New England Holocaust Memorial
December 29, 2012
This is the toughest post I will ever write, the toughest concept I can try to explain. I will lose some readers because of this one but I hope that the intention behind this post is understood—it is for more love, compassion, and hope to exist in this world, not less. And freedom to create, freedom from fear. So let’s push on. (It’s become such a long post I am breaking it into two parts.)
The most confusing element of the Earth Experience has to do with suffering. Being born is a mystery, and death is a bad joke. But what stops us in our tracks when we want to make sense of the waking time between our birth and death, of being here/now in a body, are first the facts of hunger and cold and disease/illness. Basic physical suffering that, for most of human history, has been a bitch. Yet we can understand those types of suffering, they come with the package. In fact, men and women have done an amazing job in “solving” those problems the world over. (We have solved for hunger and shelter, it’s just not been fully “rolled out.” Disease still needs a little work/greater perspective.)
But then there is suffering by cruelty–suffering caused by the hand of others, or by the will of “fate.” The confusing part is that cruelty seems to be completely unnecessary. Yet every day innocent victims suffer because of evil people or indifferent Nature or even God’s bad side/evil twin–Satan.
(Some even think God creates some tragedies, for our own good of course. And the Greeks and Romans used the gods very often to explain suffering, but those gods often were mercurial, very human. There may be some truth in both views as we will see after these two posts.)
Unfortunate events seem to occur indiscriminately and randomly of course. “It (mayhem) could happen to you, at any time” is the slogan and self-justification of all insurance companies. How cause and effect and the twisted tangle of time, individual choices, and separate but connected events brought all the participants together at that tragic moment is attributed to fateful bad luck and really nothing else. “Coincidence.”
Whether it’s a lifetime of pain caused by being hit a drunk driver, or lives taken by madmen with guns, or whole villages swept out to sea by a cruel storm, the common thought is that not only was the suffering or death so unnecessary, but that there was no good reason for the event or for those particular people to have been there at that time. And the shockwaves travel outward to affect many not at the epicenter, to the point where some think they were there, but the overall feeling is that none of it had reason or necessity.
We call this being a victim of circumstances/evil. This is the model for when bad things happen to a person or group of people. Wrong place, wrong time. No reason, bad luck, evil. Except…
This is where I now tiptoe on egg shells. The rest of Part 1, Part 2, and the next post will argue that there are no victims–even if it really looks like it. And to stop believing in victimhood is the most freeing possible action one can take during the Earth Experience. Not easy to take or apply, but rewarded eventually. It really is the only way to believe in unpredictable free will, of knowing choice and meaning supersede chance.
I think that when we can look at events in a different way we gain way more happiness, life appreciation, resolution, and fulfillment than is ever possible in the old victim of circumstances/evil model. And it’s not just me making this up. Part of our nature is to feel like there really does have to be some reason, some explanation, some answer to this most basic of human mysteries (why is there pain and suffering?). It starts the first book of the Old Testament and is the centerpiece of Buddhism. With the Tetrahedron, and the rest of the Core Material, I think new understanding on this old model can take place.
Only a fool would come right out and say that a person chose to have his legs blown off, or chose to watch her child die, or chose to be born blind. I, in fact, have been that fool at times. When I was young and excited to reveal and teach some new things. I’ve learned that this is the toughest argument by far. I’ve learned that even with warning signs clanging and bars to block their path people will drive over the rails to meet a train. People will smoke and drink to excess and then complain when they “get” cancer or diabetes or something else. I’ve learned that people identify with their pain and that the suffering is often not because they seemingly can’t change the condition, but in not being able to arrive at the answer to “Why?”.
Unfortunately, it’s really really hard to suggest the answer of individual choice and responsibility, and purpose and meaning to the awful suffering. Often that’s because the suggestion isn’t given or understood in a proper context. (In reality, much of the focus of the Core Material, including the Tetradedron, is to simply frame the answer to that Why? question.)
For me, tragedy and cruelty and innocence lost is just more proof that this is only one life of many. Because it would be so depressing and useless if it were not. I don’t want to say we treat life/lives as “disposable,” but we sort of do. Karma isn’t instant in the Earth Experience. The cause or causes, usually repeatedly, can be set in motion and then warning bells can be clanging for a long time before the effect takes place.
There is plenty of time to change a path toward suffering. Any one of the many, many twists and turns, people and places that we turn down can be jumping off places to get out of the path of a hurricanes or a drive-by. It really isn’t all that random. We each take/are on a path to and from every event in our life. The worst events stand out and most of them blindside us, but we didn’t just arrive there blindly, without a choice, or many choices previously, even when born into a sad body. No matter what, we are living a story and comedy and tragedy and everything in between make up our personal story.
End of Part 1
Note: In these discussions it is important to draw a crucial distinction for clarity on this subject.
Either I_You_We are a direct participant in an event (in the cases of this discussion miserable, tragic events), or I_You_We are not. The magic and hypnosis of our technology and media sometimes make it seem as if I_You_We are there.
Unless I_You_We are actually there, I_Y_W have no true idea what the experience is actually like, and all of My_Your_Our opinions are as valid as the hearsay of reporters.
For those directly involved in a crime or tragedy, god forbid, they are the only ones who actually know the “story.” From their own personal viewpoint and their own circumstances leading up to it. All the rest of the ogling/gaping watchers are forming the story based on second-, third- or beyond-hand information. And according to their own personal stories, filters, beliefs.
I_You_We need to be very wary when I_Y_W are an indirect “participant.” It’s not the same and it would be healthy to keep some distance by staying aware of that fact. Then appropriate action, such as helping, can be taken. However, with social media this secondary participant phenomena, and the sheer lunacy of the discussions around many events, has already spun out of control. And does so every day.
Remember, if I_You_We aren’t there when it happens then I_Y_W weren’t there no matter how I_You_We feel about it or how much information I_Y_W compulsively gather.
Without keeping to the direct/indirect experience distinction we can all keep closing barn doors way too late because of not understanding how events/stories/realities–bad but also good–are created/manifested/materialized.
Part 2: Why Be Cruel at all?