Recently I was confronted with a really challenging question. It was the good kind of challenge in that, it really made me think. Those are the good questions. The questions you don’t really know how to explain, even if you might understand the answer already. The most fascinating part of this question was that there were multiple explanations that were offered. The answers were all true to their Western upbringing: wide, gaping, and scary. How can this many people be this trapped in this mindset? I am not secretly judging all of them and deciding any of them are stupid, but my heart sinks when I consider the effect their answers reflect: a lifetime of sadness, projection, and? Well. Suffering.
The question was, “Why does God allow suffering?”
It was so difficult to articulate, and I decided that if I didn’t understand how to articulate why and how “he” doesn’t, it’s because I don’t have an explanation I understand well enough. After all, if you can’t explain something, you really just don’t understand its inner workings well enough to be able to chisel it down into manageable pieces for which one might be able to also understand it.
(I think that’s one of the things I love about writing so much, and why it has been so ridiculously therapeutic: I have to stop and think about what I’m thinking and what I’m feeling long enough to express it rationally. This is absurdly useful as a meditational tactic, FYI. Sometimes we have to emotionally separate long enough from our ideas in order to make sense of them. That’s also, oftentimes, when we see how nonsensical they can sometimes be. [Not that I could ever be nonsensical.] I digress.)
So, in my attempt to make sense of how I seem to understand that God does not play an active role in suffering, nor is it any of “his” business of whether or not we choose to suffer (I know, read that again.), I’ve written this.
If you have another perspective of it, please feel free to share, as I am open to other ideas.
Suffering is subjective. It is a matter of perspective. With this as the case, suffering is an indication of identifying with the mind, rather than being absorbed by the spirit (so to speak). Because God is not invasive, he will not intrude in our processes of understanding life.
God is the permeating factor of everything. This means that whether or not we are aware of God, God is aware of us. This awareness that is God, that is behind all of functioning, is passive in the sense that it does not boast, is not loud, does not make a scene, does not need to be the center of attention: this is why God goes unnoticed a lot of the time.
Because suffering is basically a symptom of living with layers of misunderstanding (“conditioning”), what no one seems to notice is that God is actually under those layers. It is, often, not until these layers (in desperation or hardship) are torn off, leaving a person raw and humble, before they are even able to see God simply because they are looking for the other side of their suffering.
To say, “God allows suffering,” seems accusatory and misunderstood when the context for suffering is misdiagnosed. God allows suffering in the same way that gravity allows glass plates to break. It is not a personal vendetta or even a refusal to step in; it does not function with discrimination. It doesn’t matter who drops the glass plate; it broke because someone or something dropped it and gravity behaved the way it always behaves: consistently.
Suffering is a response to an incorrect interpretation of one’s own experiences; it is the personal relationship one has with what they’ve experienced as a result of identifying with the mind.
Saying, “God allows suffering,” would mean, “God does not practice mind control in order for cooperation.” In that case, it’s a great thing that God doesn’t find suffering as something he ought to meddle in! When we understand that suffering is psychological (and optional), we can understand God’s relationship to it, or rather, his distinction from it.
If you have any questions about my perspective that you’d enjoy entertaining, feel free to ask me in a comment below and I will do my best to answer them.
I hope this perspective unties any knots that may have been tangled before you’d considered this explanation as a possibility. Aloha.
(For the record, if I’ve used a masculine pronoun when discussing “God”–a term I use reluctantly because of all the baggage typically attached to it but out of necessity so people will understand to whom/what I’m referring–it is not because I believe that pronoun is more accurate than a feminine pronoun. It is merely for the sake of ease on behalf of the readers who primarily understand “God” as a masculine model. I believe God is genderless. For more on my interpretation of this Universal All, please click here.)