All We Are Asked to Give-Up is Our Suffering

Posted by on December 23, 2015

Praise large

Sounds like something most of us might want to check out.

To give-up our suffering looks an awful lot like the opened amaryllis. It is fully bloomed and reveals itself in a vulnerable, transparent face towards the light. It also looks like these three faces: the old Zen monk who, although close to the end of his death, continues to plant chestnut tree seeds everyday; the old priest called out of retirement to work for a year in a place that struggles to survive and the old Buddhist nun who is asked to start a monastery for young women.

What do they have in common?

They have given-up their suffering and offer the best of their bloom in a vulnerable, transparent face knowing they will never see the rewards of their work. There is nothing in it to gain because there is no one there to claim the gain.

Christ in the Beatitudes tells the crowds the same message when he exclaims,

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of God…[1]

All we are asked to give up is our suffering by giving up and go without our desire to get what we want, to be a know-it-all and to claim ownership of just about everything.

To be able to give up our suffering we need to be poor in spirit. We need go without the clinging ego and face that reality is not under the control of our wants, our knowledge nor our claims of ownership. And in this reality we bloom and give wanting nothing, knowing nothing, and having nothing. It is in this emptied out of desire where we do our best. We no longer worry, clang, drift and wander in the material, restlessness of self-gain.

To ease our suffering we follow a path of renunciation continuously and we do it continuously. In other words, we starve the ego.

“But? …you say.

There are no excuses. As long as we make excuses we cling to our old familiar habits of wanting it our way, thinking we know what we know and that’s what we want and claiming ownership.

We practice giving up the ego’s natural tendency to be in charge, to be comfortable, to take the easy road, and to get the pleasures we want. We resist this tendency to be self-involved, self-absorbed and self-important. We go without the self and see what happens.

At first we may be disoriented, unanchored as well as fresh, bright and loosening our grip. We are not used to going without the self but it is all we are asked to go without to be poor in spirit. It’s not to fake it, not to pretend you are nobody, going nowhere…it is a dropping, starving, stopping the wanting, controlling, demanding self by resisting the tendencies to be self-absorbed, self-involved and self-important. It’s a practice of nothing in it for me.

This is the culmination of the path. It is not something the ego can conjure up. We surrender the self, go without it and take refuge in the Source. And we do this in the spirit of constancy.

Begin…it’s not too late.

 

 

[1] Matthew 5:3, Title is from Kennett Roshi

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