Monday, April 14, 2008


Pain is a hard thing to talk about but somehow I'm feeling the need to do so. I've been discussing it more privately with friends -- my pain, their pain, the pain of all the beings in our difficult world, and of the earth herself. A few nights ago we discussed the notion that the pain might be released and that suffering might end. I wondered how to express it. I didn't want language that sounded like "pie-in-the-sky." The next morning a YouTube link to Oprah (of all sites) caught my attention because it had appeared surprisingly in the stream of my own videos. I had to check it out.

I was impressed because I had never really considered the notion of an energetic global pain body or what it would be like to take it on or, even more, what it might be like to be able to somehow become detached in the experience, to become free of all the karma of pain and suffering. And then the archetypal image of Christ on the Cross came into my imagination.

Christ - Pain Body

In truth, I was doubly surprised, because this is not a symbol that I could ever relate to, not having had a Christian up-bringing and even nowadays there is much that I don't understand. Indeed, the crucifixion symbol had baffled me -- I would think, "why would any one or any religion want to celebrate suffering like this?" And now an answer appeared -- not an institutional answer of a church or an organized religion but an answer that comes from within.

Somehow my understanding expanded to realize that suffering is not being celebrated. It is Christ's passion to transcend the pain body, to become free once and for all and, by example, to free everyone else as well that is being celebrated. I believe that Eckhart Tolle is correct in saying that everyone can release from the pain body and I feel grateful that he is one of many teachers who is now guiding folks in contemporary methods for doing it. But more than this I value this new understanding of the suffering of Christ.

And then yesterday another friend shared a story. It was set in Baghdad during the 11th Century when there was chaos and confusion and killing in the streets. On a particularly bloody day in the town square there was an old woman just standing simply and calmly in the midst of it all. She was holding a bowl of water in one hand and a torch in the other. When asked what they were for, she answered, "the water is to put out the fires of Hell and the torch is to burn down Heaven." Religious wars are among the most horrible things that occur on earth.

Letting go of mental constructs is the challenge. I know that there are "official theologies" that have distorted beautiful religious ideas for purposes of power and privilege and to promote thoughts of shame and guilt and control. But there are lots of "minority traditions" -- inner paths and folk religions -- that have emerged outside of the formal institutions, especially in a country as spirit-friendly as Brazil. There are sacred technologies for moving beyond the places where we get stuck, for finding out who we really are and for making a discipline of awareness.

I feel fortunate to be a guest in a country that is not merely tolerant of religion but welcoming to spirituality of all kinds. And I feel especially grateful to have been led to the path of a great teacher.

Mestre Irineu


Danilo said...

I was with Lou the day the other friend told that story, on the way to Reino do Sol (Sum Kingdom). On that day I learned a lot with Lou and all the thoughs we shared from 8am till 9pm. Thank you very much. Danilo

Lou Gold said...

Yes, the Kingdom of Sun is like that -- lots of learning from one another. Thanks to Carlos for the story and to Turd who came from far away.