To Suffer Is Not Divine
I believe that millions of people are subconsciously being victimized by the belief that we get something for suffering. I call this the modern day ‘nice people disease. I know, because I’m one of them.
I can remember my dad being angry when I was young, and as he yelled at me and my siblings, he told us that life wasn’t fun and games, and we needed to suffer. While he was often an advocate for suffering when angered, I have never forgotten the moment I first heard him say it.
Perhaps his comment struck a chord of remembrance with me, whether from an ancient memory or because of all the imagery I saw at church. Raised in a Catholic tradition, suffering and sacrifice seemed to be important things we worshiped about Jesus.
For the last two thousand years, the message that Christian leaders put to the masses was that they were sinners who needed to be saved.
To help people along their path to being saved, all references to reincarnation were taken out of the bible around 550 AD. The Church didn’t want people to postpone their efforts at being a better person so they got rid of the potential of a second chance in another life and added the concept of Hell to motivate people towards their spiritual goodness.
The narrative became, you only get one life to repent from being a born sinner into someone who is worthy of getting into heaven for all of eternity. Fail at this difficult task and you get door number two, which was eternal fiery damnation.
It was arguably a great idea gone bad.
The church came up with all kinds of ways to get to heaven. We were asked to repent, to reject our humanity and take vows of poverty, chastity, silence along with many other unpleasant things. The ultimate proof that one deserved salvation was to die for one’s religious beliefs. That was the golden ticket, the sure-fire way to buy your seat in heaven and many of us did just that.
Only that’s not what happened. Life on earth is not a one and done thing. According to esoteric teachings, human reincarnation is a necessary process for learning on this planet. People are needlessly suffering to chase an illusion.
According to esoteric psychology, these past religious teachings created a defect within human consciousness resulting in a form of psychological imprisonment that we can save ourselves by suffering.
I think of myself as a good person, as I’m sure many kind and caring people do. But when I honestly asked myself what it means to be a good person and why I wanted to be one, avoidance of hell was in my top three answers. I don’t even believe in hell and yet there it was – hiding in plain sight.
I realized that my motivation for being a good person in this life mostly had to do with assuring that I get good things in return. I wanted good Karma for being a good person. My actions are not flawed, my motivation to be saved is the flaw. I’m enslaved to the subconscious belief and it’s running my life without my conscious awareness.
Doing for others seems like a good thing and while there is a sense of purpose and fulfillment in helping others, there comes a point when ‘doing good’ feels more like obligation and dare I say suffering.
When we give up what we want for what other people want us to do because we care about them, we are actually being a martyr. We think we sacrifice our sense of balance, happiness or well-being because we don’t want to hurt anyone, or offend anyone, or upset anyone. Maybe that’s true to a degree, but perhaps we’re also subconsciously trying to save ourselves through our efforts.
The funny thing is that we don’t even realize we’re trapped in this way of thinking. We stay in bad relationships, boring jobs and unhealthy family commitments, and we tell ourselves it’s not that bad. We seem to let life happen to us without question.
But in the end, we aren’t fulfilled or living a life of purpose that is meaningful to us because we aren’t using the right motivation to make our choices.
There’s an easy way out of this paradox. Since the flaw is in our psyche, we can simply choose to rewrite the program.
First, we must consciously confront the possibility that this belief exists by examining our past actions and motivations for evidence. If we feel it’s there, we can begin the process of upgrading to a more constructive belief.
Tell yourself that there is no payoff, no reward for suffering and that belief is no longer needed. Repeat often. Then creatively choose new motivations that are more positive and supportive for you and your life. Change as often as you wish.
Remember, it’s not about changing your actions, it’s about changing your attitude. By making conscious choices to do things because we want to do them instead of expecting a reward for the effort frees us from the restriction of a false belief.