Suffering as A True Evolutionary Force
I have always wanted to end suffering in the world, this has been the motivating thought behind most of the things I have done in my life. But I realize it isn’t about ending the suffering… it’s about evolving the suffering… or better yet letting the suffering evolve us!
You could say that my relationship with ‘suffering’ has deepened in the last thirty years, as I have committed myself to personal transformation as well as having this focus of transformation in my practice with hundreds of women. And true to most spiritual truths, I discovered that suffering is a paradox. While suffering may look like the destructive force that breaks us down, it is really the force that actually empowers us.
We usually do not acknowledge suffering as the true evolutionary power that it is, and that is because we often get stuck in the second stage of suffering. Let’s take a deeper look.
In the first stage of suffering we recognize suffering as an experience that shows up in which something hasn’t gone our way or the way we expect it to be. This event may be challenging to us emotionally (evoking unpleasant feelings), mentally (expectations), physically or spiritually (meaning that we give something). There is usually some pain on any of the levels, associated with this first stage of suffering.
In the second stage of suffering, we create a meaning from our perception of suffering and we identify ourselves mentally to that meaning. When something happens outside of ourselves, or even within, we unconsciously make a statement about what it means ‘about us”. In other words, because this(whatever event) happened, therefore I must be, unimportant, inadequate, unlovable and/ or unworthy. And somehow this ‘meaning’ that we give this event is taken as absolute and integrated into our sense of being. It becomes “who we are” rather than just a perception about the circumstances or events. We become identified with it, meaning that we assimilate it as part of our understanding about ourselves.
This suffering is derived from the judgment of our critical mind. In a self-centered rationale, our critical mind defaults to self-blame, in order to make logical sense about something that has occurred and gone wrong. This is especially true as children, and as women. It seems that for women it is a default mechanism stemming from our insatiable need to take responsibility for everyone’s wellbeing. Although, the Feminine quality is related to the inclusivity of everyone and responsibility for the whole, in its dysfunctional state in women, it often shows up as overly responsible, which in turns ends up being self-blaming. As women, this is a very common default in our never-ending quest of taking responsibility for everyone else. Instead of experiencing something objectively, in our humanity we experience it subjectively, often attributing the unpleasant event to some wrong-doing on our part.
What if the suffering was there instead to evolve us, perhaps to show us what limitations we have identified with and to challenge our thoughts, our ‘idea’ about ourselves and the limits of who we think we are.
What if suffering is the Universe’s evolutionary way to push us to break through our limiting thoughts about ourselves into the unknown greatness of the mystery that we are?
What if suffering is there to expand us into greater level of LOVE… dissolving our ego nature of separation, as it brings us into greater wholeness and unity within our being?
When I say we get caught in the second stage, it isn’t that the second stage in itself is wrong, because we do act in ways that do create further pain and sometimes those need to be noted and changed. However, the problem with the second stage is that in acknowledging our mistake, we mistaken the ‘mistake’ for who we are rather than a behavior, feeling or an expression that is based on an erroneous limited conditioned thought of ourselves rather our true expansive nature of Light. We inadvertently believe that we are that mistake, we are no good, we are unworthy. We don’t see it simply as doing something wrong, we see it as doing something wrong because weare wrong. We become identified with the event (mistake) itself or attribute ourselves as its causation. In other words, we identify with our feelings, our actions and our behavior and believe that if we are having these unpleasant feelings there must be something wrong with us.
Is it possible to experience sadness, fear, grief, or any other emotion and not make yourself wrong for it… in other words… just let yourself feel the emotion without needing to change something in yourself so that you don’t experience that again.
The truth is that we will continue to experience unpleasant emotions and this not a statement of our value. We may still feel hurt, feel fear, and it is not a judgment of ‘how good we are’. We are not our emotions, they are energetic vibrational frequencies that we experience.
But, typically in suffering, we experience this unpleasantness, as a fault of ourselves rather than as the energetic vibrational frequencies that it is. Many of us act defensively when our unconscious pain of unworthiness is triggered. We may even withhold from giving compassion, because of our own unresolved feelings of abandonment. We often do react from our perceived fears and conditioned sense of self. There is a clear difference between taking responsibility for our actions when we know they are not coming from love and between actually believing that this wounded place within ourselves is all we are. We are not the mistake, we can correct the mistakes in our actions and still be connected to our true Essence, without falling into the pattern of feeling ashamed. We are not the mistake, but we ‘do’ mistakes (things that can hurt ourselves and others), and that brings us right into our third state of suffering.
The third stage of suffering is where we can actually separate who we truly are, our Essential nature of Light, from our expression. If we are open to this last stage we allow the power of the suffering to evolve our expression, helping us become greater aligned with our Essential Light, innate goodness and Love.
Through this evolution we are able to see the challenging situation as the catalyst that challenges the part of ourselves that feels unworthy and allows that conditioned belief to transform and dissolve.
When we say yes to the suffering, we realize that the suffering is a challenge to our smallness, to the part of our thinking mind that is identifying with a limited sense of self (egoic nature) rather than with our expanded sacred nature. And in that way of thinking, the suffering is asking us to expand our consciousness of who we think we are, challenge those negative, critical, judgmental thoughts about ourselves and evolve into our wholeness.
We are all made from Essence, we are all Love at the core and yet we are also functioning from our egoic self of separation. This is the dance of being human and being Essence. We are both, really. And yet at any given time we are acting from our consciousness of Oneness, Love (Essence) or from our separation (egoic nature). The question is where are we expressing ourselves from? And every time we are caught in suffering, we are in denial of our highest truth and have an opportunity to evolve from the limitation of our ego into the expansion of our Essence.
As I mentioned above, I use to say I wanted to end suffering in the world. I didn’t want to see the suffering… I didn’t think it was fair that there were so many humans suffering and powerless as to how to end this suffering. I use to think that the Universe and the powers to be were so unfair to create this suffering and to leave people abandoned in their suffering without knowing the keys to escape.
The people I was feeling was really a projection of my own suffering. I was the one stuck in suffering and desperately trying to find a way out. And I realize on many levels our suffering is linked to our mindset, that is the key. The suffering is a consequence of our conditioned egoic consciousness that exists in separation and in denial of our great connection to our Essence. What keeps us stuck in suffering is that denial of our Essential Soul nature and knowing this initiates the process of seeing things for what they are and allowing the transformation of the suffering to take place.
Suffering in itself is not the enemy, it is not what needs to be avoided. That is the package that the gift comes in, although that isn’t always clear when we are in the throes of heart ache, loss, shame or fear. Suffering is the veil of greatness to be discovered, explored and eventually embodied.
When you begin to experience the suffering as the Universe loving us, supporting us, dissolving our erroneous illusion of separation and bringing us into our own wholeness and oneness, you are able to release the powerlessness that goes along with suffering. While we do not have the power to change our circumstances outside ourselves, we do have the power to change the one thing that creates suffering, our mental, perceptual reality from which we experience life itself.
We embrace the paradox, suffering- destructive or empowering? Maybe both. While it destroys our egoic nature (the aspect of ourselves that thinks it exists only in separation), it opens up the pathway for us to reclaim our truth of Oneness, wholeness and our Essential Nature.
And what chooses whether we experience it one way or the other? We do. It is only the ego that experiences pain, gets offended, feels shame and unworthiness. We have the choice to choose to experience suffering as the teacher that it is!
Dr. Leonor Murciano-Luna is the founder of School of Conscious Feminine Medicine and the South Florida clinic, Nourishing Women. She is an Integrative Body/Mind doctor, Acupuncture physician, Spiritual Healer, Teacher & Writer. She has spent most of her life focused on Healing the Body/Mind and soul… through the evolution of the Feminine Soul, within us and on the planet. She offers online programs, mentorships and personal private healing sessions to find just the right medicine for you. More info.Suffering