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Wendy Stokes Column
Why A World of Suffering and Heartache?
Mon,29 Aug 2011
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Dear Wendy, I cannot understand why God created a world of disease, suffering and hardship. Sometimes I sit and cry when I see all this suffering. Shirley.
Dear Shirley, We live in a world where all living things must suffer and die. The elderly ox collapses and dies in the heat of the midday sun and the lion must ruthlessly kill the antelope to feed its young. We have natural calamities, tsunamis, volcanos, storms a
nd harsh weather. This is the world that God made. However, God, whatever name you wish to give to him – or her – also made human beings with enough intelligence and ingenuity to relieve suffering wherever it is experienced in this world. This is our true spiritual path, to end suffering at every opportunity. Evil occurs only when pain is not relieved, or worse, when it is caused unnecessarily, such as in crime and war.
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My ideas also fluctuate, and I grow due to readers comments, such as yours, so thank you, Jan for your responses. What you have done for those who could not say thanks, let me say I am grateful that there are people like you, who truly walk the extra 100 miles despite the discomfort, sacrifices and inner conflicts that a true spiritual path creates. The strain is very great on the few who care and their lot would be relieved if more pulled their weight! I believe that our purpose for this life is to care for those in need, not to have botox, 50 pairs of shoes, a house with 10 rooms, two cars, to gaze in the mirror, take cocaine and rip people off at every opportunity. However, we are only an animal species after all, so must be patient because we are still only in a very primitive state and balance this with loving kindness when we can.
I do believe that absence of truth is tyranny and that we must face up to the pain of our life because others cannot avoid the greater pain of theirs.
I also believe in 'the human condition' that we are not intended to be 'happy' and that no matter how much money, beauty, power, etc. a person has, it will not provide 'happiness' (perhaps contentment is a better goal to aim for). Bright blessings to you Jan, and I hope we might get other posts (if I have managed to contest long held beliefs sufficiently).
Fri,11 Nov 2011,19:33:03 GMT
Thank you for replying to my post Wendy - it is wonderful to be able to discuss these spiritual matters with yourself and others. I must admit that the ideas I currently hold are liable to change on a daily basis - I see my life, totally, as a work in progress.
From an early age I set out in a Pollyanna fashion to 'help others'. My career was in a caring profession, I became a vegetarian some thirty years ago, I dabbled in Buddhism, engaged in voluntary work, supported a child in Kenya, took in rescued animals etc etc. That is in no way a boast - I am just trying to describe the attempts that thousands/millions of us Westerners make in order to bring about a difference - those much abler than ourselves go the extra mile and set up refugee camps in Sudan or centres for the homeless and the forgotten. I am neither so brave nor so competent.
However, no matter how hard you try to alleviate suffering wherever you see it, and it is absolutely everywhere, you are but one individual. Sometimes, maybe, the only good you are able to offer is, as you so beautifully describe, to 'hold the light', to bear witness, to be the one who doesn't turn away. But the suffering never ceases and the greatest minds in this world struggle to find an answer that satisfies.
Because of an experience I had many years ago I know, I don't just believe, that there is another life beyond this one and therefore a God. At this point in time, the only rationale that makes any kind of sense to me is the 'choosing our lives' one. I would much prefer to have reached another conclusion, any other really, and I don't find this belief easy but I find it does help me through the darker times in life.
Those people in the dire situations you describe I see as being my absolute equal on this planet and probably much more spiritually advanced because I know I wouldn't have the courage to live their lives. That in no way lets me off the hook - if I can help them I must. Sadly, but realistically, that often just means sending money to a charity or writing letters to my MP but the onus is there to do that. The Bible tells the story of the widow's mite, she gave all she could which is what we must do.
I am increasingly convinced that a compassionate heart is the ultimate goal, whether it is accomplished with the support of a religion or New Age beliefs or just a resigned humanism. We are all one, no matter how varied our lives and beliefs and perhaps it is no real matter that our progress through life is so individualistic so long as we reach a common end. My way might be different to yours but they are both valid and we are not so far apart.
Light and love Wendy.
Fri,11 Nov 2011,17:06:50 GMT
I'm not a subscriber to the 'choose your family and your life' idea, Jan. Plenty would choose our life here, in the 6th richest nation in the world, but who would choose a life of utter poverty, when you cannot relieve the pain and distress of those you love, when life is embarrassingly without necessities? It is too easy to believe they have chosen that life so we don't need to give anything. Spirituality surely involves compassion and empath, not walking by with a comfortable and convenient theory. We can avoid pain but some, far less well off than we are, cannot avoid it.
Is God a loving God? If so, why did he create such horrendous suffering? Is there a battle between Good and Evil and, if so, how can we pursue a true spiritual path?
If we are to walk a spiritual path of love and truth, we must go there, Jan. I believe that is why lightworkers must work together, to gain mutual support and strength, to witness and fight for justice, kindness, peace and prosperity for all. Be strong!
Thu,10 Nov 2011,18:08:19 GMT
Wendy, I struggle with these matters in just the same way. It seems incomprehensible that a loving God would allow suffering on the scale which exists. Maybe, obviously, a world cannot exist which produces only little or moderate suffering, maybe it has to be the very worst we can imagine in order that we can face the absolute pinnacles of pain and despair.
If we choose the rough draft of our life before we arrive here we must have some idea of the happiness, pain and suffering ahead of us and, presumerably, acquiesce. Having said all that I find pain and suffering in others harder to deal with than my own.
I read recently in a channeling, and cannot remember where, that pain and suffering in the natural world ' isn't how it looks' which I found an interesting comment to make. The only sense I can make of that statement is perhaps, and this is a wild stab in the dark, that in times of absolute extremity the person or animal suffering is somehow replaced by a higher energy who will voluntarily step into their shoes.
Another channelled entity said 'no-one really gets hurt'. Maybe our world is much more of a mirage than we can imagine. Maybe the ways in which we react to suffering in others is the prime lesson and point of it all. Compassion must be one of the highest states we can achieve but the world's population will be a complete mix of levels in this regard.
I want to believe that we can put our trust in a being who is absolute perfection and that all that is required of us is that we respond to suffering in others with as much love and compassion as we can muster. The alternative to this is such a dark hole of suffering that I can hardly bear to go there. Jan x
Thu,20 Oct 2011,11:49:37 GMT
There are two schools of thought, either the creator of the Universe created a planet where humans and animals suffer pain or the creator is a healing deity that relieves pain and has an adversary that inflicts pain in the world. Certainly some pain is caused by natural decay and disease - we must all die or the planet would be even more overpopulated - some is caused through famine, etc., and human being cause themselves and others a great deal of suffering. Perhaps other readers have some views on this perennial question.
Tue,11 Oct 2011,00:55:08 GMT
I am also keen to hear other people's thoughts on this complex subject, Janet. You make an interesting point. But I believe that whether God created our world or not, we, as the most intelligent species on the planet, should do as much as we can to ease and end suffering and not exacerbate it.
What do others think?
Mon,12 Sep 2011,18:57:15 GMT
Just curious as to what others think but, why do we believe in God? I knew nothing about God or religion until it was put in my head through Bible Stories and Sunday School. Now, the only church I go to is the Spiritualist one as I came away from religion a long time ago. xxx
Mon,12 Sep 2011,00:25:16 GMT
Thanx 4 yr post Jay. Pefection would be a world without war, criminal activity, and all kinds of pain and suffering. In the rich West we do not live in close proximity to horrendous pain and suffering, disease without pain relief, grinding poverty, I have seen it with my own eyes in other countires and bear witness to the powerlessness and depression it causes. I can't see a perfect world Jay, except to say, we are shielded in the UK because people are cared for from the cradle to the grave but that doesn't mean to say that milliions of people and billions of animals, suffer all day, every day, which is very painful for those with compassion and empathy who would like to help but can do nothing to ease their suffering.
The question of why God created a world where there is such suffering is as old as time and the worlds greatest thinkers have pondered on it without finding any answer, except that if God created a perfect world it is mankind that have created a great deal of suffering, though tsumanis, floods, hurricanes, volcanos, etc., also contribute to suffering for humans and animals. Having said this, I am a dualist (and have been for many lifetimes) and I believe in good and evil, how else can we account for Hitler and his kind?
Fri,02 Sep 2011,16:43:28 GMT
I guess my comment sounded a bit blunt but I was a bit shocked by the words, "this is the world God made," Do you really believe this Wendy? God lives in perfection and can only create in perfection, it would not be possible to create in any other way, the first beings also were perfect so would not have seen suffering in this perfect world, now of course it is a different story, man in his separation from the Godhead has created what we now live with, and only God can put this right.
Thu,01 Sep 2011,19:35:13 GMT
Please explain how we can experience duality, Dennis? Surely, we can be kind and generous without being cruel and mean? Many great teachers of the past, Jesus for instance said 'Do unto others as you would be done by" and the Buddha taught the 8 fold path of righteous living without doing harm. Surely, the meaning of spirituality is to avoid practising all kinds of unkindness and to try to make the world a better place. I'm not sure I understand your teaching here, can you explain more please?
Wed,31 Aug 2011,18:54:04 GMT
I have one. I believe that we need to experience duality in order for our souls to grow. I believe we are by far greater being than that we realise right now. We can't realise this totally if we won't be cut off from this truth. Just like there wouldn't be no good if there wasn't evil, we needed to be in this human body to eventually realise that we are Gods.
Wed,31 Aug 2011,17:02:09 GMT
Do you have another, perhaps better explanation of a theory that makes more sense to you, Jay?
Mon,29 Aug 2011,19:40:39 GMT
I'm sorry, have I got this right?
God made this awful world then made human beings to put it right? I can't get my head around that one, what a complete waste of time, and any intelligence given at the onset has long gone.
Mon,29 Aug 2011,18:57:10 GMT
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