The Lost Art of Transmuting Suffering into Wisdom
Photo by Alexandre Boucey - Unsplash.com
The Lost Art of Transmuting
Suffering into Wisdom
An excerpt from the book:
"The Lost Art of Wisdom in the Balance of Sacrifice."
Being a writer who discusses complex political and social topics has put me into a fair amount of pain through social isolation and political persecution. At times I have felt as though I was targeted for speaking out. Like dissidents in foreign countries, I live in obscurity with limited human connection. I do go out into the community and promote my work on occasion but after the pandemic a lot of my marketing has happened online. When you write about severe topics like China, the drug war in Mexico, and the death of George Floyd, you get downplayed heavily on a daily basis. This spiritual reference book falls more into that vein of thinking. This book is about raising our collective voices so that our pain can be heard. Through oppression and adversity, we must be understood.
In my very first book one of the last lines states: “The most beautiful thing about humanity is that we have the power to transmute our pain into wisdom. The most tragic thing about humanity is that we are so unwilling to be hurt.” This is very true on many levels. First, as a society we are no longer willing to be vulnerable. We go to work and defend ourselves in our mundane lives. We come home and almost hibernate in our dwellings in front of the television. It isn't like the old days where people spoke with each other and told stories as a form of entertainment. They made themselves vulnerable enough to understand their loved ones, to know how they thought and what they were thinking, as though by telepathy. I feel like in time we have lost this ability. The invisible barriers between our minds have never been thicker but the intellectual tools and knowledge we must break them with have never been as profound or destructive as they are today.
I was physically abused as a child which led to drug use and dependency as a young adult. I eventually overdosed on poisonous substances and had a near death experience in a hospital. In this act I feel as though I touched something meaningful. I don't want to cross over into the realm of saying what does and doesn't exist, but I have come to find that pain helps us commune with the divine in this way. In suffering we touch death, we touch the other side of life. We touch heaven in our agony. Mother Teresa used to say that suffering brings us closer to God. She was often criticized for allowing people to die without pain medication. In my charity to others through volunteer work I feel like I had a conversation with her on these matters. Especially after the death of George Floyd and all of the pain that was instilled in the population. I feel that after Minneapolis her words have never been truer. When we suffer, we carve out a reservoir for wisdom. We puncture heaven in our pain so that the divine spills out into our minds.
No one wants to suffer. It is foolish to go out looking for a way to be hurt. Deliberate suffering is not right or wholesome. It doesn't connect with karma and divinity in the same way and so contains no proper insight. It's when we suffer for truth, for injustice and tyranny that we find honest wisdom. When we suffer for those we love and especially for those we don't, we make room in our hearts and minds for real knowledge and understanding. So many spiritual teachers have known that when we love the people we hate, when we are hurt in that, we find something deeper. We find the true meaning of life. That pain yields the healing salve that mends the relationship or helps us find solace with being at odds with our enemies. The agony contains the answers to the universe. The pain guides us to true insight and directs us to the wound so that we may examine what went wrong and how to mend it. If karma is real and what goes around really comes around, the damage inflicted on us
will someday return and reverse itself. We will have epiphanies, deep knowledge and understanding of our inadequacies as human beings. We will find the meaning in our personal triumphs and failures and unlock the secrets of the universe. This divine knowing typically happens in old age. As a younger man I have been fortunate and unfortunate enough to suffer greatly spiritually, psychologically, and emotionally so that I may know wisdom. I am not quite forty years old but feel I have already touched the infinite. I simply want to show you as the reader what I have found.
There are notes in this book on my personal battle with mental illness. I expound on how my struggle with and for reality has allowed me to clip outside life, as in a video game. You break the wall so that you may see the entire stage for what it is. In other words, imagine life as a stage and you are merely an actor. You never see anything but your contemporaries, the set, the curtains, and the audience. However, you can toggle beyond that with pain. You can notice the additional sets, lighting, and props behind the curtain. You can visit the lobby, the entryway, and the city beyond the glass double doors. With insight you can visit places you might have never been before. With imagination you can interact with people there, you can be inspired by their lives, their cultures and struggle. Scientists wonder if life is merely a simulation, but I would argue that what we are experiencing is merely a dream contrasted by heaven. Our mind is a simulation, but our hearts and bodies are something more real. When we wake up, we awaken to the divine. On earth the grand truth merely conflicts with itself, and nothing is real. Honesty can contrast itself. I feel that those who feel the divine could be a computer program are sorely misguided. Earth is the grand illusion. What we call karma, the dharma, and intelligent design is infinitely complex and intricate. It could never be explained in a line of code. I feel that the substance that our reality is made of is suffering and the quantum root of the divine is joy. One permeates the other and creates the duality of our existence.
In truth we think heaven and eternity is at the end of our lives, at the end of time, but in honesty it is at the beginning. It never went anywhere from where we started. What exists at the end of time is the empty blank space of peace that Buddhists call Zen. Our minds rest peacefully in the quiet darkness. We visit often, many times a day. We transcend time and visit this nothing. I feel that is a divine joke. It's God's final laugh as we find the light at the end of the tunnel. We came to earth to experience nothing. We came to understand that even in life there will be a succession of pain and the only place we can go is to peaceful darkness with the small light of heaven guiding us. Staying in the dark is like remaining in the womb and suddenly entering the world becomes the most painful thing we'll ever face. We are born back onto earth. We become a child once again. You will never feel anything as painful as when you were an infant being born. It is another one of God's cosmic ironies. That pain will be returned to us in death as divine wisdom and insight. The final knowing. The ultimate truth.
Throughout our lives we transmute suffering into wisdom. A good example would be a musical artist going through a divorce, the death of a loved one or a tragedy. Afterward they write a stunning musical album that tops the charts with their agony. In this way all of us get through life. We weave our tragedies into tapestries of gold. The most powerful catalyst for this transformation is the pain of loving our enemies, loving unrequited romance, and losing those who are important to us. This is the electricity that powers the world. This lightning expounds dramas, epics and beautiful stories of love and loss that transcend time in the divine psyche and give our lives balance through points of reference to live by. With each failure comes an equal success. With each heartache comes an equal love. The faith of humanity is knowing this wholeheartedly. It's believing it with every fiber of your being, through the most intense pain our world has to offer. We have to understand that when we endure through epic suffering, we receive epic rewards. Perhaps in this life, the next or as we transcend into divinity. The fruit of pain will ripen and be returned in kind. When we understand this truth, we achieve the balance of wisdom. We sacrifice our pain on the altar of faith and commune with nature and God, forever connected and coexisting.
- March 25th, 2023 -