I have left the life of seeking experiences in the roller coaster of life, and so I no longer get my hit of the equal proportion of enjoyment and suffering that always accompanies the ride. I’m staying out of trouble, living in a spiritual community of aspiring to live a 24/7 life with God, doing my meditations, only choosing uplifting environments, staying away from negativity, and so on. So I guess I’ve closed the door on many opportunities for suffering.
But suffering has to come one way or another, at least at some point. Yesterday my body went pretty quickly into a flu mode. Last night my body started to shiver and ache pretty intensely. When I reflected on it, I realized, it must be here to remind me not to forget about the experience of suffering.
And then the most amazing thing happened. Amidst the growing body ache, while I was in my bed, I started to pour out my expression of love for Divine Mother and my guru. A blissful, freeing state beyond imagination took over me. There is something really blissful and freeing about remembering to love God without wavering, even as the body is suffering. I realized this could be my experience at the time of death, and how freeing it would be, despite whatever is happening at that moment, to be only consumed in the fire of love for Divine Mother. And so what looked like to be a miserable night, was quickly transformed into one of the most powerful nights I’ve had.
Then I understood why saints, like St. Francis, sometimes practiced getting acquainted with pain and suffering. Many mistakenly think that they were worshiping pain or suffering, sacrificing for God. It’s not about that at all. There is nothing good about experiencing suffering in itself. I came to understand that they longed to fill the bliss and freedom of being able to love God even during hard times and as the body suffered . The soul rises from the body when that happens. That’s what they practiced. Jesus Christ himself went through suffering on the cross as a symbol of that blissful freedom to rise with God.
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