha's ahimsa, the 'beattitudes' of Jesus, and Hippocrate's dictum, "Do no harm.")

However, to go without these dubious "pleasures" - to have true forebearance without anaesthetics or anaesthetizing attachments and experience - requires that one becomes capable of resting "within." One must become capable of experienceing rest in the deepest and most fundamental "aspect" of one's 'Being' and one's individualized dominion within the "collective soul" of humankind.

To do so, one must either gradually or suddenly - through the intervention of Grace - discipline the mind and body, particularly the ever-moving and ever-arising thought waves of the mind. One must become capable of grasping and developing the most fundamental aspect of one's (and our) 'Being' - an "aspect" beyond the reception, perception and conception of sensory and mental stimuli - the nous of the inner "Self" that allows us to experience and accept ourselves and others, indeed the world as a whole, as exactly the way that it is in time.

Others have said, and I believe it to be true that this is a three-step process consisting, firstly of acquiring a belief in this "acceptive" Unititive "aspect" common to all "beings" and which is fundamental to "Being" itself, and aspiring to the transcendence of the individual "self" through the dilation of one's consciousness beyond the rational and analytic capacities of the mind.

Secondly, one must srengthen this belief through experiential knowledge of this deeper and more fundamental aspect of one's individual (and collective) "Being." This may be accomplished through the interrelated and systematic discipline and application of "self-examination" (being cognizant of the movements of one's thoughts and the emotions which they cause), "meditation" (practicing resting beyond the movement of thought and emotion in one's inner aspect of "Being"), and "prayer," or pausing to affirm and invoke this most fundamental aspect of One's consciousness and 'Being.'

And thirdly, through the accumulation of periods of ever-greater "self" transcendence, when one's suffering self-conscious is dilated to experience the deeper aspect of one's (and our collective) "Being,"
one comes to build one's faith into a knowledge (or gnosis) of one's "Being" beyond time.

And thus ends suffering, as one abides ever-longer and more fully  in this fundamental, asensual aspect of the Ground of Being itself.

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