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Turn Suffering Into Action

By Michael Michel

Sometimes I wonder how people in our world can do SUCH horrible things to each other.

I think, "Wow. That's horrible. I would never imagine doing that to someone else."

Then I wonder what their life has been like that's let them become this way and if I would do it the same if I were in their shoes.

I say, "They needed help--they needed love and support. Perhaps, they had horrible things done to them, too."

Then I think about the people I know--and the ones I don't. I imagine what wrongs they might be doing others, what small hurts or unkind words they are perpetuating around the world. The pain that travels with us until given to another unwilling victim.

I wonder at the amount of indifference society has for everyday kindness, the level of cynicism for doing something in the long run that might help others even when it causes the doer discomfort in the short term.

Then I come to this place...

"What am I doing for these people I care so much about? The strangers I want to see cared for? Am I supporting them and challenging them to be their best and make a difference?"

I wonder if through the resources I possess, the system I'm privileged to be in, the energy I have to apply, I could one day reach someone who is truly suffering, victim or aggressor-victim, and help them without knowing it.

Then, I could smile at how I showed up in the world. Just me smiling with me. No reward, no ego boost, no direct benefit, nothing but the knowledge of my own actions and the possibility and power they hold.

Sometimes I can say I absolutely do this, and other times, I know it's not the case.

From now on, when I do see that suffering and I have the impulse to hate those doing horrible things, or blame the stupidity or injustice of a system, or turn away and see no more so I can live a blind and happy life...

I won't make myself separate from it.

I'll embrace the hurt of it because no matter what, I'm not separate from it. No one is. The victim, the aggressor, the system, the inactive 'manifester' and the ignorant citizen--that's all of us.

So from here on, I'm going to interact with everyone as if a life might depend on it.

Chances are it does.

Brief metaphor so you might commit the above more deeply to awareness:

Think of suffering like a leaf departed from its tree. On one side we may see one color such as red, just as we may see the suffering and atrocity wrought by villains in the news. If we turn the leaf over, we may see a different color entirely, just as we may see the truth if we turn around what we're seeing in the news and approach it from the perspective of all parties involved.

One step further back, and we may look up to find a tree to which the leaf was once attached.

Another step back and we may see that the fallen leaf dissolves in time--much like suffering. The chemicals of the leaf are released into their elemental form, remaining in the soil thereafter to become nutrients that feed entire forests.

We are all connected, even those fallen leaves detached for a time from their source.

Leaf, tree, soil--this is our Forest. Not one aspect is separate. So if we hate the leaf, we must also blame the tree and the soil, the bird whose droppings contained the seed.

Instead of hate, bring love to action and you may see the growth you desire.


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