Ruzbeh N. Bharucha
Pain can be the greatest gift or the worst enemy for spiritual growth. The right channeling of pain can mould agony into something sublime and thus make one’s Master happy and proud of you; while the nurturing of self pity and the ‘why me and the victim syndrome’ can turn one into a petty, negative individual who can make the very Heaven weep.
Pain opens the door to compassion and love; and it is only compassion and love for all of creation that unlocks the door to paradise and God consciousness. If you have been in pain, be it physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, financial, medical, legal, and have embraced it calmly (for sure after doing all that one can do to assuage the situation), one can virtually convert a tragedy into a positive life altering experience and grow further using the difficult incident as a platform to become more humane and compassionate.
Some accept and embrace pain calmly, either as one’s destiny, or as karmic cleansing, or The Master’s Will, or take full responsibility of the issue that created the painful experience, learn from it and move on, to become much better individuals than before the incident. Some even accept inevitable personal adversity and set back with mature resignation. Be it whatever reason, pain is the cosmos’s way of giving each of us a chance to go to the next level of spiritual growth.
When we are going through pain or have undergone a tiring phase, we have the opportunity to understand and sympathize with the pain of others. When we have suffered or seen suffering of near and dear ones or are even now undergoing it, we have the podium of being more compassionate towards others undergoing similar and/or, various other painful ordeals. The experience can make us more open and charitable, and less judgmental towards the weakness and idiosyncrasies of others, as we now know how the shoe hurts and how sometimes it is difficult to think rationally and behave maturely when going through discomfort, agony and ache.
The moment we are less judgmental, the fragrance of compassion infuses our senses. Embracing pain not as a punishment or the cruel workings of the planets or the Creator makes one closer to all beings and God Himself. One begins to realize in the true sense what Oneness means, if you and I can use pain, not as sinking sand but a spring board to soar with the Angels. Pain can make one gentler and more embracing to the tears and sorrow of others; and also allows one to appreciate good times, loved ones and real companionship.
Pain of body, mind or heart, means the land is fertile for God to begin sowing the seeds of compassion, love, oneness and charity towards one and all.
So many charitable organizations have come to fore, because the patron has experienced either personal tragedy or seen a loved one go through and/or succumb to a calamity. Thus, it is pain that has opened the doors of their heart, compassion and purse, to help the less financially privileged in the form of medical-legal-educational-financial aid; for those in need and who cannot afford the same. This is transcending pain and spreading happiness.
We all can do the same in whatever capacity possible and practical.
If one has or is still undergoing financial stress or failure in career or love or relationship or whatever, ideally, we should be more compassionate when we meet somebody going through a similar ordeal and then be able to lend a helping hand. For example, if you have gone through ill health, you are a perfect receptor of the agony going through by another ill person. We all know the stress and agony of ill health; often financial. The medical fraternity often has gotten so commercialized that a serious illness at home, can wipe the family of all savings and often get the family in debt. If you have undergone this agony of ill health and financial drain, the pain channeled in the right direction should make you more compassionate and charitable and do what one can to help the family going through such hardship. If we do, we have converted pain into a blessing; not only for our own spiritual growth by making our Master happy and proud of us, but a blessing for somebody, down and out, needing a friend and a shoulder to lean on.
Often the rich and famous, who were busy pursuing their careers and embellished in their name, fame and glory, when experience a personal misfortune of a loved one, or have battled illness or addiction or have experienced hunger, humiliation, personal tragedy at some point of their lives or seen their families suffer, whatever the reason, they initiate awareness campaigns and use their money for a noble cause; could be to educate and help those going through a similar cause of agony and pain; which means, they have channeled their pain in the right direction and used the platform for spreading Light, in whatever manner and capacity they could. Sometimes a blessing comes in the form of a tragedy. It all depends how one perceives and nurtures the experience.
This isn’t about money or being rich and famous. This is about not letting pain make you bitter and negative. This is about not allowing grief to closing you up from all that which is joyous, noble and tender. The poorest to the richest, can either transform pain into a blessing or convert it into a lifelong nightmare for themselves and all those around them.
Often pain can make us, bitter, negative and petty. It can make us say things and do stuff that isn’t us, but because one hurts, sometimes, one wants everybody to hurt and that isn’t right or noble or good; not for oneself and not for those around. I know it is easier said than done, but the truth is don’t let pain make us bitter or negative, as that cross is going to break one’s back, not only in this life time but for lifetimes to come.
We all have a choice. Most often our cards are dealt. We may have insisted on those cards to play out our karmic balance sheet or it is just meant to be. Whatever the reason the only thing we have in our control is how we go through the experience. The choice of soaring and spreading the Light is in our hands as well as spreading hurt and darkness and sadness. The cards are dealt. Now how we play the game is in our hands.
I knew a couple who were lawyers. They both practiced in the Family Court. The husband was a hardcore professional. He didn’t care about who was right or wrong, as long as his fees were agreed to and paid on time. He wasn’t much for reconciliation of warring spouses but squeezing every ounce of self respect and blood from the other party. His logic was, this is my profession, and winning was the only important thing. His wife, on the other hand would try her best to bring about peace amongst the husband and wife who were seeking divorce. She only accepted cases which her conscience permitted. She never went for the jugular. She prayed and was God loving and a truly kind hearted noble person. She was like an agony aunt, very often to both the parties. She in short sucked as a hardcore professional lawyer but nobody doubted her compassion.
Their child died, due to an allergic reaction. Both the parents were by the side of their baby. She was a eleven year old girl, who I had met, and she for some reason found me rather amusing. I still remember the twinkle in her eyes when she would meet me. Anyway life and fate are a four letter word.
For a few months I didn’t meet both husband and wife. And when I met them, I realized how each of us tackles grief, in our own particular way. The husband was a changed man. He had become quieter, aged about ten years in those few months and he had become more humane. He no longer accepted cases where he felt he was representing the wrong side. He tried his level best to bring both warring spouses on the table, as he didn’t want their children to have a broken home. He had begun to support various organizations that took care of children, either orphans or those suffering from physical challenges and life threatening conditions. He supported them with time, money and his expertise. He had channeled his grief, loss and heart ache into something noble and positive. He had converted a tragedy into a blessing for countless people.
His wife on the other hand went the other way. She had become nasty, mean, and vindictive. She no longer cared about her clients. It was as though she found pleasure in breaking families and making the parents and children go through loss and pain. I had just begun channeling and she would ridicule me and pass strange remarks on God, Master and all that which once she considered sacred. She had converted pain into one long journey of hell, for herself and all those around her. I truly sympathized with her for losing her child but more so, for becoming a walking corpse of hate and bitterness.
So if pain is karmic, the way we undergo the experience or ordeal, is left to our free will. We have the choice of raising the bar, moving spiritually upwards or becoming bitter, negative, mean and vindictive.
This very happy looking but partially deaf sage, between smoking the third and the fourth hand rolled cigarette that I suspect contained apart from tobacco, various self healing herbs, spoke these profound words to me that shall remain etched in my right ear drum as the man really could talk loud. He said, ‘son, you can’t do much about your face and your general hilarious persona, you are stuck with it, but let me tell you one thing, you can either let pain make you an Angel or an insufferable pain in the rectal opening and boy the choice is yours, that is all you have, live with it, and now give me a thousand bucks’.
As Baba Sai of Shirdi so often in channeling tells many that, “when you don’t use the opportunity that pain and misfortune give you to move higher spiritually and become a better human being then you have lost the greatest chance to walk in the shadow of God. But if you allow pain to harvest the good and noble within you my child, then the kingdom of heaven is yours. The cross will remain, but your shoulders will get more strength to bear the weight. The kingdom of heaven is filled with wonders and miracles; the greatest miracle of all is to convert pain into God consciousness.”
Ruzbeh N. Bharucha