#1 Teacher Pain von olibanum 02.07.2009 05:44

Teacher Pain

When we carefully study what drives people to spiritual life, we often find
a surprising correlation between pain and misery and a rise in spiritual
earnestness. Pain pushes us to seek relief beyond the body and mind. Pain
and disappointment knock on the closed doors of a superficial life and call
us to open ourselves to the Lord in full surrender.

While doing so, pain frequently slices through the illusory veil of
mindless
sense pleasure. We arrive at the cardinal question: Where is my ultimate
shelter?

But pain is often seriously misunderstood. After having recently suffered
bouts of physical pain and disappointment in my life and contemplating
deeply the wisdom of some Himalayan yogis, I realized something that may
surprise my readers. I tried to put my realization into words in the
following poem:


Greetings, I Am Pain, Your Guru

Oh, how you curse and condemn me
as if I am your worst enemy.

You will pay any price
to rid yourself of me finally.
No journey is too far,
no medicine too expensive,
no therapy too abstruse.

You attack me with painkillers,
sedatives,
mindless diversions,
an army of pills.

You call doctor after doctor,
run to healers and hospitals,
approach sadhus for blessings,
burn incense, pray-
simply to kill me, your teacher,
who has come to save
and redirect you.


Allow Me to Introduce Myself

Please wake up.
I am your sincere friend and not a cruel-hearted enemy.
I am a soul-awakener, an eye-opener, a guide, an inspirer.
How could you have failed
to recognize me?
You thought I was working against your interests.
But I have entered your life as your friend,
an angelic messenger of God.
I brought you the wisdom and strength
necessary to change your wrong ways
and to point you to the path divine.

I break you from harmful attachments
stop your progress on the road to destruction.
I whisper in your ears:
Come out of illusion
and seek shelter in God.
I am the other side of pleasure,
who is my younger brother.
Pleasure begins karmic things in this world
but I construct roads out of this world
which lead to the Divine.
I pinch people so that they think about philosophy,
prompt them to spiritual practice,
teach the things wayward souls have forgotten.

By my power I turn sensualists into transcendentalists.


Pitfalls You Could Not See

You failed to observe the laws of right conduct,
of simple living, spiritual thinking.
You abused body and mind,
did not eat properly,
cultivated unhealthy thoughts.
You abandoned exercise,
neglected to breathe clean air,
drink clean water.
You thought you were "living fast."

Your mind became a storage room for negativity,
attachment, fear, anger,
lust, greed, and illusion.
All these years where were your tears of gratitude
and your sincere service?
Perhaps you were even disrespectful toward the weak,
or the women, the children, the old?

By clever manipulation and lies
you might have tried to "benefit" yourself
at the costs of others.

Go inside now
and find what went wrong.
I am here to help you discover
what you already know.

Others may have abandoned you in disappointment,
but I came to enlighten and heal you.
I am your friend, sent by God.


Lessons to Learn

Lead a natural life of divine love
in harmony with God.
Think of Him always.
Serve Him with your senses.
Worship and prostrate yourself before Him.
Conduct your physical, emotional, and social life
in a way that supports your spiritual development.
If you don't know how seek competent advice and learn to live.
Have courage to be yourself,
a happy, free servant of eternity.

Follow what I came to teach.
When you do, surely I will give you peace and leave you.
Be blessed.


Epilogue

I am aware that some of our pain is "karmic debt" that we cannot escape so
easily. We may have to tolerate it for some time until the debt is paid.

There is, however, hope, a light at the end of the tunnel. By devoted
spiritual practices, one of two things can happen:

1. We may develop the required insight and change of habits. At that time
our teacher, pain, may be satisfied that we have learned our lessons and
say
good-bye.

2. We arrive at the spiritual level whence we are much better able to deal
with pain and disappointment.

A word to the terminally ill:

Many terminally ill found strength and solace in changing their perspective
on life and death. Life they have come to consider the right hand of God,
and death His left. Understanding that they are always in one of His hands,
they became both peaceful and blissful.

Let me sincerely apologize to all of you who have not found
encouragement in
what I have written. Perhaps your pain is different or excruciating. Also,
at the time, when I came close to death and found myself writhing with pain
I don't know if I could have written this poem in the same lighthearted
way.
I feel empathy for each of you, and if I am aware of your situation, please
trust that I am including you in my prayers.

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