Whenever we suffer we open our heart, because we want someone to help us. Thus we have the opportunity to find compassion. As with Buddha, Jesus, and many more… they all went through their own suffering and found great compassion to help others. How can a glutenous man have compassion for those who are hungry? When we have more than we need and are caught up on ego, how can we resonate with those who are hungry?
Ebenezer Scrooge in the Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a prime example of a man who materially had everything. But he was closed, he lost the most important aspect of himself a long time ago—His Heart. He shut down his heart when he lost the only girl he loved. Angry he shut out the world, shut down his heart, and decided to scorn the world and use anyone and anything to get ahead and make money. Finally he was given a second chance, to opened his eyes to all the suffering he was causing, plus his own suffering, thus he was reborn to help others. In this epic the Christ, the Buddha, and many more great stories of suffering are echoed that remind us to open our hearts… and see the suffering around us.
Personally at one time in my life I lived in a 6 foot by 9 foot room with no windows, no bathroom, no running water for one year. It was extremely difficult and one night I broke down and started crying. But then I yelled out “God I Will Not Give Up” and from that day forward I would not allow anything or anyone to bring me down. That moment also opened my heart, thus I started helping the blind, doing work for the Alliance on Aging, and more ways of helping those who were suffering. That was my Ebenezer Scrooge, my Christ, and my Buddha moment that changed everything including my heart. I might be crazy, but I would go back and do it all over again because it was worth it… I was reborn.
Many people have had moments of heartbreak and epiphany that changed them from the inside out. For most people these moments are a must, in order to pry open the armor of ego that we wear all the time. That armor protect us from feeling all the suffering that goes on around us 24/7 throughout the world. But once there is a chink in the armor of ego compassion like a can opener removes all the rest of the armor, and allows great heart felt feelings of love to filter into our heart and throughout the world.
Gandhi was another man who was pushed off a train for not being white. He saw the injustice of it all and that moment life changed forever for a barrister (Lawyer) who had no agenda of helping those who were suffering. A great moment of epiphany opened his heart and there was no going back. Thus compassion was born within the man who has become synonymous with the word compassion. The suffering of others opened his heart, and thus he became a champion for those who were less fortunate.
Thus Christ’s suffering in the desert, Buddha’s suffering with lack of food and water, Gandhi suffering with injustice, and many more have all had their epiphany that opened their heart to the great suffering on around them.
And suffering is a normal aspect of the world we live in. We have people who are homeless, starving, who live in harms way. And we watch all this on television, on our smartphones, and become desensitize to the whole process because it all seems so impersonal and far away.
Yet if any one of us were thrown into any number of terrible situation we too would cry out for help… and our heart would open. That is not something we wish for anyone to go through. But it’s very important for the growth of our soul and the expansion of our heart, that we DO go through such moments of growth. Even the great Avatars who we reviver with appreciation have gone through great moments of suffering… so how can be be any different? We too must go through our moments of great suffering thus opening our hearts to LOVE!
And there is no greater gift than the gift of Love… The Greatest Gift of ALL!
Dr. Paul Haider
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