Moving Beyond Suffering
Gently get into a quiet, meditative Soul Space of healing power.
The word “suffering” reflexively conjures up awful diseases, the tragedies of automobile accidents, or the relentless nature of chronic and terminal illnesses; it evokes sadness, compassion and sometimes even anger. Ofttimes we just run from it. But just as profoundly important as physical suffering is mental and emotional suffering - the more subtle ways in which we human beings feel pain. Such suffering can be as subtle as giving one’s power away when a boss’ demands require us to neglect ourselves and our families, or it can be as painful as the inability to let go of the grief, fear or anger caused by the loss of someone we care for. It can be found in the anguish and discomfort of not following one’s bliss in life, or it can be hidden as the constant pining for the way things used to be before ‘that awful thing happened’.
Suffering is all around us, and each and everyone on this planet has been or will be touched by the face of suffering in one form or another. It is real and it is profound. But rather than denying it or being immobilized by it, we need to acknowledge and validate that suffering, and then, heal the wounds it creates. We need to hold suffering in a space of acceptance and unconditional love, and we need to help each other to move gracefully through and beyond suffering to the other side, whatever that other side turns out to be.
If we can do this, we find that suffering has an interesting side effect - it can and often does usher in a new way of being which invariably leads to richness of experience. We discover that it is often through the experience of suffering in ourselves and others that we come face to face with our authentic selves and with the wisdom and courage we never knew we had. It is often through the avenue of suffering that we find and come to appreciate compassion in ourselves and others. And it is frequently through the experience of suffering that we uncover our capacity to love and be loved, unconditionally. We all know of courageous souls who have walked the path of suffering before us, and who, in finding effective, life-affirming responses to suffering, have shown us that suffering can and does offer a gift of healing.
Although our specific responses to suffering must necessarily be as many and varied as the forms of suffering, we do share one thing: we all have the capacity to temper suffering by reaching deep within to find and act from that center of calm, that place of strength, that inner space of solace and peace.
Tonight we honor those who are enduring emotional, mental and physical pain or discomfort. We flood them with the light of our Love and support their capacity to reframe their experience and grow with it and from it.
As we join our hearts together, know that powerful beacons of Light and Love will shine forth into the world, will join those from others of like intent, and be directed to those in greatest need on our beloved planet.
As we each prepare for the moment, let the mood be one of unconditional love…
…and May the Force be with us! J
Please light your candles (optional) and commence with the following peace poem:
Dear God, Great Spirit,
Our hearts reach out with empathy
for the many kinds of suffering and pain in our world;
The suffering of chronic and terminal illness, the pain of the loss of loved ones,
The anguish of not following one’s bliss, and
The suffering deliberately inflicted on the unprotected – the children and the aged.
We are gathered tonight to honour all those who are suffering,
and to hold each one in a space of acceptance and pure, unconditional love.
We pray that for 5 minutes or even just one moment,
everyone enduring such suffering may experience a cessation of that suffering
this very moment,
And that peace, clarity and love flood their beings, lifting and lightening spirits
all over this planet…
This is our vision…
For those who need to, may they find the courage to
Reach out to friends and family for practical assistance and support,
to healers for medical assistance and to spiritual counselors
for nurturing and healing.
For those who are vulnerable, may they swiftly be surrounded
by those who can and will stop the inflicted suffering.
For those who seem incapable, like those suffering the loss of their mental faculties,
We flood them with our love that they may flourish and be able to uncover and fulfill their highest purpose on earth.
We honour those who seek to alleviate suffering,
And for those who prey on the vulnerable, may they gain clarity,
understanding and empathy for the suffering they are creating in others’ lives,
and may they find the courage
to transform themselves.
And for all persons suffering, whatever the reason big or small,
May they continue to experience lightness of heart, lightness of being
And lightness of spirit
for just five more minutes, and then five more,
until each day becomes filled with light and love,
and life becomes a beautiful treasure.
May our vision manifest
And may we all be gentle with ourselves and each other.
After this introductory vision/meditation/prayer, please express your own vision of peace. (As always, please feel free to modify the peace poem, or to use your own.)
Please close your peace session with the extinguishing of the candle.
· This Peace Circle (although it certainly applies in some measure) was not intended as a response to the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. It was conceived in mid August before these events. This Peace Circle focuses on global suffering of all kinds.
September 23, 2001
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