Going Through Pain…
To Be Happy We Must Embrace Pain.
Happiness! The ultimate goal of human life! Isn’t it? This is what we seek. Every day. All our life. But, the truth is, our lives are largely painful, strugglesome and full of ups and downs. So, there is a fundamental contradiction here: we want something, but something else happens to us. We live with this contradiction every day. And we somehow try to come to terms with this contradiction. But, it seems, happiness is ever elusive, and pain is constant. No? This is our life. A great mess.
The Problem of Suffering
Now, what’ll you ask? What’s your question?—How to be happy? What do you even mean by ‘happiness’? What is happiness‽
Yes, I ask you, what is happiness? To answer it, mustn’t you first know what suffering is? Mustn’t you first know the reality of pain? Because, to us, happiness is after all the absence of suffering, no? So, what is suffering? If you understand suffering, you understand what happiness is.
See, our human existence is fraught with suffering, both individual and collective. Suffering characterizes human existence. So, without understanding this tremendous problem of suffering, would we ever be truly happy? I don’t think so. So, begin there. Do you suffer? When you say you suffer, what do you mean by it? Is suffering a feeling, or something deeper? Can you go deeper, to the root? Where does suffering spring from? Can you go there and see for yourself what’s happening? If you clearly see what’s happening, that’s the end of suffering! The problem right now is that we are in a state of confusion, we do not seem to understand what’s happening with us, at the most fundamental level. There is a fundamental lack of understanding and perception. That’s why we never come to solve it. How can you solve a problem if you don’t even understand it? How can you cure a disease if you don’t even know what the disease is in the first place? Understanding human existence is freedom from all suffering! But that understanding requires great awareness and stillness. Only if we have that, will we be able to carry out this investigation. But, the fact of the matter is, we are far from it, and we suffer every day. What to do now?
There is pain. There is suffering. That’s our reality. Right now, happiness is an illusory goal to us, a thing of fantasy. Instead of chasing this fanciful goal, why don’t we work on our suffering? By that I mean, to eliminate the causes of suffering from our lives. That’s a more realistic and achievable goal. No? Chasing happiness is like chasing a mirage. There is no path to happiness, you see. Happiness is a state. You can come upon it or can enter it, but there’s no path to it. But, there is certainly a path to be free of suffering. Because suffering has obvious reasons for it. This was Buddha’s approach. He worked with the problem of suffering and solved it. And it landed Him there—in the realm of happiness! You can do it too. This is how a jnani approaches life. This is the Path of Knowledge or Jnana Yoga. This is one way.
The Path of Action or Karma Yoga is the most practical approach to this problem of life and suffering. Just do your duties with perfection and with the awareness that everything is God’s alone. You are just working out your karmik predicament. Hold on to nothing. Offer everything to the Divine.
The other way is to fill yourself with the Truth. To be so utterly empty that the Divine has no choice but to fill you. That’s the Path of Devotion or Bhakti Yoga. You dissolve yourself into the object of your devotion. That’s another way.
Another way is to work with our life energies, to raise them to their highest level of vibration so that the intensity makes us free of all shackles. That’s the Path of Kriya or Kriya Yoga. Alternatively called Raja Yoga.
These are the paths. But these paths are not meant for entertainment. These paths are for our own salvation. To be free from the cycle of life and death itself. But, we don’t think that far. We want a remedy now. So, in the meantime what we can do is to go through all the pain, all the suffering with an equanimous mind.
Don’t escape from suffering, pain or fear. Anyway, you can’t. Only a fool wants to escape. Embrace all. Develop the equanimity of the mind. Be it rain or heat, storm or unbearable silence, pain or pleasure, embrace it all as the same. That’s the first step. It’ll make you fearless. And once you’re fearless, you’re invincible. Nothing can unsettle you then. Only if you’re fearless, will you go full-stride, all the way. So, first, eliminate all fears. Absolute fearlessness IS freedom! The rest of the path will unfold effortlessly.
Jai Shri Hari 🍁
P.S: Here is a video for you on this topic: https://youtu.be/e-or_D-qNqM.