Life experiences represent interaction with "God"

Joe

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Those familiar with the Cs sessions will probably have recongized that title. It comes from this comment:

'Life is religion. Life experiences reflect how one interacts with God. Those who are asleep are those of little faith in terms of their interaction with the creation. Some people think that the world exists for them to overcome or ignore or shut out. For those individuals, the world will cease. They will become exactly what they give to life. They will become merely a dream in the 'past.' People who pay strict attention to objective reality right and left, become the reality of the 'Future.' -- Cassiopaeans, 09-28-02
I've read it many times, and seen it quoted even more. But today was the first time I really thought about that second sentence:

"Life experiences reflect how one interacts with God."

It made me wonder what a life with a good amount of suffering (of the unconscious and conscious variety) represents in terms of interaction with "God". Does it mean that the person is willing to suffer to know "god" aka objective reality/the totality of all that exists? Probably most people, with the idea of a benevolent deity, would think that if you have a good interaction with "god" you wouldn't suffer that much!
 

Alejo

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Joe said:
Those familiar with the Cs sessions will probably have recongized that title. It comes from this comment:

'Life is religion. Life experiences reflect how one interacts with God. Those who are asleep are those of little faith in terms of their interaction with the creation. Some people think that the world exists for them to overcome or ignore or shut out. For those individuals, the world will cease. They will become exactly what they give to life. They will become merely a dream in the 'past.' People who pay strict attention to objective reality right and left, become the reality of the 'Future.' -- Cassiopaeans, 09-28-02
I've read it many times, and seen it quoted even more. But today was the first time I really thought about that second sentence:

"Life experiences reflect how one interacts with God."

It made me wonder what a life with a good amount of suffering (of the unconscious and conscious variety) represents in terms of interaction with "God". Does it mean that the person is willing to suffer to know "god" aka objective reality/the totality of all that exists? Probably most people, with the idea of a benevolent deity, would think that if you have a good interaction with "god" you wouldn't suffer that much!
Probably those people are in fact looking at the universe and choosing what God is, calling the rest the devil, and sometimes people suffer because of their refusal to know God or to accept reality as it is. So what I'm trying to say is that IMHO suffering is always related to interacting with God, only some of the time is because of the willingness to know him objectively and some other times is due to the refusal to do the same.

It makes me think of what G said at some point about suffering (paraphrasing) there is suffering and you will not be able to avoid suffering, but the key is that you can choose that suffering, and by choosing your suffering you begging to build a body inside that will align you with truth. Taking that further maybe truth is knowing God, lies would be refusing to know God, either way you suffer, but it's of a different quality.

Just my two cents.
 

obyvatel

The Living Force
Coincidence that just before checking the forum and reading this thread, I was thinking how I often visit "heaven" and "hell", sometimes in short succession of one another. These visits relate to life experiences and my processing and reaction to these experiences. Also reminded me of this particular extract from Peter Levine's book "In An Unspoken Voice"

A young brash samurai swordsman confronted a venerated Zen master with the following demand: "I want you to tell me the truth about the existence of heaven and hell".

The master replied gently and with delicate curiosity , " How is it that such an ugly and untalented man as you can become a samurai?"

Immediately, the wrathful young samurai pulled out his sword and raised it above his head, ready to strike the old man and cut him in half.

Without fear and in complete calm, the Zen master gazed upwards and spoke softly : "This is hell".

The samurai paused, sword held above his head. His arms fell like leaves to his side, while his face softened from its angry glare. He quietly reflected. Placing his sword back into its sheath, he bowed to the teacher in reverence.

"And this,", the master replied again with equal calm, "is heaven".
This description though can be somewhat one-sided and suggest only pleasurable emotions are desirable. The Zen view however is to take both "heaven "and "hell" as they come, give both their due while treating them as experiences that pass.
 

PhoenixToEmber

Jedi Council Member
Reminds me of the quote in Laura's signature:

He who learns must suffer
And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget
Falls drop by drop upon the heart,
And in our own despair, against our will,
Comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.
Agamemnon, Aeschylus
Gurdjieff also made a distinction between the suffering we are unwilling to let go of and the conscience suffering required to stop pandering to our desires and fantasies in order to stoke our Inner Fire and transform ourselves:

"Another thing that people must sacrifice is their suffering. It is very difficult also to sacrifice one's suffering. A man will renounce any pleasures you like but he will not give up his suffering. Man is made in such a way that he is never so much attached to anything as he is to his suffering. And it is necessary to be free from suffering. No one who is not free from suffering, who has not sacrificed his suffering, can work. Later on a great deal must be said about suffering. Nothing can be attained without suffering but at the same time one must begin by sacrificing suffering. Now, decipher what this means."
I just started reading "Personality-Shaping through Positive Disintegration" which is the book that will be discussed at an up-coming FOTCM meeting, and in the introduction the process of "positive disintegration" is described as being initiated through feelings of guilt, regret, depression, and sadness, which typically have to do with seeing our rash behaviors and not living up to our own mortal standards of what we really want to be - the moral standards of our true selves and our community (given that our community is a healthy one to live up to). When this guilt and depression holds us back and incapacitates us, when we flee into drugs, thoughts of suicide, and other forms of dissociation, that's our unwillingness to sacrifice our suffering - of being addicted to it. We wallow in it. But when those feelings enable us to take action, to seek therapy, to make an effort to change things about ourselves and reconstruct our personality anew, it is positive disintegration - it is suffering that is conducive to growth.
 

Oxajil

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Joe said:
It made me wonder what a life with a good amount of suffering (of the unconscious and conscious variety) represents in terms of interaction with "God". Does it mean that the person is willing to suffer to know "god" aka objective reality/the totality of all that exists? Probably most people, with the idea of a benevolent deity, would think that if you have a good interaction with "god" you wouldn't suffer that much!
I'm reminded of this quote by al-Arabi:

He who knows himself knows his Lord. This Lord is not the impersonal self, nor is it the God of dogmatic definitions, self-subsisting without relation to me, without being experienced by me. He is the he who knows himself through myself, that is, in the knowledge that I have of him, because it is the knowledge that he has of me. . .

- Ibn al-'Arabi (1165 - 1240)
And knowledge and awareness of the self should go hand in hand with knowledge and awareness of reality around us; the environment we're in (home, work, etc.), the state of the world, and some awareness of possible densities beyond this one. And this unraveling most likely would bring about suffering, facing our programs and mistakes, facing the pain that others go through, witnessing needless destruction, knowing that we might not be on top of the food chain! etc. And I think it's through this suffering we learn to know the different 'Names of God'.

But the more we know, the more we can act on what we know; learning to deal with our programs therefore being able to navigate through life better; finding ways to expose evil powers in the world; supporting those going through hardships and so forth. So maybe by knowing ourselves and creation through suffering, we can actually be proactive and creative, and possibly make positive changes in ourselves, others, and reality one way or another. I guess being 'active' in this way, can be one way of interacting with "God".

I would say yes to your question. I think those who have an idea of a benevolent deity, sweep suffering under the rug by saying it's "God's will". Life is automatic, and whatever happens is how God decided it to be. At least some of them think: We don't play much part in any of it, our mission is to make the ignorant aware of heaven and hell! There's much focus on life after death, while the current life is ignored.

I think that if someone has a good interaction with "God", he or she is inspired to know it, while having faith that "God" "is there for him" in times of needing guidance whether it's in the way of a billboard or opportunities arising, but it's a two-way street. I really like this quote by Laura, which I think might be related:

"When you learn the steps, the universe takes you dancing. Sometimes it's a crazy jitterbug, other times, it's a waltz, but it's never boring."

FWIW!
 

PhoenixToEmber

Jedi Council Member
Oxajil said:
And knowledge and awareness of the self should go hand in hand with knowledge and awareness of reality around us; the environment we're in (home, work, etc.), the state of the world, and some awareness of possible densities beyond this one. And this unraveling most likely would bring about suffering, facing our programs and mistakes, facing the pain that others go through, witnessing needless destruction, knowing that we might not be on top of the food chain! etc. And I think it's through this suffering we learn to know the different 'Names of God'.

But the more we know, the more we can act on what we know; learning to deal with our programs therefore being able to navigate through life better; finding ways to expose evil powers in the world; supporting those going through hardships and so forth. So maybe by knowing ourselves and creation through suffering, we can actually be proactive and creative, and possibly make positive changes in ourselves, others, and reality one way or another. I guess being 'active' in this way, can be one way of interacting with "God".
I recently finished reading Wave 8 (Debugging the Universe) and Laura quoted Ibn al-'Arabi at the end, who wrote that God said "I was a Hidden Treasure, and I Loved to be known..." Love is knowledge. To seek knowledge (about ourselves, our world, and the whole Cosmos) is to know and love God, because all knowledge is knowledge of God.
 

luc

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Joe said:
It made me wonder what a life with a good amount of suffering (of the unconscious and conscious variety) represents in terms of interaction with "God". Does it mean that the person is willing to suffer to know "god" aka objective reality/the totality of all that exists? Probably most people, with the idea of a benevolent deity, would think that if you have a good interaction with "god" you wouldn't suffer that much!
I think one way to look at it is that at the end, we are faced with suffering so that we can overcome it. I mean, I don't believe that "god"/the universe lets us suffer simply because it likes to see us suffering. It must end somewhere! So in this sense, suffering is not something "good" or bad per se, but a means to an end.

BUT, faced with suffering, we basically have two choices to "overcome" it: we can shut the world out, pretend there is no suffering, dissociate etc., OR we can acknowledge the suffering in ourselves and the world, truly feel it, and are then propelled to action. That way, we can "overcome" it too, but in a positive way: we are forced to Do something, so that "in our own despair, against our will, Comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God."

These two choices may be a reflection of the "top level" of the ray of creation, i.e. being vs. non-being. Both are "faces of god", one creates suffering, and one teaches us to use this suffering to grow. Together, they provide the "awful grace of God".

So in practical terms, for example, we suffer by witnessing the horrors of the world, and force ourselves to notice and to get in touch with our conscience. Then we start doing something, like working on ourselves, putting our time in worthwhile projects etc. And by doing so, we overcome this suffering, in the sense that we transform it into something positive, which also gives us a certain satisfaction which can balance the suffering.

I guess another example of overcoming suffering of the internal/unconscious kind would be to stop suffering from challenges, but embracing them - basically changing our angle from which we look at a situation. For example, I was terrified of posting stuff on facebook (suffering), but I forced myself to do it anyway. After a certain period of suffering from anxiety while doing so, it got easier, new pathways were formed. Now I still don't like it much, but sometimes I even have fun doing it - so I've overcome this specific suffering :cool2: That's the theory anyway :D

I could be wrong though. FWIW
 

truth seeker

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Interesting topic.

I also think there's no 'good' or 'bad' suffering, but rather suffering that serves the self or suffering that serves others. When we can objectively love God and all that, that entails, maybe it's because we have made the choice to See it as it is. When we choose to suffer for ourselves, we are blinded to everything else and thus, can't discern it's value.

Perhaps to really see God in all it's facets is to acknowledge it, know it's true worth and at that point, be able to give it, it's due.
 

Approaching Infinity

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I think it largely depends on one's conception of God. But here's a parable that I think reflects how I see it at this time in my life:

~
A man is in a prison. He is in a damp, cold cell, chained to the wall. The guards beat him daily. He has two choices. He can either accept his lot in life, or plan his escape. He chooses freedom. He observes, prepares, and endures the routine of suffering knowing that it is necessary to achieve his aim. He can't give himself away. He does what exercises he can, gaining his strength back. On the day of his escape puts the plan into motion. He escapes from his chains, scraping skin and bone in the process, and uses various tricks to dupe his guards. He fights, is injured, but finally escapes. When reunited with his family, he feels joy.
~

Where does God fit into the story? In the man's family - his love and concern for them, the inspiration they give him; in his rational abilities, which are guided by his values, and through which he is inspired to assess his situation and plan his escape using what is available to him. In the big picture, without God - without the ground of existence - he would not exist, and he would have no goal towards which to move, no purpose or aim, nor the ability to perceive that goal or put it into action.

If a person wallows in their misery, I think they are implicitly acting as if God is malevolent: suffering of this sort is the limit of experience, there is nothing else. Their deep-seated belief about the cosmos reflects in their experiences: they are miserable. They blame others, circumstances, God, but never ask what they can do, or what they should do. They never take responsibility. By denying their own agency, they deny God (reality in all its fullness, that which is higher than themselves and that of which they are a part). That inner contradiction can only lead to more unconscious suffering. It is not objective - it doesn't map to reality - and when we aren't objective, we can't properly navigate reality, like a child who continually burns himself because he is convinced fire is candy.

But even a person who sees her position in life as it is suffers. That also shows how she interacts with God. She accepts that suffering is an inherent part of creation, because free will is an inherent part of creation. Freedom implies multiple options, and there wouldn't be any progress if all choices were inherently good - there would be no learning. Just like there wouldn't be any true learning or growth if all truth was immediately recognized as such; in other words, if there were no options from which to choose, freely and rationally. Truth, beauty, and goodness require their opposites - they can't exist without them, and we can't come to know them without their opposites - it's a struggle by nature. Light can't exist without darkness and shadow as contrast.

So, unlike the person who wallows, she is more objective. She sees more of reality. She sees that she is a part of creation. And as a part of creation, she has a responsibility to embody the values she sees are lacking in the world. That will entail a different kind of suffering, because there are many (most?) whose aims go against those very values. A similar dynamic applies to her own mind: the lies she believes. Existence is a war zone.

Gurdjieff wrote about world-creation and world-maintenance at the level of the Absolute (God). In other words, I think: the ground of our being, and our continuing interaction with this active/intelligent/loving force in the universe. In terms of being, we are creatures with a degree of freedom. And we have rational abilities: the ability to know truth in and of itself (not simply based on authority, for example). I think this is where 'world-maintenence' (and evolution) come in: by the constant accessibility of truth, beauty and goodness. The 'signal' is constantly broadcast, but it's up to us to listen. In order to listen, we need to "clear our hears". And that means suffering!
 

Alada

The Living Force
Joe said:
"Life experiences reflect how one interacts with God."
I guess to begin with the question ought to be framed within the context of our being incarnated at a particular time, and in the this neck of the universal woods. There must be other times and realities where the set-up re suffering is not the same. But, here we are.

Joe said:
It made me wonder what a life with a good amount of suffering (of the unconscious and conscious variety) represents in terms of interaction with "God".

Does it mean that the person is willing to suffer to know "god" aka objective reality/the totality of all that exists? Probably most people, with the idea of a benevolent deity, would think that if you have a good interaction with "god" you wouldn't suffer that much!
Unconscious suffering is difficult to discuss without thoughts automatically going to extreme examples, war zones, famines, abuse, etc and wondering why that kind of suffering exists. Are they just the extension of this being a 4d STS emotional energy farm? Or are there karmic lessons there that we carry over with us into other lives. I’d tend to think it a bit of both, but with the latter in mind such sufferings would diminish given the scale of many lifetimes here in 3d. We may have relatively comfortable lives now compared to the last life, or the next one. In this context it’s mostly mechanical and so 'how one interacts with god' is on the level of living according to the given laws we are under. If we don’t act consciously and take responsibility everything 'happens' and we can suffer but not learn the same lessons from it, or not learn anything at all, repeating the same lessons over and over again.

Gurdjieff refers to the 'Suffering of God' and I’ve pondered the idea in terms of a parent watching their children suffer (but who through observing free will can not interfere). To choose conscious suffering one is opening up to the 'Suffering of God' in a sense, meaning that you have to see both in yourself and in others the level of unconscious suffering that has hitherto gone unseen. Seems some of our greatest sufferings are in exactly that, of seeing aspects of ourselves which lay hidden, acknowledging them 'before God' and in so doing experiencing and sharing in part of 'God’s suffering' (that being our own part).

"How one interacts with God" then becomes an extension of what one is ready and willing to open up to, or not. Experiences don’t manifest unless and until we’re ready to deal with them and capable of making choices. How they turn out, then depends on how we interact with God in making those choices. Suffering isn’t just on / off, it’s what we chose then to do with it that counts ("some people think that the world exists for them to overcome or ignore or shut out).

In terms of "if you have a good interaction with "god" you wouldn't suffer that much". I think it’s true to say that some of the important lessons and personal realisations people can have seem to come only through great suffering. That something real can be forged in the heat of it which does not seem to happen during times when everything is tickety-boo – which redefines 'good interaction'.
 

kalibex

Dagobah Resident
Then there's also the definition of suffering as a subjective, personal interpretation being caused by non-acceptance of the reality of such pain/discomfort. In which case, to see 'God' as malevolent and one's suffering as 'unfair' would be due to, again, being in a state of rejection of the full variety of creation.
 

Esote

Jedi Council Member
Destroying vs constructive suffering (or pleasure or whatever), for the self and for the collective, may be seen as respectively wrong or right interactions with the Spirit of the Universe.
So that our life experiences can tell which way we are into, and may offer the opportunity to choose a different path, depending on our knowledge and our will.
Our attitude toward our experiences is usually what makes the difference...
Or may be not ?
 

kawika

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FOTCM Member
Joe said:
"Life experiences reflect how one interacts with God."

It made me wonder what a life with a good amount of suffering (of the unconscious and conscious variety) represents in terms of interaction with "God". Does it mean that the person is willing to suffer to know "god" aka objective reality/the totality of all that exists? Probably most people, with the idea of a benevolent deity, would think that if you have a good interaction with "god" you wouldn't suffer that much!
I've given this a lot of thought and wondered what it really means. When I was younger because of the choices I made it caused a lot of suffering for myself and others, probably all of it was unconscious. There were times when I cursed god out loud for creating such a hell all I could see was pain and suffering. I think that unconscious suffering caused me to hit rock bottom and created at catalyst to seek out some real meaning or truth.

I still see lots of pain and suffering in the world, maybe now I have a little bit more awareness of how god/universe works and that suffering can be utilized as something beneficial to learn and see reality for it really is and that it's not all dark, there is balance to the universe, to know the "names of god". I think that's what conscious suffering might be.
 

Justin

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
Joe said:
It made me wonder what a life with a good amount of suffering (of the unconscious and conscious variety) represents in terms of interaction with "God". Does it mean that the person is willing to suffer to know "god" aka objective reality/the totality of all that exists? Probably most people, with the idea of a benevolent deity, would think that if you have a good interaction with "god" you wouldn't suffer that much!
I think it depends on the type of suffering, and one’s consciousness of the situation.

There is one type of suffering that involves using the will to push forward towards one’s aim, doing what needs to be done even if it’s unpleasant, boring, painful. This type of suffering, pushing forward through adversity, increases willpower, and if done consciously is the suffering that G talked about as growing a soul. At the same time, though, one can be learning and improving so that the boring, unpleasant stuff can be accomplished more efficiently next time, and the willpower can then be used for bigger things.

Gurdjieff said that he had developed himself to the point that nothing external could affect him internally unless he chose to let it. So, in theory, all the suffering that comes from automatic reactions to external events and perceptions could be abolished, ironically, by conscious suffering via internal work. ;)
 

RflctnOfU

Jedi Council Member
Joe said:
Those familiar with the Cs sessions will probably have recongized that title. It comes from this comment:

'Life is religion. Life experiences reflect how one interacts with God. Those who are asleep are those of little faith in terms of their interaction with the creation. Some people think that the world exists for them to overcome or ignore or shut out. For those individuals, the world will cease. They will become exactly what they give to life. They will become merely a dream in the 'past.' People who pay strict attention to objective reality right and left, become the reality of the 'Future.' -- Cassiopaeans, 09-28-02
I've read it many times, and seen it quoted even more. But today was the first time I really thought about that second sentence:

"Life experiences reflect how one interacts with God."

It made me wonder what a life with a good amount of suffering (of the unconscious and conscious variety) represents in terms of interaction with "God". Does it mean that the person is willing to suffer to know "god" aka objective reality/the totality of all that exists? Probably most people, with the idea of a benevolent deity, would think that if you have a good interaction with "god" you wouldn't suffer that much!
Regarding the bolded above, I think this is an example of the consequences of the results of the Organ-Kundabuffer talked about in Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson. Humanity sees the truth inverted.

Regarding the idea of suffering though, a very practical example of the nessecity of suffering to achieve an aim is the following: a man decides to build his body. He must work the body (today weights are popular). As a result of working out, the body, or, more specifically, the muscles ,suffer. "Feel the Burn!" Those who fight through this, suffering consciously, build their bodies.

My personal experience with trumpet over the years has proven this to me as well, though the suffering involved for me was more intellectual frustration, and emotional despondency, rather than the burning of muscles (though to be fair, this does happen as well). As G said (as mentioned in ISOTM), "Only super efforts count".

Kris
 
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