Pain and Suffering

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Summary: A collection of statements by the Tibetan.

     "A word about pain might be in place here, though I have naught of an abstruse nature to communicate anent the evolution of the human hierarchy through the medium of pain. The devas do not suffer pain as does mankind. Their rate of rhythm is steadier although in line with the Law. They learn through application to the work of building and through incorporation into the form of that which is built. They grow through appreciation of and joy in the forms built, and the work accomplished. The devas build and humanity breaks, and through the shattering of the forms man learns through discontent. Thus is acquiescence in the work of the greater Builders achieved. Pain is that upward struggle through matter which lands a man at the feet of the Logos; pain is the following of the line of the greatest resistance, and thereby reaching the summit of the mountain; pain is the smashing of the form and the reaching of the inner fire; pain is the cold of isolation which leads to the warmth of the central sun; pain is the burning in the furnace in order finally to know the coolness of the water of life; pain is the journeying into the far country, resulting in the welcome to the Father's Home; pain is the illusion of the Father's disowning, which drives the prodigal straight to the Father's heart; pain is the cross of utter loss, that renders back the riches of the eternal bounty; pain is the whip that drives the struggling builder to carry to utter perfection the building of the Temple.
     The uses of pain are many, and they lead the human soul out of darkness into light, out of bondage into liberation, out of agony into peace. That peace, that light and that liberation, with the ordered harmony of the cosmos, are for all the sons of men." (A Treatise on White Magic, p. 531/3), (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I, p. 676/7)

     "Only in the stress of circumstances can the full power of the soul be evoked. Such is the law." (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I, p. 181)

     "The difficulties and the trials which the disciple experiences upon the Way are, as you have discovered, only relative; they are oft offset by the pouring in of a sense of inner release. The compensations on the Way are not so often considered as are the difficulties. In the human being there is ever a tendency towards sorrow and suffering which has eventually to be negated; this tendency is one of the problems which the Hierarchy has to face, as it seeks strenuously, at this time, to lift mankind out of the morass in which it finds itself. This "tendency to misery", founded as it is on an attitude of mind, is of such ancient habit that it seems inconceivable to man that a different point of view and a totally different reaction to life affairs could ever be possible." (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I, p. 400)

     "(Difficult) times are growing times, and serve to train the disciple. The deeper the capacity for usefulness and the deeper the inner conservation, the more severe will oft be the disciplining. . . . Two planks of the raft on which the disciple eventually makes his escape, can be called service and patience. By a close attention to the needs of his fellow men, and by means of that uncomplaining endurance which is the hall mark of the disciple, he brings to an end the time of difficulty, and emerges thence freer, richer and more useful. There come times in the life of every true aspirant, when he simply continues to persevere, no matter how disinclined he may feel and no matter how acute may be the inner turmoil." (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I, p. 418/9)

     "One of the outstanding characteristics of the pledged disciple is that he learns to stand steady and unmoving, no matter what may be happening to him or around him. . . . There is appalling suffering everywhere. Physically and emotionally, people throughout the world are handling the maximum of pain. The accepted disciple, however, is suffering also mentally, and to this must be added his capacity to identify himself with the whole; his trained imagination also presents special difficulty, for he can include possibilities which others may not envisage, and his sweep and grasp of the Plan is presumably greater; he is also endeavouring to apply the knowledge of this Plan to the immediate environing situation, and is strenuously attempting to understand and at the same time to interpret to others, no matter what he may be undergoing in his own personal life." (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. II, p. 643/4)

     "(Realise) that, in the light of the eternal verities, all pain is but temporary, all trouble and struggle ephemeral, and that we have passed oft this way before upon the unhappy little planet of suffering which we call the Earth. We come to know that we shall not pass this way so oft again. . . .
     Just as there are days in a year which seem to stand out because of their darkness, and to be overcharged with blackness and agony, so there are lives which equally so stand out in a cycle of lives, because of the varied experiences which they convey, the bitter piling up of pain and distress, and the handling of an accumulation of unhappy and oft agonising karma. But, my brother, all lives are not like this, and the fact that your present life has been for years so hard is the guarantee that you have worked off much karma, that you stand infinitely freer, and are less handicapped. The fruits of all this suffering you will reap as you enter your next incarnation.
     So be of good cheer, and look forward and out towards a future of service and of joy, and this because you have endeavoured to live selflessly and to carry your load bravely, and because your life and deeds, and your entire career, have helped so many.
     I would remind you that pain, when it is lived out mentally for others is the worst kind of pain. This you know. But I would remind you that the capacity so to do and so to identify yourself with pain that is not specifically your own, is something that all disciples have to master, because it is one of the first steps towards shouldering world pain and the agony of the human family, thus becoming a participant in the "fellowship of Christ's sufferings" and a lifter of world burdens. We work and live on a planet of pain. Until a man is an initiate of high degree he cannot even begin to sense the reasons why this is so; he must perforce then take refuge in the trite platitudes, that suffering humanity has evolved to account for things as they are. None of these in any way approximate the true reasons, or give any real insight into the problem. Men must wait for understanding until they can no longer be hurt or limited by the pain of others. This follows when we have learnt to handle our own pain. Then, and only then, can they begin to lift the burden of humanity as a whole and do their responsibile share in lightening it.
     We come again here to those contradictory and beautiful words: Isolated Unity. When one is isolated from form attachments and when one is freed for identification with the life aspect, then one can know the true meaning of unity, then one is relased from pain and one is free to release others also." (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. II, p. 649/50)

     "The idea of the value of sorrow and of pain. In the process of teaching the race the necessary quality of detachment, in order that its desire and plans shall no longer be oriented to form living, the Guides of the race have emphasised the idea of the virtues of sorrow and the educational value of pain. These virtues are real, but the emphasis has been overdone by the lesser teachers of the race, so that the racial attitude today is one of sorrowful and fearful expectancy, and a feeble hope that some reward (in a desirable and usually material form, such as the heaven of the various world religions) may eventuate after death, and thus compensate for all that has been undergone during life. The races today are steeped in misery and an unhappy psychological acquiescence in sorrow and pain. The clear light of love must sweep away all this, and joy will be the keynote of the coming New Age." (Education in the New Age, p. 120)

     "The 'sharp shears of sorrow must separate the real from the unreal; the lash of pain must awaken the sleepy soul to exquisite life; the wrenching away of the roots of life from the soil of selfish desire must be undergone, and then the man stands free'. So runs the Old Commentary in one of its more mystical stanzas." (The Rays and the Initiations, p. 499)

"Great is the Mystery of Pain

     The word went forth to all the sons of men, the Sons of God: Learn through the struggle of earth life to choose the way that is better -- then the best. Evade not pain. Seek not the easiest way, which is not to be found. Tread then the Way which leads through sorrow, pain, and dire distress to that High Place from which you come -- the Place where God walks with the sons of men, who are the Sons of God. Before the august Presence, all pain shall disappear; sorrow shall fade away, and death shall triumph not. Beauty and goodness and the strength of God irradiate the face of men." (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. II, p. 767)