If you read "Into the Cauldron", you will recognize this as my latest post there. I thought I'd share it here, as well.
I was meditating last week in the new silence of my house, and had an interesting experience that I'm sharing here. For several reasons, I find it fascinating: first, the images I received were unusually stylized, rather than the more typical realism; second, the image was from outside my belief system, and the message was strangely layered.
Before me, wearing a grotesque crown of thorns, was a Christ figure. He appeared, not as I typically imagine him, a thin man of obvious Jewish heritage, but in the white washed Euro-American way in which he is depicted in many art pieces. His skin was waxy pale, bruised and glowing in a strange, mottled fashion. His hair was light brown, styled in neat waves, and his eyes were blue. Beads of blood dribbled down his face and stained the thorn crown. His body was cut, bruised and obviously tortured, but not emaciated. He also never looked at me, and his eyes stayed fixed heavenward. Other than this figure, there was nothing else; no cross, no background, no other people, just darkness.
He spoke to me, and delivered a startling, yet easily understood message: "They glorify and love my suffering, not as a gift to them, but as tool by which they cover the suffering they cause." Startled, I woke up, full of questions and very uncomfortable.
I am uncertain about whether that message begins within me alone, or if it is the Universe telling me something I need to know. Regardless, it highlights a particular lesson about suffering. Some people glorify suffering as a spiritual tool. They believe it to be the crucible in which we can become more than what we are. While it is true that some people find the best of themselves when faced with terrible situations, there are many others who find that suffering perverts and twists people into monsters who cause suffering. We should be careful about causing suffering, especially if we use that cruelty as a way to discipline others to behave the way we wish them to, for our own purposes.
Moments of suffering can be moments in which we find strength, beauty and wisdom we had not previously acknowledged, but we should not knowingly cause suffering to change others. When we acknowledge the suffering that we have experienced, we must confront whether we accept that suffering as something to glorify or as a misfortune that we do not wish on others.Suffering cannot be totally avoided in life, because life must be embraced, pain and all, but suffering should never be encouraged or glorified as a way to create strong, beautiful souls.