Sadness and emotional pain have always seemed to be synonymous with being human. From the moment of our first loss to our last, human lives seem to be filled with pain and sorrow. Our literature, theater, music and belief systems incessantly reinforce the integral place sadness, pain and anguish hold in our existence. We have only hoped that the scales that measure joy and sadness weigh heavier on the side of joy in our lives and that anguish is held at bay as long as possible.
We have been offered a thousand ways to deal with sadness and pain; from accepting them as an inevitable part of life, to keeping one’s mind constantly occupied with pleasant thoughts, ignoring anything that hurts. Science has created potions that promise the end of pain and religion offers compassion and explanations that serve to help us through the sorrow. But when does it end, and can it? Is it possible to live a life without sadness? Are pain and anguish inevitable consequences of being human? Is there a way to rid yourself of pain? Is it possible for you to be happy all the time?
Yes, there can be an end to sadness. It is possible to live a life free of anguish and sorrow. It is possible to be happy all of the time if that is what you wish. It is not necessarily true that because there has been pain in your life and in the world until this day that it must continue. Let go of the notion that sorrow is an inevitable part of life. That is only a belief, not a fact. Sorrow and pain need not be an integral part of your personality and your life.
The shadows tell you that without sorrow you would be cold and uncaring. This is the first lie. Those same shadows may also tell you that without suffering you would not be able to experience the fullness of life.
Let’s deal with the first lie. The Soul that you are has no sadness or pain in it. It is pure Love and Joy, Peace and Compassion. When you are in sadness or anguish are you able to be compassionate towards others – or are you focused instead on yourself and your own problems? When are you most caring and generous – when you are in pain or when you are filled with love?
Sorrow will distract you from being as caring, compassionate and loving a person as you really are. If you dissolve all sorrow you will be more compassionate and understanding towards those who are suffering, for you are an embodiment of God’s infinite compassion and understanding. This perspective will give you the wisdom and clarity to know what you can do to ease the suffering of others and the motivation to do so.
Sorrow will also not allow you to have the clarity or understanding you need in your own situations. For instance, if someone close to you dies the sadness you feel will not allow you to sense the continuing presence of that person. This in turn will cause you to feel the sense of loss even more which will then bring on more sadness. If you dissolve the anguish of loss you will then be able to sense the presence of that ‘deceased’ loved one and realize that they are still with you and that they are fine.
The second lie attempts to convince you that you are missing out on something important if you miss out on suffering. It is based on the misnomer that you are a human being having periodic spiritual experiences rather than a Spirit having intermittent human experiences. In truth, sadness and pain distract you from experiencing the fullness of life as well as your Real Self.
It is true that living without suffering takes a great leap of faith. It also requires discipline and vigilance or mindfulness. It is probably best to think of this as an experiment. So if someone tries to argue you out of being happy all the time just tell them they you are undertaking an experiment. That way you do not discount their beliefs and they will have nothing left to argue with you about.
The 14 practices given at the end of the book will teach you how to use sadness and pain and then how to dissolve these shadows. There are also practices here that will help you keep pain and sadness from ever distracting you again.
Again, ask yourself;
If there is no sadness or pain in who I am, then who am I?