Suffering and Memory

November 17th, 2016 by

There are those who like to believe that if we do “wrong” in one life we will return to another life where we will suffer of our own making until we learn otherwise. This brings up a number of questions in my own mind.  I decided to present these questions in this short post in case you might also have these questions, or others aligning with a similar topic.

  • What is the purpose of suffering? If it is to grow and evolve stronger and wiser then how does this relate to a child yet so young they have no ability to even formulate conscious memory, or even younger, an unborn child? How does this relate to levels of suffering so severe that one cannot possibly learn anything from it beyond the act of suffering, torment, despair and fear?
  • If we are here to learn how to live and truly be grateful and embrace the vibrancy of physical life, then how does continued suffering with no real end point, beyond perhaps death heighten this or support it?
  • If we have no memory that can be pointed to as actual fact of a previous life, then how can suffering in this life accomplish a level of penitence for said “sins” of a past life? It is like trying to punish a dog for tearing the trash apart yesterday. The dog has no idea why you are trying to punish it because it does not even recall ripping the trash up. The punishment is pointless unless it happens perhaps immediately when memory is clear.
  • Who ever lives in the level of perfection of the highest ideals and morals we as humans try to pin on each other? Nobody. We all live and therefore we judge and move through life in states of bias. Nobody can truly live without being bias. Every action we embark upon comes from a decision and to decide is to make a judgment, to be bias. To then think we will continue to return to a life of suffering in repentance for these “sins” of “right” or “wrong” is absurd since it would never end. Physical life is set-up to move within a bias nature. Anytime we are bias and judge we will automatically go against someone’s idea of “right” or “wrong”.
  • What of other living beings like insects, bacteria, deer, hawks and so on? They suffer as well and some suffer horribly. Did they do some grave “sin” in another life?? If life does not go backward then how can a human consciousness or higher come back as a “less evolved” conscious being? How can a virus for example be doing a sin that it might have to pay for in another life when it was born as a virus to live the life of a virus?
  • If you punch a rock you will probably break your hand. Therefore the act caused the suffering. But what of just being born? How does being born as a helpless being cause need for suffering in a hospital for instance? How does being born automatically set a child up to deserve suffering ongoing for years through abuse and countless other atrocities? Once again the whole point of suffering always being a direct and purposeful reaction of action in some intricately laid out universal plan seems absurd.
  • People like to think everything we do draws us and life closer to perfection/refinement, but does it? The world and universe shows us quite the opposite. Everything is in a race against the inevitable – annihilation. Nothing upon this earth or the earth itself is made to last and refine eternally. The sun will burn out one day and that will be that. The universe shows of the destruction, building and destruction again of everything in it. Some people like to think there is an absolute point and purpose to and for everything; a cause and effect action on every level. The only high pattern physical life supports is whatever is born, dies and whatever is created, crumbles.
  • Do alien species suffer? I would say they do since they are of the same universe. They too would then be bound to the birth and death process, the building and destruction.
  • All I can be sure of is that suffering as we know it is of a physical nature. It comes from a physical existence. All our suffering stems from being alive in a mortal body in a mortal place and seems unbound to specific patterns of cause and effect beyond being physically alive.

I ask such questions, mostly rhetorically since how can I expect any living human to truly and factually posses such answers. I ask such things and post them today because it is autumn, the time of dying and we see it all around us. How can we be awake and not see it and thus ponder it? But this is also November and the time of relationships. That means our relationship to everything, even understanding or in the majority of the cases, the lack of. The autumn is a time to ponder how we exist in such a state of non-understanding, guess work and hopes in a physical world. Do we strive and fight to demand a state of absolute knowing of the unknown, or do we accept that we do not know, cannot know and everything we think we known about the unknown is a guess, a hope, a dream and a bias to our wanting to live? Many want to design a universe free of their own fears by creating ideas that turn to absolute belief, structured upon their own bias.

So what do we have in this physical life that we can say truly matters and even lasts? Relationships and the attention to the moment. By focusing on a moment we do not see the end of all things all the time. The moment can remind us to live while we are here no matter the circumstances. The biggest thing that challenges that is a moment of suffering because it works to undermine a state of joyful living. But it is all part of life nevertheless and we cannot condemn ourselves by thinking we are suffering for some deed lifetimes ago that we cannot possibly prove or remember. We should not condemn ourselves to think we suffer because we are some sinful, evil creature placed here to suffer because in my mind it is all rubbish! It that were the case in my mind just hit me with 600 mg of morphine and be done with it.

Relationships we build and invest our energy in create more than just the physical. They create memory and memory travels on wings invisible throughout generations and spans of time. Memory in this world become woven into the very fabric of what this world and universe are made of. One of the largest techniques for dealing with suffering, acute or chronic, is the attention to memory of a time when we did not suffer and in that the hope that suffering will end because nothing lasts forever. Memory can help us endure and move through suffering, even when suffering seems to have little purpose beyond the experience of suffering.

November’s energy and lessons; they can be just as challenging as a transition month like October.


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