There are two kinds of suffering. Suffering imposed on us by the outside and suffering created by ourselves. All we can do with suffering imposed by the outside is share it in the human family and show compassion, love and empathy for those who’ve been hurt. Suffering created by ourselves is referred to as neurotic suffering i.e. ‘inauthentic suffering’. At bottom, neurosis is a moral and ethical problem.
In other words symptoms like neurotic anxiety, depression, compulsions, ulcers, headaches etc. occur primarily because we try to manipulate others.
We do this in a variety of ways…i.e. blaming, withholding feelings and affection, using guilt to have others do our bidding, temper tantrums and primarily abusing power. The opposite of love is power, not hatred.
Any psychotherapy worth its salt addresses this problem and helps those who are willing to sort out the difference between who they want to appear to be and who they really are. Taking a genuine look in the mirror is an initiation. It’s a hard task, but the rewards are equally high, because depression, anxieties, somatic complaints, etc. slowly begin to drop by the wayside and we are free to live a much more meaningful and creative life, a life that is truly our own.
All human beings have a uniqueness that asks to be lived. We all have something precious to offer, something that exists in no one else. It goes along with the following acorn metaphor by Jung: With the right amount of water and sunshine, each acorn grows into a beautiful oak. If we take a look at the root and branch structure of each oak on the planet, we find no oak is exactly like another… so it is with the human soul. We all have an individual destiny and a calling, it is given; a gift from our guardians at birth. Many of us have been robbed of our true character and biography- that destiny written into the acorn- and go to therapy to recover it.
A calling may be postponed, avoided, or intermittently missed. It may also possess one completely. Eventually it wins out and makes its claim either in a soulful life, or if ignored, in meaninglessness, cynicism, hoarding, loneliness and alienation.
The dragon we must slay is no more that the monster of everyday expectations about how we “ought” to live our lives. If we realize this, we will be back in the world, but “no longer of it”. We will be able to interact with others without submitting to their definition of who we are supposed to be! This precious pearl that is one’s individual worth can only be found when we are willing to stand alone. By consciously choosing to pursue the inner journey, we transform impersonal fate into our own personal destiny.
Love to Mother Meera One for all and all for one
Peter Milhado © 2013