A Path of Joy, A Path of Suffering

Do I have a choice to choose a path of joy, instead of pain, to tread the spiritual journey as advocated by many new age calling for spiritual awakening? Can I be merry and enjoy the very best of life and yet at the very same time be spirited on the masters’ path that brought them to full realization? For me, it is a resounding yes and yet, a no.

After much into the journey of self-awareness, and still, work in progress, it dawned upon me how important the presence of wisdom is to enable me to continuously explore and differentiate what is truth and what is not truth, or rather, imitation of truth. For that I am deeply grateful to the sharing of one unassuming teacher of light-heartedness with a down to earth character that brought me into this journey of self-inquiry.

Until this moment, this sentence is more true to my journey – I need not choose the path of pain to progress spiritually but I’d need to face whatever pain that is already in my space to progress in my spiritual journey. In other words, I need not create pain or move away from pain to make me feel spiritual or good – I need not do anything extra than who I already am now, except to work with whatever that is already here for me or coming my way.

I need not give away my wealth to be spiritual but instead inquire why am I in stress, trying to amass wealth. I need not purposely live a life of mediocrity and act in humility, when at the same time, making ends meet to survive with difficulty. Humility is an effect of wisdom, not something I could mimic or create, as that would only tantamount to the survival of ego. Where I am, the lesson is already here for me. It will neither leave me, nor need I create any for myself to experience.

On the same note, it is not about running away from lessons and drowning myself in merriment so as to indulge further in desires that blinds me from seeing the motivation behind each act. It is also not about avoiding pain or making plans to cover-up what is already here. Both avoidance and indulgence are simply effects of fear of facing the inner demons, the unquestioned pain. Mental complaints, judgments, comparisons, assumptions, to name a few, are camouflages that I create in my mind to escape from the origin of pain. Ironically, those acts compound the pain that I am already in.

Thus the joy of the spiritual journey is about accepting with integrity what is already in me as I work through it to release the pain that I am unconscious about. Not the joy of merrymaking or good feelings practices. There are no choices in spiritual practice except to face squarely what is already here for me. The only choice I have is either to resolve it here and now or to delay it – but never, could I even attempt to leave it.

Every relationship, be it with myself or with anyone for that matter, points me to my pain. Would it be farfetched to say that the way I relate is my pain found? Why do I resist certain relationships? What is in me that I am not relating to lovingly? Why am I holding on to a certain relationship? Why the need to discriminate, judge and compare in hierarchy, the specialness of relationships? If I am sincere and really do wish to understand, I need not look far but to travel into my own motivation behind those acts. In it, I will find my space of pain – fear of being abandoned, of disapproval, of inferiority, of creating specialness which all serves the purpose to hide my own pain.

To resist a relationship is pain. To hold on to it too, is pain. When I hold on to another I am in denial of the opposite of what I am resisting. In short, every moment is pain in progress, except that I am totally oblivious to it as I constantly create avoidance and indulgence to drown my discomfort.

Thus “spiritual journey” is not about getting anywhere or achieving anything, nor is it about hiding myself from the world; but to come into my own presence of what is already in me. It is the journey of resolving the pain without try to fix it, but only through inner understanding. And this can only be done when I give myself the sacred space of non-doing by simply being with what is. It is about seeing what currently blocks me from experiencing the truth, and to finally reckon with wisdom that all pains are simply errors I have put in my system that leads to misperception. Here lies the suffering. Not the suffering of the world, but the suffering of the inner world where my perception becomes my reality. And seeing this truth is a call for freedom – freedom from the tyranny of delusion which I placed myself in.

Take time to reflect on the following verses made by the Buddha and Yeshua, both like you and me, who wanted to know the truth and nothing but the truth:

When this world is ever ablaze,
Why this laughter, why this jubilation?
Shrouded in darkness,
will you not seek the light?

(cited in the Dhammapada)

Blessed are those who have undergone ordeals.
They have entered into the life.

(cited in The Gospel of Thomas)

5 Replies to “A Path of Joy, A Path of Suffering”

  1. Again, a beautiful piece. This clears a lot of doubt for anyone who is on the journey… :)

  2. This entry came to me when I questioned the rational behind choosing a joyful journey instead of pain, as shared by new age school of thoughts, and how I observe people moving away from taking their own inner responsibility “garbage” and instead does lots of “feel good” work that not only compound their garbage but also adding new stuff to it. Thus the journey of J and B is wonderful as it is about abandoning or undoing instead of creation which interestingly, is what modern day spirituality is talking about. Have we missed the mark? Not that the path advocated by B or J is far away from joy but rather there is much joy arriving from clearing the stuff of what we have unconsciously created in our past. Thus I will define in my own way that the path of joy is undoing and the path of pain is in creation. Both are in opposite polarity. Until the undoing is seen, true manifestation is impossible. Otherwise it is creating more suffering!

  3. Oh create, create.. but create moments of clarity, so that the undoing can be done, the garbage can be cleared.

    It is what we run away from the most, where we’d need to look into the most; yet no matter how far one runs, the garbage follows closely, until one sees that the garbage cannot be released until one realises that the garbage has a chain tied around one’s neck!!

    So let’s rejoice in our own willingless to clear our garbage, and leave others’ garbage to their own. Let our ‘feel good’ be from the space of true joy, true freedom; instead of one of a facade.

  4. It is never easy to really look into one’s ‘garbage’ and admit that one’s life is full of ‘garbage’. It indeed takes a lot of courage to face one’s own demons but the ultimate achievement is to face it head on…acknowledge it and then be able to move on because this ‘garbage’ is going to continue to haunt oneself until the end of time.

    Needless to say, it is always easier said than done. Who wants to feel pain? Who wants to face the ‘real’ truth? Because…everyone knows the ‘truth’ hurts.

    Thank you for sharing and keeping people like me in perspective. :)

  5. The truth is as easy as this – when we stop denying them, the meaning of garbage disappears! Not that there is an acceptance of the garbage but rather the definition of garbage totally poof! from the mind. Why? Bcos what is “denied” becomes a meaning of “garbage”. Observe the garbage we have at home. They are the stuff we denied for any more meaning or purpose in our space and thus are labelled as ‘garbage’.

    In a very strange twist of event, when the pain is look head on, it disappears! But when we deny its existence by resisting it, we make it real and thus haunt us. That’s the truth of life. Check it out for yourself next time when u have an itch – try observing the itch without identifying with it – in the beginning it may seems impossible but with merely a plain observer status, u will get what i mean when u observe the process as it is.

    “Pain is a meaning deny put on it.”

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