Saturday, September 02, 2006

On Suffering

Suffering is an issue that literally plagues humanity, and has plagued humanity since creation itself. Everyone goes through it, even those who appear to be rolling in the belly of bliss, and most of us (if not all) want to end our own personal suffering - and some of us want to do likewise for the rest of our species. It finds its way into many areas of thought, including philosophy and religion (many people will think of the emancipation of the human from suffering as a key element of Buddhism, for example), but there is always the age-old question of: “Why do we suffer?”

This isn’t a simple one to answer. In many cases, the Gnostic might attribute all manner of suffering (war, famine, disease, abuse, etc.) to the work of the Demiurge and Archons, the “False God” and “Rulers” of this world, who simply do not have our best interests in mind. And, while this is (at least symbolically) essentially true, it isn’t a very pleasant thought for most (if any) people.

However, the Shekinah (Sophia, the Holy Spirit, etc.) permeates our world – it is our indwelling divinity, our Holy Spark – our Sacred Flame. Indeed, it is so involved in our world (whether we are consciously aware of it or not) that we find even those dark moments where it seems like we are puppets to some sadistic archonic tyrant, there is purpose, a hidden element that is working for the Light. Yes, there are forces at work against us, but there are others at work to aid us (Christ, the Logos, was/is one of these forces), and many of these work through the System (“kosmos”) and use the System to achieve their aim. Thus, while suffering in and of itself is not inherently good for us, it can be used (and is, if we let it) to achieve a higher aim.

Knowing why is half the battle and can comfort us in those dark times.

To explore this subject further, I will post an “enormous fiction” that I wrote around a month ago to deal with this subject (and related issues). May it fill you in spirit and inspire you to overcome suffering in its various guises.

The Seeker & The Sought

"1. Those who try to lift a boulder will lift a Stone, but as they try they are tried, and when they look beneath the Boulder, they will become troubled by what they see, but it is the strife of their vision that allows them to See.

2. Those who are content to move pebbles like pieces of a boardgame, they will not know Me. If they looked at the board, they would see that I am all lines and no line, and it is the Breath of My Spirit that moves the pieces, not their hands.

3. Let the Movers of Mountains take Comfort and Solace in their Suffering, for only those who Suffer seek, and only those who Seek find. I am the Seeker and the Sought, and all who seek Me without find Me within.

4. I am beneath pebbles and boulders, and I am the creator of suffering and the absolver of strife. All who know Me shall become Me, and I shall become them, and We will walk in the Light together.

5. For he who is hungry shall be filled with the Bread of Life, and she who thirsts shall be filled with the Wine of Spirit; so shall the Famished inherit the Fullness."

P.S. The term “enormous fictions”, which is commonly adopted in the Gnostic community to refer to personal scriptural work, was first assigned to the Gnostic scriptures by Irenaeus, the second-century Bishop of Lyons, in his “Against Heresies”:

“Every one of them generates something new every day, according to his ability; for no one is considered initiated among them unless he develops some enormous fictions.”

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