The State of Play Behind Sufferring

August 7th, 2017




“Behind the clouds, the sun.”


It is sometimes very difficult to see the love permeating our lives; to see how every moment, even painful ones, have their own beauty, their own truth beckoning us.


In my clinic, I will often have a client come in weighed down by their problems (or at least their view of them) only to leave in a much lighter frame of body and mind.


A client commented recently: “I always see people smiling and laughing when they come out of your clinic.” She had started to see a pattern in her own progression in our sessions and had begun to see it in others as well.



Beyond the illusion of suffering


‘Therapy’ of any kind need not always be a heavy serious process that focuses only on our wounds and failures. Insights can come just as easily with laughter as with tears.


Even in moments of sadness, if we are paying attention, there is another part in ourselves that is so relieved and grateful to have an issue finally being addressed consciously. It is not really sadness but profound release and relief.


I experienced this recently in a very unexpected way chatting to a friend while we were watching the sunset. We touched on an issue surrounding my attitude and assumptions to some past events in my life. An overwhelming sense of sadness, contrition, regret and harsh self-judgement suddenly overtook me and I was moved to tears.


My friend just held the space and allowed this to unfold (which by the way is a wonderful skill to possess) as I received insight after insight. Even though part of me struggled against it, another part was blissful that I could allow it to take its place.


It brought to mind a story I was told about a leader of a spiritual movement who was having the letters of followers read out during a gathering. Most of the letters were tales of suffering and sorrow. They ask for guidance or blessings during these times.


Once they were all read, the leader placed them all one by one in a small fire beside her. Her repeated words while she did this was: “So much love. So much love.”




Not taking ‘yes’ for an answer

Things are not always what they appear. If we only nourish the superficial drama we will remain stuck in it. Perhaps most importantly, we will miss the playful, caring light and love that surrounds us while we are busy and determined to reinforce a lesser version of ourselves.


Conway, the principle character in the novel ‘Lost Horizon’ used to describe himself as: “…the kind of guy who doesn’t take ‘yes’ for an answer.” Sometimes we can be so identified with our pain and suffering that we refuse to listen to the soft siren call behind it reassuring that everything is and will be alright.


Conway later regrets the cynicism that led him to leave the paradise of Shangri la and spends the rest of the story desperately trying to find it again.



Beyond survival


The most intelligent and successful species on our planet exhibit characteristics way beyond mere survival skills. Higher brain animals like apes and dolphins show a sense of creativity, play and humour as well


They play tricks on each other, invent games, have sex for pleasure as well as procreation and show compassion to help or comfort each other – even those outside their species.


Their success on the planet is expressed not just by surviving but by being able to play with all the elements of their situation, even in the midst of survival pressures.



One important and oft overlooked sign of higher evolution may simply be the expression of love, joy and playfulness. Mastery of ourselves lies beyond our suffering. So why do we assign such gravitas to suffering?



 The suffering/wisdom myth


Often we are taught that wisdom and maturity are serious things; that they are the qualities of serious people and are demonstrated through a serious, humourless demeanor. Culturally, it is linked to the romanticised notion of suffering in order to gain wisdom.


Many a mythical or biblical tale elevates the suffering of its principle characters as somehow noble in an attempt to create a dubious link between suffering and wisdom.


But why should suffering be considered noble? On the contrary:


One could argue that repeated suffering is not wisdom at all but a form of stupidity.


Higher consciousness does not express as suffering but as joy. It shines with a twinkle in the eye, not tears. The greatest people, whatever their respective field of mastery, have always shown the ability to play – even with the notion of their own importance.



Healing the wound of being wounded


Rather than indulging in morbid and masochistic suffering, helplessness and hopelessness we would do better to see our true selves as beings of light and joy. From this perspective, we are never in any real danger.



While we may experience difficult situations, it is still us, as light beings, experiencing them. From this point we can stop being victimized by our life and begin to investigate it with playful curiosity as to what it is gracefully showing us. After all:


It is not what we experience that defines us but what we become through those experiences that truly matters.


It is this fundamental shift in understanding away from an identification as a wounded, flawed being and into playful curiosity and a love for Self and others that allows us to break the cycle of suffering and not only heal but express our highest, most evolved self.


Till another Monday, where we can laugh at the preposterous notion that Mondays have to mean any kind of suffering at all…



© Jeremy Halpin all rights reserved. All images are the author’s own unless otherwise indicated or if the original source is unknown at the time of writing. You can subscribe to this blog by clicking the button in the bottom right hand corner of the page – or share it on the social media of your choice. If you have any wishes or questions regarding subjects to be discussed on this blog use the contact information below. Jeremy is also available for seminars, lectures and personal consultation:

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