Shawn Maxam explains our obsession with suffering is counter-intuitive and ultimately destructive.
There would be far less suffering amongst mankind, if men — and God knows why they are so fashioned — did not employ their imaginations so assiduously in recalling the memory of past sorrow, instead of bearing their present lot with *equanimity.
*equanimity - Mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, esp. in a difficult situation.
One of the more popular verses from the Christian bible is John 3:16. This verse has parallels with other religious beliefs and stories. Prometheus was punished by Zeus for giving humans fire. Jews had to suffer 40 years in the wilderness before entering the promised land. The Shadu’s Blessing is a lesson in karma and the possibility of reward and punishment in your next life. These are just a few examples of how human beings no matter their cultural background are indoctrinated with the notion that suffering is unavoidable. I would like to challenge that notion.
A life of shame, guilt and inadequacy isn’t a solid basis for happiness. Babies are born with glee, excitement and wonder and we educate them to become cynics, pessimists and sad creatures. As a species we are taught that our existence is based upon the sacrifice of a more powerful being or beings’ pity. Our self-esteem as a population is built upon the foundation that not only are we imperfect but our flawed essence has caused our creator(s) to have either suffered themselves or to pass on that suffering to us.
Imagine you were raised in squalor and poverty and your alcoholic father walked out on your family and your mother blamed you. Your birth was the catalyst for her marriage being ruined and her dreams of financial prosperity being destroyed. All of her suffering (and consequently your own) was caused by you. And you were being told this at the age of eleven! What an incomprehensible mind-fuck that would be. Now replace your mother with Vishnu, Zeus, Allah, Yahweh, Jah and etc.
I was raised to believe that the strife and pain of my family, of my ancestors and of my race was a test. That it was normal and should be embraced. Yes I am proud that the groups I am apart of were able to persevere through tragedies we collectively experienced but that doesn’t mean it should continue. Pain is not normal and I will no longer punish myself or teach my future children to believe this.
Life is difficult. But it isn’t a sacrifice. No one has to pay for our existence. No one has to be held responsible for you being present in this universe. You owe no one and inversely no one owns you. I repeat you owe no one and no one owns you. Not your parents, not your country and not your god.
Attempting to explain the pain, tragedy and sadness in the world via external unseen forces is a short-cut. It allows us not to take ownership over of our actions. Tomorrow morning when you look into the sun realize it takes eight minutes for the rays to reach you. The stars in the night sky have long died and are only now reaching your sight. The Grand Canyon took thousands of years to form. Nature doesn’t take short-cuts. So our understanding of who we are, what our actions mean and our place in the universe will take time and patience as well.
Please share this with friends, enemies and temporary allies alike.
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