Transmute base metal into gold. Suffering into transformation; pain into power; and crisis into compassion. Become a true alchemist.
This blog is long. If you’re serious you’ll take the time. If that’s not now, then you’ll set it aside and make the time later. If you want a quick little read, then with all due respect, it’s probably not for you. True transformation and growth doesn’t come in neat quick packages (as we shall soon see).
We ended last week with a discussion of the archetypal demon (model) of fear. This week we take on one of the greatest demons of all; the one we abhor and do the best to avoid… the demon of suffering.
Some purveyors of personal and spiritual development just LOVE to quote the Buddha and his “Four Nobel Truths” when the topic of suffering arises. Buddha was an alchemist in the truest sense of the word, as was Jesus… although neither one of them ever used that term to our knowledge. Terms and labels do not the substance make.
In case you’re not familiar with the Four Nobel Truths of Buddha they state:
- Dukkha (pronounced doo-ka) exists
- Dukkha arises
- Dukkha ceases
- There is a way beyond dukkha
The Sanskrit word “dukkha” is most often translated as “suffering,” although in the most literal terms dukkha is a state of a wagon axel (hence also the wheel) being out of alignment; and therefore providing a rough ride.
My experience is that those who love to quote the Buddha have done slim to no real study of his teachings… and certainly not had the honor of studying closely with a high ranking Zen master (actually the highest ranking outside of Japan) as I’ve been extremely blessed to do.
“The cause of all suffering is from not seeing life clearly, exactly as it is.”
– Gautama Buddha (emphasis mine)
By the way, if you look up the definition of suffering you’ll find it defined as: “the state of undergoing pain, distress or hardship.” A bumpy wagon ride, particularly on a pothole filled road, can definitely provide some degree of discomfort and pain. Do you follow the metaphor?
The fact, is that if we’re going to address the rough ride of a warped axel (or a warped life expectation for that matter), we’re inevitably going to have to drive the wagon far enough to get it fixed. Are you with me?
Obviously during the ride, which may be short or extremely long, it will be uncomfortable. No amount of affirmation, visualization, smiley faces, or vision boards will make the bumpy ride smooth. The only way beyond it is to go through it.
In this way, (and this way only) there’s a way beyond dukkha (fourth Nobel Truth); and that’s either to:
1. Not drive at all. Hence not live, if the wagon and movement represent Life itself. Or…
2. Find a way to deal with and accept the rough ride until it ends which it will eventually.
Everything temporal (time bound),
whether we deem it good or bad, is temporary.
Please ponder that one.
The Buddha never said nor implied that you would not suffer. He only said there was a way to get beyond it. Neither did Jesus by the way; and truth be told they both suffered greatly.
If you reflect back upon the statement made by Jesus from the Book of Thomas (Alchemy 7) he actually stated that you will only find what you’re seeking when you are troubled. Not by the way when you’re sniffing roses and incense.
The fact is, that when you truly get on a path of continuous development, growth and expansion either personal or business, versus a path of fantasy (reference Life or Fantasy series), you’ll most probably suffer more! Yes you read that right. Trailblazing is a bumpy ride.
The greatest souls have always experienced the greatest suffering. Think me wrong? Read Mother Teresa’s memoire for starters if you don’t believe me. Study history. Study the Judeo-Christian tradition and the lives of ALL the prophets. There are no exceptions.
The greatest souls always experience the greatest suffering.
Furthermore, if you fancy yourself a business achiever and entrepreneur the same is true in this arena as well. Please remember, the principles we’re exploring are not just regarding your spiritual awakening, but also your physical and business achievement.
I worked on my last company for the better part of 20 years, 10 of those while taking absolutely no salary! Ten! I worked 7 days a week 10-14 hours per day. But in 2009 my team and I were blessed to be awarded the coveted Inc. 500 as one of the most successful and fastest growing privately held companies in the world.
By the way, I’m not the only one to suffer for my business and purpose. The billionaire Mark Cuban recently stated he went 10 years without a salary as he scrapped his way to the top. Gary Vaynerchuk frequently talks about sleeping 4 hours per night. Bill Gates went 6 years without a single day vacation while building Microsoft. Think about it. You want to talk about a bumpy ride? Let’s talk.
This wishy-washy God will prosper (reference Alchemy 5) you continuously while making life cushy is the biggest fallacy of all! To be a true champion you must learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. To be at peace while in in the middle of complete chaos! To embrace the bumpy ride; and be grateful for the adventure of life!
Do you think my life is easy now? Try rebuilding all over again from scratch after taking 20 years of hard work and 7 day weeks to get where you were; and then losing it all. Life is not meant to be easy… it’s meant to be meaningful.
Do you feel my conviction here? You should! With the best of intentions so many of the teachers are chasing their own fantasy and subsequently propagating it upon the masses.
To be a true teacher, entrepreneur, and life champion
you have to live! Really live!
Like Mother Teresa, Cuban, Gates and all the greats… you must suffer greatly and still be standing with the battle scars to prove it.
Just like that good muscle burn in the gym… you must come to learn to love the burn. To find joy in the pain—for you know what it’s giving you; where it’s taking you; and you’re committed to being your best and fulfilling your purpose and your capability. Please tell me you’re listening. Oh, please tell me you’re thinking.
Let me ask you, when has your life ever been cushy and perfect per your own personal definition of what it “should” be? When has it ever been all roses and no thorns—rainbows with no storms?
Not a popular sales tool I realize… but true transformation is extremely difficult. I’m not here to sell you popular. I’m not here to sell you anything actually—just to show you a door. The choice is yours. You have to walk through it.
Isn’t it true that in retrospect (if you’re really honest) that you’ve truly prospered (Alchemy 5) in your most difficult hours? In your darkest of nights? When there was much “suffering?” It’s not really about the rise… it’s about The Fall (reference The Fall).
Please don’t tell me that I can just release a few “limiting beliefs” with some newfangled mind technique and become an instant millionaire; or that I can do some energetic release work and life will be all roses; or that all you did was a vision board to get where you are; or that I can talk to some disembodied channeled entity that can give me the magic pill or secret sauce. Please!
Do I believe in some of these practices? Yes, there’s a time and a place; every piece of the puzzle contributes to the whole. But there’s no secret sauce or magic pill. None. Ever. Anywhere. Sorry to burst your bubble if you were living in one. But if you’re willing to graduate from stage one and move forward then let’s go.
If romantic illusions are what you want, then I can’t help you.
You’re still at stage one;
And let me just sincerely congratulate you for being at stage one, we all have to start there. All of us.
But if you’re ready for the truth. If you want to really live. If you want to talk to someone who won’t soft peddle some fantasy to you. If you want someone who has been there and done that; and has the scars to prove it; and who will always shoot you straight. Then I just might be your guy.
If you want someone who knows how to build a business as well as a life. Someone who will tell you straight up that you’re going to work your ass off; and love it; and sometimes hate it; and sometimes you’ll doubt yourself and your own sanity; sometimes curse the day you ever started walking your particular path; wish and pray and long for the day you were ignorant and romantic; and yet still learn to love every single minute of it; and you’ll savor the tough times because you know they’re making you a better human being…then maybe, just maybe I can help.
I’d love to. It’s my purpose.
Call me delusional, but I believe my purpose in this lifetime is to help take what’s been labeled the personal, business, and spiritual development arenas to the next level of awakening and awareness. I think the world is ready. I think you might be ready. I think it’s time. Actually past time.
I’ve had to pay a high price to stand in my current place. I’ve had to wrestle with my own ignorance, my own arrogance, my own fantasy and romanticism, as well as various other demons to be able to talk from a position of experience. Ultimately these demons have served me; and no one can tell me otherwise.
I’ve had to descend into the pit of my own personal hell; lose everything I held near and dear. There’s been a tremendous amount of suffering; and ultimately through this I found something buried within me that would have never been found otherwise. This is true alchemy and utilization my friend.
There’s potential salvation through suffering.
Again, no one can tell me otherwise. And until you’ve been there it will probably make no sense to you. When you have, then you know.
Let me ask you, are you willing to suffer for your own awakening, growth and advancement? To pay the price for your prize?
If yes, then welcome to being awake. I promise there’s beauty, joy, and true accomplishment in the awakening. Beyond description.
If you wish for a cushy life where there are no problems; and you can just visualize your fantasy into reality I do not judge you. I really don’t. If you want to “release limiting beliefs” and “negative energy,” learn the latest brain secret and technique, or move furniture around and burn incense until all things are perfect and easy street, I understand. If you want someone else to do the work for you or give you the magic pill. I get it. That’s stage one.
I was once there too; and I’m absolutely certain that Life will ultimately be your teacher. Life after all is the greatest teacher of all.
However… if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and do the work, to potentially march into hell if that’s what it takes to find heaven, to be committed to a life full of meaning and purpose no matter what the cost, for you know the cost of mediocrity is higher still… then you just might be in the right place at the right time. Let’s get busy. More to come…
Stay awake and Love Life,