Sometimes the ugliness breaks in forcefully.
One sees so much suffering in this world and much of that suffering is man-made. One is made aware of so much grevious injustice and tragedy here, there, everywhere. Suffering is not limited to humans. Even animals suffer terribly.
There are times when my weariness of life, of living, my weariness of the struggle gains the upper hand over my zest for life. There is always the risk that I may fall into a severe state of depression. Having been there in the past, I must work to avoid falling prey to depression as it is much like quick sand – very hard to free one’s self from.
It is a world filled with suffering, and we all have a life sentence in this world.
The human condition is the problem for man (and woman, too). The ancient Hindus and Buddhists knew this. The pains of birth, disease, old age, and death are fundamental to the human condition. Even if you do not buy into the 4 Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path of the Buddha, you must admit he spoke truth when (twenty-five centuries ago) he said life is suffering. And, although the soul may ultimately be a somewhat passive observer to the body’s suffering, the suffering feels real enough to us. As well, the mental and emotional suffering we experience and endure is real enough to us.
Truth be told, I struggle with my faith. Not that God exists, but that so much is allowed to go on down here. We are put through so many terrible experiences and trials. As I wrote in another essay much earlier (2014), the zen master said this world is a forge. The process of being tempered and strengthened and purified is difficult and painful. Does the iron know that it will become steel while it is in the fire?
In this battle of good versus evil, it seems to me that the price of God’s glory is paid in much human suffering. And, many innocent, good people suffer terribly while many evil, destructive people seem not to suffer nor to pay for their terrible deeds.
Things can only be set right, made right if God truly is just, loving and merciful. We see little justice, mercy and love in this fallen or flawed world. We can only hope, as humans have for millenia, that in the next world there will be justice, love and mercy. A reality where the victims, the wounded, the scarred, the abandoned will be made whole and will be loved.
My late father once said to me: “What you are looking for Larry, you will not find in this world.” He was right, of course.
Lila (a Hindu term), the divine play or the Divine at play, the wheel of (alternating) terror and of joy . . . . it is all so difficult to see and to endure. Living truly is a difficult, trying process. Seeing suffering and not being able to do very much to stop it or alleviate it can be depressing. Yet, I am reminded of an aphorism attributed to Lao Tzu: “It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.” Thus, I will try to do what little I can and perhaps will be able to help a few suffering souls here and now.
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