Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Is There A Way Out? Part Five

I would like to post some of Ken Wilber's thoughts on suffering from his book No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth published in 1979 from pages 85-86: "The movement of descent and discovery begins at the moment you consciously become dissatisfied with life. Contrary to most professional opinion, this gnawing dissatisfaction with life is not a sign of "mental illness," nor an indication of poor social adjustment, nor a character disorder. For concealed within this basic unhappiness with life and existence is the embryo of a growing intelligence, a special intelligence usually buried under the immense weight of social shams. A person who is beginning to sense the suffering of life is, at the same time, beginning to awaken to deeper realities, truer realities. For suffering smashes to pieces the complacency of our normal fictions about reality, and forces us to become alive in a special sense-to see carefully, to feel deeply, to touch ourselves and our worlds in ways we have heretofore avoided. It has been said, and truly I think, that suffering is the first grace. In a special sense, suffering is almost a time of rejoicing: for it thanks the birth of creative insight.

But only in a special sense. Some people cling to their suffering as a mother to a child, carrying it as a burden they dare not set down. They do not face suffering with awareness, but rather clutch at their suffering, secretly transfixed with the spasms of martyrdom. Sufferring should neither be denied awareness, avoided, despised, nor glorified, clung to, dramatized. The emergence of suffering is not so much good as it is a good sign, an indication that one is starting to realize that live lived outside unity consciousness is ultimately painful, distressing, and sorrowful. The life of boundaries is a life of battles-of fear, anxiety, pain, and finally death. It is only through all manner of numbing compensations, distractions, and enchantments that we agree not to question our illusory boundaries, the root cause of the endless wheel of agony. But sooner or later, if we are not rendered totally insensitive, our defensive compensations begin to fail their soothing and concealing purpose. As a consequence, we begin to suffer in one way or another, because our awareness is finally directed toward the conflict-ridden nature of our false boundaries and the fragmented life supported by them.

Suffering then, is the initial movement of the recognition of false boundaries. Correctly understood, it is therefore liberating, for it points beyond boundaries altogether. We suffer, then, not because we are sick, but because intelligent insight is emerging. The correct understanding of suffering, however, is necessary in order that the birth of insight is not aborted. We must correctly interpret suffering in order to enter into it, live it, and finally live beyond it. If we do not correctly understand suffering, we simply get stuck in the middle of it-we wallow in it, not knowing what else to do."


benjibopper said...

This is excellent, so true. Tho I also think the Buddhists have it right: the root of all suffering is desire. What the Buddhists maybe have wrong is that desire can be controlled. Maybe it can, but only by the best of us. What about the rest of us (99.999999 % of us who are NOT enlightened)? What are we to do? We are to suffer I suppose, and learn from it.

X. Dell said...

I hope this is just part of the series, and that you aren't providing a subtext here.

Devin said...

- i couldnt agree more about the Buddhist thought with the root of all suffering Benji- I see it not only in my own life - but friends family and the daily news - in many ways our human souls (i very much include me here) are like these gaping abysses that are never full- i have had some success in recent years appreciating the things i do have in life- and things like that- but if there is any truth to reincarnation or the like -I do not doubt for a second i will be back here or somewhere- not having attained anything even approaching something like 1 percent peace and enlightenment in my soul - but i treasure the small bit of light and peace i have found and also see in so many others -such as yourself - thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you are doing great -all the best!!!!!!!!!

Xdell - no haha - no subtext - indeed just part of the series- as always thanks so much for your friendship and comments - all the best to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Alex Robinson said...

Really marvellous Devin - reminded me of a book I'm reading on Abandonment - the first stage of which, the author calls, 'shattering' - a necessary & thankfully 'temporary' stage on a path that can lead to far greater self awareness & life.

Wonderful thought here, thanks :)

foam said...

it's so easy to wallow..
sounds a bit like the grieving process, which actually is a form of suffering ..

hope you are better and have had a nice easter.

Devin said...

hey foam thanks so much for stopping by - i guess suffering and how people look at it is different for everybody - it is indeed different for everyone - it wasn't til recently that i realized that the times i had felt "suffering" in my life were wake up calls - I hope you had a Splendid Easter also foam - all is well here except the "cold that came to stay" is back and sapping my energy - hopefully getting vitamins and scripts tomorrow
all the best to you!!!!!!!!!!

alex- thanks so much for your thoughts here - and i am so glad you got something out of the Wilber infor on suffering !!!!!!!!!
i will definitely have to take a peek at that abandonment book when i have money to buy it
all the best to you my forever friendxx

foam said...

that cold has me worried now ..

Devin said...

foam- it is very sweet of you to worry about me - but please don't :-) at the docs on the 31st they took a bunch of blood -so i am sure when the results show up i will know if there is anything to worry about - thanks again so much for your concern and for stopping by!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
your friend always!!!!!!!!!