Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Suffering in the world

Seeing suffering in the world
I suffer

Tears for the victim
Anger and fear towards the aggressor

I close my eyes
In pain

When they open again
Something shifts

A question arises
Is the victim just a victim?

I look again
And the answer is no

The victim is much more
I touch her vastness

I feel her presence
I inhale her freedom

I had frozen her victimness
In my mind

Oh God!
I am the aggressor

In panic, I turn
Towards the aggressor

But he is gone too
With the victim

Into the vastness
The vastness of us all


J. said...


Josef said...

Hello Ameeta,

thank you for your beautiful writings, which i enjoy. But i dont´t understand your current writing although it would be very important for me to understand. My father is addictet to alcohol and drinks 20 bottles of beer every day. He is shouting and ranting every day. And two weeks ago my mother was told by the doctor, that she has cancer in an advanced state. I´m sorry for him and her. And i think that they must suffer very strong. But you don´t say that. It´s very hard for me to live with the suffering of them. I am suffering too because of their situation. It darkens everything else in my life. I would be very thankful if you could explain your writing. Because something in me feels that this writing could solve my problems also i did not unterstand it.

Warm regards

PS: Sorry for my bad English. I´m from germany and my english is awful.

Ameeta said...

Hello Josef,

Thanks so much for your kind sharing. Your English is great and I understand you perfectly.

I can only imagine what it must be like for you and your family at this time. I send you love and peace.

I am no expert on suffering, but I will try to explain what I see suffering as. And if that helps you, then I would be honored.

When we suffer, our human tendency is to contract around the suffering. We become very identified with our suffering and it grabs all our attention and focus. This is only natural. Yet the truth is that we are much more than our suffering. Is it not? We are the awareness that registers the suffering. We are that in which the suffering arises. Like every other experience, suffering too comes and goes, but we remain as the ever-present awareness.

So the invitation is to notice this awareness that we are. We don't have to negate or deny our suffering. We can simply notice what else is here. Ask yourself, even in the midst of the suffering, what else is here? We notice that the suffering is not the the whole of our reality. In this way we step back and take in the whole of our reality, instead of a narrow section of it. In this wider view there is relief.

When a loved one suffers, it is natural for us to suffer too. And we wish to help them and comfort them. We can be most in service when we are at peace ourselves, for we radiate what we are. So we can look beyond the suffering, first in ourselves and then automatically in the other. Looking beyond the suffering does not mean to avoid the suffering or even to hate it, but rather to be fully present to the moment and everything that it presents. Sometimes when we hear this, it feels like we have to do some big task, but it literally is only about noticing all that arises in this one moment. No force required, no effort required. Just let it happen. Quite simply, this awareness turns to face itself and we start to see who we are rather than what is happening to us.

Then when we open to that which is larger than our suffering, we open to that same big self in the loved one. And when we are with the loved one in this truth, they reconnect with the truth of themselves too. They drop into the awareness of that which is so much larger than their suffering. And not a word need be said in all of this! It all happens in vast silence.

Feel free to write me again if you'd like (you can email me directly). I wish you and your family the greatest joy and blessings.

Warm regards

Josef said...

Dear Ameeta,

thank you so much for your gentle deepgoing and detailed answer. And thank you that you have invested so much time for helping me.

Your words are so relaxing, so soft, so mmmmmmhhh, like a one week old baby-cat. They resonate with this space or silence in me very much.

You are right, if my attention turns back to the space i can feel an expansion in a more peaceful state. i´ll keep to and work with it and i will report you about my experiences.



linty said...

I don't really know if this poem by thich nhat hanh is the same as you're saying here but I sense-at some level at least-it is.

Do not say that I'll depart tomorrow

because even today I still arive.

Look deeply: I arrive in every second

to be a bud on a spring branch,

to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile,

learning to sing in my new nest,

to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,

to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arive, in order to laugh and to cry,

in order to fear and to hope.

The rhythm of my heart is the birth and

death of all that are alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river,
and I am the bird which, when spring comes, arrives in time
to eat the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily in the clear pond,
and I am also the grass-snake who, approaching in silence,
feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,
and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to

I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and

I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my
and I am the man who has to pay his "debt of blood" to, my
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.

My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all
walks of life.
My pain if like a river of tears, so full it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Ameeta said...

Dear Linty,

Thank you for this beautiful poem by TNH - it touches me deeply and really captures so lyrically what I was trying to say here...