The Suffering - an Article

On this page I would like to describe something that is very difficult to accept. I do not have any proof to support my description, nor do I have any convincing argument that would support the claim. Because of that I decided to present my story in a form of painting. This page is going to be my canvas, and the words are my pigments. Please allow your imagination to complete the sketch that I am presenting here.

The story is about suffering. This is one of those difficult questions that many people find impossible to answer. Suffering always forces us to doubt the goodness of God.

Let me begin with a simple observation. The suffering is a common problem. In fact anyone is subject to it. You may have as much money as you like and you will not escape it. You may have as high social position as you like, and again the suffering will get you. It may happen through your personal problems (sickness, accident, or whatever), or through the problems brought to you by your family and friends. You will suffer, or maybe you already are, with them, grieving over common problems or tragedies.

A frequently encountered explanation provided to a broken soul is that, the reason for the sorrow is in our sins. This is also the official explanation. In most instances this is exactly what it is. Meaning, the suffering is either a form of punishment for the sins, or the suffering is an effect of a sin. Such explanation leads us to think that a saintly person who lives in accordance with the will of God, should not experience suffering.

History suggests otherwise. There are countless examples of persons who made every effort to become sinless, and even so, they experienced substantial suffering. The most prominent Biblical example is of course Job. Other examples may be taken from the Psalms, the lives of the Saints, or likewise. If the saintly people suffer, then the suffering is a common problem, and no-one is safe from it. So why would that be the case?.

An Invisible Cloud

In order to explain this complex problem I need to begin with a description of God. The simplest way of approaching the problem is by recalling the film all of us have seen. In that movie we were told that the Universe is filled with some form of a "Force", and that the "Force should be with us". This simple and elementary description allows us to find a starting point in this story.

Instead of the overused word "force" I would prefer to use word "cloud". Let the Universe be filled with that cloud and let us consider her properties.

First of all, I would postulate that the cloud is everywhere, filling the entire space. Secondly, the cloud is stationary and invisible. It is not material by nature nor in any of its aspects, making any physical interaction with it impossible. It extends through the matter and space, there is no physical barrier that would separate her from anything else. The cloud may be characterized to possess the following properties:

  • It is capable of logical thinking. It has two kinds of memory (one related to expectations, and the other to the past events). It is aware of itself and the external realities. It is conscious of responsibilities and  prohibitions. Moreover it may concentrate it's attention on any particular subject.

  • It may love, hope, be obedient, knows the truth, has faith and can be merciful, and even can expect future events so it may prophesy.

  • Moreover, the cloud may be emotionally moved by solidarity with others, is humble, can suffer due to a loss, and understands the notions of personal superiority.

  • The cloud experiences the notions of wisdom, unity, can be penitent, and is verbal.

  • To make thinks even more interesting the cloud can identify oneself by a well defined name and personality. It associates such identification with the concept of personal responsibility. It possesses tremendous powers, and even may procreate in a number of ways. The cloud may produce smaller clouds from oneself, in principle resembling an act of child bearing.

One may be tempted to call the cloud a "person" (he? she? it?), apart from the fact that the cloud is purely spiritual. She does not maintain any physical or material component within oneself at all. If she procreates, then the fruit of such procreation is also devoid of any physical component. If she interacts, the interaction is naturally bound to the sphere of her own nature. Meaning, she interacts with another purely spiritual entities. To interact with physical matter she needs to behave in an unnatural manner, and use the powers accessible to her. Moreover, her interests are concentrated on the likewise spiritual qualities and not on the material elements of the Universe nor on the spiritual qualities not present within her own structure. Therefore, for example, if someone else displays the spiritual notion of hate, and this quality is not present within the cloud, she would not be interested in associating with such notion.

A Physicist

Now, let us make a digression and talk about Physics for a moment. Physicists love to talk about energy. They have a form of energy defined for every type of phenomenon. Potential energy, kinetic energy, binding energy, release energy, chemical energy.... Imagine anything whatsoever, and there is going to be some sort of special energy associated with it. When it comes to some exotic phenomenon those energies have some strange properties. Especially when you look very closely at them.

For example, put an object into a box and then the energies the object may attain would be discrete (meaning: you may count them as: first energy, second energy etc). Moreover, the lowest energy of such an object would not be zero. This is because of the confinement. Put a pencil in a box and instead of resting at the bottom of the box it is going to levitate some distance above it. (In the case of such pencil it would be 10-10 meters, meaning you will not be able to see it due to its smallness but the physicists would measure it nevertheless). Drop the same pencil on a floor in some open hall and it is going to stick to the floor. (Surely it is not true about the pencil, but it is true about a singular atom, or some small particle).

The above point is that a confined object while resting would not be at the zero energy. The lowest energy is always above zero. You may say that a confined object could not disappear. Dropping to zero energy is like dying (or vanishing). Hovering at some positive energy is like resting but staying alive.

A simpler example could be taken from an ordinary guitar. The lowest possible sound that a string can make is when the player does not press any frets while the fingers pluck the string. In that case the sound is determined by the total length of the string. In other words you may not play any lower note than the total length of the string allows you. The physical constraint introduced by the length of the guitar makes the lowest energy (sound) non zero.

Now let us return to that cloud again. The cloud is without any mass, so it may have properties resembling that of light (light has no mass). If light is confined to some finite space then it will form something called 'a standing wave'. It would drop to some low energy and stay like that for ever. Now what happens to our cloud is similar. It is eternal because of some confinement. What restricts it are it's bones.

A person without bones would be like a jellyfish. Such person would be spread over the floor. (Not a nice picture). The bones give us our shape and allow for standing erect. Similarly, the cloud contains something that resembles bones. Those things are non-flexible, resulting in restriction of movement, but on the other hand providing support and external shape. Those things are called 'laws'.

A human person may have 190 or so bones in his or her body. Imagine that this actually vary from person to person. If you also count the teeth then you may come with some 250 or so. I would suspect the cloud to have a similar amount of bones (or laws) within it's structure. These laws could be like "do not kill" or "do not steal". A law is inflexible and restricts movement. You may do whatever you like but you may not be able to flex you bone. If a law is one of your bones then you would not be able to break it even if you wanted to. If you do you would suffer greatly.

Those laws (or bones if you like) are an internal part of the cloud. It means that they are not externally imposed, but rather are its natural part. Because of them the cloud is restricted in her movements. On the one hand it may seem to be a problem (inflexibility), however, on the other hand such a restriction results in a non zero rest energy. This translates to the eternal existence.

Now try to imagine something else. People for whatever reason, living separated from the cloud. They have physical bones but they do not have spiritual ones. If the government imposes some laws on the society, then such an action is external by its very nature. It does not create bones within your spiritual being. It only puts you in a box provided by others. As long as the box is there you seem to be fine and law abiding. Remove the box and you are going to splatter on the floor like the jellyfish. That means that when you die and your soul is released from your physical body, you will be like that jellyfish. That is your lowest energy is going to be zero.

So, what is the solution to the above problem. The answer is in the action performed by the cloud. It brings a person to the state of eternity by incorporating that soul into its own structure. In order to do that the cloud has to consume the soul in some form, either through consumption, or through drinking it like some liquid or lastly by inhaling it like some smoke. Whatever the method the soul of the person becomes incorporated within the cloud and there lives forever. This process of incorporation brings suffering. I would like to look at it in some more detail. To do that let us move to a kitchen and see what happens there.

A Kitchen

There is a kitchen, and there is a cook. He is going to prepare some food for himself. In order to do that, he is going to perform some actions with his bare hands, and some other ones with the tools belonging to that place.

Firstly, he is going to examine the produce he brought from the market. He's got a bag filled with fruits, vegetables, meat, maybe some eggs etc. He uses his hands to examine each of them while taking them out of the bag and placing on the kitchen bench. Some of the items he clearly accepts as good purchases. Some seem to be out of place. For example, for some reason someone had placed a stone and an oak tree acorn in the bag. Those items are either not eatable or he does not use them in his kitchen. He throws them away.

The other problem is that some of the fruits and veggies are rotten on the inside. This is the biggest problem of all cooking preparation, as the rot may not be visible on the outside and only manifest itself when the fruit is peeled or cut. Moreover, the rot is contagious and may spread to other fruits and veggies, if they are stored together. He washes all the fruits and vegetables making sure that any external dirt is removed from them. He does this using his hands.

The cooks' hands are in contact with the food only in some situations. This happens when

  • the items are removed from the bag and judged in accordance with their suitability and quality

  • the foodstuffs are washed under the running water

  • and, in some special situations like for example when kneading the bread dough

In all other stages of cooking some form of a tool is being used by the cook. Therefore in his kitchen he collected all sorts of peeling utensils, knives, forks and spoons, blenders and what have you. Thus, he takes an apple, washes it carefully under the running water, uses a peeler to remove the skin and then quarters it with a knife. That apple is to be a part of some fruit salad.

So what do I try to describe here? I am trying to imagine the cloud preparing a soul for consumption. He will perform some of that preparation himself, like washing or kneading. However, he will also use some of his cloud related tools to chop and slice, blend and process. It would be beneficial to see an example of the above process. The best one that I can come up with is taken from the book of Job.

The Book of Job

The story begins with an invitation to food preparation. The soul of Job is seen by the cloud as suitable for consumption. The cloud has even a specific dish on his mind when initiating the preparatory steps. The dish is to be meat related, but not an ordinary one. Due to the fact that the soul of Job is seen as being of prime quality, he is to be eaten raw. That is the meat is not going to be cooked (do not kill him).

The first step is to remove any trace of fat from the meat. If any fat is left behind the dish would be impossible to swallow.

Job 1.8-12
And the Lord said to Satan, "Have you noticed my servant Job, and that there is no one on earth like him, blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil?" But Satan answered the Lord and said, "Is it for nothing that Job is God-fearing? Have you not surrounded him and his family and all that he has with your protection? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his livestock are spread over the land. But now put forth your hand and touch anything that he has, and surely he will blaspheme you to your face. And the Lord said to Satan. "Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand upon his person." So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.

The implementation of the above statement was a total disaster to Job. He lost all of his possessions, and also lost all of his children. His comment after the fact was as follows:

Job 1.21
Naked I came forth from my mother's womb, and naked shall I go back again. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!"

Thus, all the fat has been removed from the soul of Job. He is still showing the signs of choicest part therefore the next step is initiated. This one is to mince the meat. When preparing this particular dish one needs to finely mince the meat. You do it with a meat mincer or pulverizer.

Job 2.4-10
And Satan answered the Lord and said, "Skin for skin!" All that a man has will be given for his life. But now put forth your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and surely he will blaspheme you to your face.." And the Lord said to Satan, "He is in your power; only spare his life." So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord and smote Job with severe boils from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. And he took a potsherd to scrape himself, as he sat among the ashes. Then his wife said to him, "Are you still holding to your innocence? Curse God and die." But he said to her, "Are even you going to speak as senseless women do? We accept good things from God; and should we not accept evil?" Through all this, Job said nothing sinful.

When the removal of fat from his soul was an act, the mincing is a process. It takes time and effort to crash anything that is hard within his soul into  pulp.

Now, while the meat has been minced, the spices and other additives are being added to the dish. In this case some salt, pepper, finely chopped onion and cucumber are added. The meat is formed into a doughnut like shape and a raw egg is broken into the center of it. All of these additives are represented by the friends of Job who come to him to sprinkle him with their comments and advises. The effect of this is the spicing of Job's soul.

You may like to read all those forty chapters describing the spicing of Job's soul. At the end, when the dish is ready, the Lord in person comes to Job. They have a little chat, which could be summarized as follows: (my words)

Job: My God! Am I not faithful to you? Don't I always walk in your ways? Why did you treat me like this?
The Lord: Dear Job, what do you think you know? Look at yourself, you are just a burger!

These words of Job could be taken as a complement to him. What they mean is that the dish was a success, and a very tasty one indeed.

There is a dish like that. It is called "Tartar Stake". To prepare it you need to select the best cut of sirloin beef. Then, you trim off any fat from the meat, mince it thoroughly, and add the spices listed above (including the raw egg in the centre). You eat it uncooked with white bread. In fact it needs to be very spicy to be eatable, therefore one sprinkles it with reasonably large amount of pepper.

The Moral Dilemma

What I am trying to show is an image. An invisible cloud passing through all the Universe and through all the physical matter. That cloud is of spiritual nature, therefore it's main interest is in the spiritual elements of persons (souls) and not in the material reality. The cloud is constrained by internal restrictions, making it eternal. In order to provide this eternity to others it consumes them, and incorporates those souls within its own structure. It only consumes those who seem to be suitable for consumption, and the process by itself is perceived by those souls as suffering.

If this is the case, then, anyone who wants to live forever should seek suffering! Not at all. There is a marked difference between a foodstuff and an utensil. One eats foodstuffs, and one uses utensils to prepare them. Never the other way around. If you seek suffering you become an utensil. A person causing suffering is not a foodstuff but an utensil. You are either an apple or an apple peeler. If you seek suffering you became an apple peeler, an utensil, which is used for the purpose of food preparation. When used up or broken, it is thrown to the rubbish bin. Nobody eats kitchen utensils, they do not live forever. Therefore, if you seek suffering or if you cause it in others, you act as an utensil. If you are on the receiving end then you are a foodstuff.

Can I run away from that problem? Can I plead with the cloud or maybe hide somewhere and not be subject to suffering? As mentioned at the beginning of this article, it does not seem to be possible. At the same time one should not search for suffering. Therefore, if one is sick one should seek assistance of a physician. Go to a doctor and accept his or her advise. Take the medicine, if it is available. Never seek suffering, but it will find you anyway.

I you can believe in the above you have a lot of faith.