Learnings from Pain and Suffering

I am aware that everybody has their perception of their own unique experiences in their life. Stories I write come from my own unique experience, my own perception, my life.

I wrote this piece on the 25th of March and for some reason I thought it was Mother’s Day. But it wasn’t – well – it was in a way, because for me, mother’s day is every day. So, I guess that’s ok.

My thoughts and writing of today are about both, my mother and my father. I may have written about love, peace of mind, trust, and compassion. The nice stuff we all enjoy experiencing in life. But that doesn’t mean there’s no fear, pain, and suffering. In the world we live in – the world of duality, it seems like one side does not exist without the other.

I have seen and experienced a fair share of both, pain and suffering, as well as peace and joy. As I write these stories I try to remain in the middle, while seeing and understanding both sides of the coin. I try.

One thing I’m still hoping to understand is why so many people who have experienced a lot of pain and suffering continue paying it forward and allowing their pain and suffering to spread through them – onto others.

I suppose they still carry a whole lot of it, and they’re simply trying to lighten up their own burden? Basically, by living, you share what you have – and if that represents a big part of what you have, what you are made of – than, that is what you are able to spread and share.

Have I just answered my question? In a way. Still, my curiosity wants to dig deeper.

I can clearly see a distinction between the actions of individuals who have brought their pain and suffering to their awareness and stopped the spread, and the reactions of those who sadly haven’t.

Sometimes, simply because they didn’t have a chance to do so, no space for self-reflection. Life was too busy, existential needs were more important. And eventually, pain and suffering trickled down so deep that even when they would have the required time and space, they could no longer see it, reach it. The deeper it slips in, the harder it is to shake it up and bring it up to the surface, where we can face it. It takes a lot – sometimes an accident, a burnout, or a disease such as cancer or a stroke, paralysis, sometimes death itself. That’s a sad way to go.

Even if someone else is able to see how much you struggle inside and wants to help while you still have a chance, other people cannot change your destiny. One can only fully accept you as you are, love you, nudge you, support you, show you the way, the door, hoping you can notice that door. The rest is up to that person alone.

In this day and age there is a lot of suffering and pain. According to Vedic tradition, we live in Kali Yuga – the timespan of ca 5800 years where suffering, anger, aggression, and pain dominate this age; all that is accompanied by dulled down awareness.

Individuals, elites, families who rule the world during Kali Yuga represent what is considered to be cruel, ruthless, greedy, and corrupt. I suppose it’s their time and they want to make the best of their party.

Luckily, everything has a beginning and an end – just like a sausage – vegan, vegetarian, or a meat one – and we are coming to an end of this era, in a few hundred years – the Vedic scriptures say.

During these times, there are a few who see through ‘Kali’ veil of illusion. Some rebel, a few succeed, some are squashed. There are those who watch and do things inconspicuously, work on their self. We are all an expression of the same self, all are important and as such, none should be compared.

Fortunately, even during Kali Yuga, one can always choose his or her own allegiance. It can be lonely though, it’s not always easy to find a supporting community and people around you; still, one has to try.  

A few days ago, I had a chat with a friend from university times when I was still living in Slovenia. (I’ve been living abroad for over 20 years now.) Our conversation brought up a few interesting points. Particularly the realization about repression that often leads to pain and suffering. I have experienced that in my childhood, throughout my youth, even as a citizen of the country I was born in.

Environment we grow up in paints our reality, hence, it is important to put things into perspective and include the historical and cultural view – among many others. For example, Slovenia, the country I grew up in, is a small nation of 2 million people that have always been repressed – ever since the Illyrian tribes settled down under the Alps. It started with the Roman Empire, continued with the Habsburg Monarchy, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Yugoslavian federation. Until today when Slovenia is still ruled, this time by the EU.

Although the culture of the nation remains strong – Slovenian language, unique to Slovenia only – is spoken by 2 million people in this world and has survived over millennia. So has the kindness, tenacity, and resilience of its people. I suppose hard times as such help you grow a bit of a turtle shell that is hard to penetrate even if someone has been stomping all over you for a very long time.

Hehe, I had quite a reaction the other day – one person in our group was showing us a video of him standing on the top of his giant tortoise, luring him with the carrot on a stick, trying to make him move. I called him a brut and thought he was a bully. Eeeeek – what can I say. Sorry, but you really shouldn’t be doing that.

That’s actually a pretty good analogy of what it was like growing up being repressed. No wonder I reacted. Think about where you stand in relation to this topic.

In addition to the country where you grew up, if either of your parents have experienced being repressed when they were children, there’s a good chance you carry on the legacy of repression, of some sort. Important to add, it’s not their fault, there’s no one to blame here. They simply inherited “stuff” from their parents and probably never had a chance to get over it. Whereas I do, and that’s one of the reasons I started to write and share what I write.

For example, my dad spent first four years of his life in a Nazi labor camp. I can’t even imagine what that was like and what his mother, my grandmother was going through while having to nurse and take care of the little baby. Did she even have time to look after him? Was she living in constant fear, did she have enough food, was she warm enough? What all did she have to endure physically? What kind of emotional states was she going through day in day out? During those 4 long years…

Sadly, she passed away long before I was born and I never had a chance to have this conversation. My father passed away when I was 10, so I couldn’t hear his story either. I have only felt their pain. Today, all I can hope is that their souls can rest in peace.  

Unfortunately, while my father was alive, his poor soul was as restless as a soul of a caged wild animal that never had a chance to experience freedom when freedom wanted and needed to be experienced.

Later on, he did experience freedom, however, that freedom was experienced out of resentment of having been repressed – not from the space of freedom. This wouldn’t have been the case had he not experienced such restraints during his childhood. I think that extreme repressions in childhood leave deep scars, cause damage, and can change people forever. The wild animal within becomes very hostile.

We are all human beings, many of us get triggered, and we all have different emotional reactions that may not be acceptable in certain situations in society we live in. Like, in school, or at work – if you are angry, you are not allowed to express that range and lash out – well, unless you’re ok to deal with the consequences. Hence, it often happens that we don’t know how to deal with our own emotions – at least I never learned that at home or in school. We tend to hide away what is really going on, we learn to put on a mask, a show, and we act. But even as such, at some point, masks are bound to fall off, because they are not strong enough to last and that’s when the ‘beast’ or the ‘hungry ghost’ comes out even more furious. Because it has been restrained.

This keeps on perpetuating and people can get crazier and more confused – sometimes to the extent when they’re no longer able to control their emotions, tension, anger. Their anger can become so powerful that they develop the potency to change the air of the room they enter, making everybody shiver from fear. Most often this happens at home, behind the walls, where no one else can see and hear.

A lot of patience, love, and acceptance is needed to soothe the animal, to allow it to realize it’s safe to live, to be. Life can become difficult under such circumstances if people don’t start recognizing, dealing with, and healing their emotional imbalances. For them and everyone around – the children, their mother, the whole family.

I have experienced a few moments of rage that made me tremble from fear. Of course, we also had great moments of joy and celebration, laughter, happiness, dance, and song. It wasn’t just tears and fear, it was everything, full roller-coaster ride, as I’m sure is the case with most families. Still – today – grown up as I am, I see how certain – particularly charged emotions carry the potency of hurting you when you’re a child – anger & aggression cause damage (trauma) and should not have a place in anyone’s home. In the ideal world. But that’s not the world we live in and sometimes we just have to learn how to deal with the consequences and reverse those negative impacts that might have happened while we were children. In order to heal and end this perpetual curse.

The wounds inflicted by horrors of war last for decades. Second world war ended in 1945 – that is nearly 80 years ago. However, the pain and suffering inflicted upon people did not yet come to an end. And the history repeats. Just when the younger generations might have began healing the wounds they inherited from their parent and grandparents, the bombing starts again. The war never seems to stop; it happened in Korea, Algeria, Vietnam, Gulf, Sierra Leone, former Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Israel, Palestine. It’s now happening between Russia and Ukraine (Timeline of the 20th and 21st century wars).

I wonder, what is it with the rulers and leaders of Kali Yuga. How come they drifted so far away? As if they’re feasting on pain and suffering of people on this earth. Deriving their pleasures based on seeing others in perpetual pain and suffering. I may be partial here, but it appears as if they particularly like to target Slavic womb – and have been doing so for ages. Or any other nation with a strong expression of their soul.

I suppose it must be quite irritating for the pleasure devouring, hungry souls when they don’t have something they so deeply and secretly crave for and desire. At the same time, they know very well that something so sacred is too far-fetched for them to acquire – due to consequences of their own past choices and deeds. So much so, they start resenting seeing that in others. They become destructive, wanting to possess, and harvest; even when they know it will only be a fleeting, temporary fix and never theirs to possess. I remember seeing such tendencies in a few people in my life. I truly wish they remember and find their way back to where it all begins. Balance within and balance without remains quintessential for all life on Earth.

Back to my story…

Yet the power of the soul continues shining through, it resists being taken over, and rises all over again. Just like Phoenix rising from the ashes. Emerging more powerful, smarter, and stronger. It’s all a matter of time.

Thinking it was Mother’s Day I had to add a flavor of my father’s story. That’s because he was a child of his mother and also because happiness of my mother very much depended on my father’s emotional state. So it was, and still is in many cases, particularly when it comes to – less or more – dysfunctional families.

My life has changed significantly since I was a child. Luckily, I’m in a much better place when I was when I left home.

My mum came over last year, to visit. She stayed with us; a bit over a month. At some point during her stay, she told me that I’m very lucky, because I live in a fairy tale. You see, even to this day, she still can’t fully understand that a household without tension, occasional shouting, bursts of anger, fear, stress, resentment, being taken for granted, and taken advantage of is not a fairy tale. It should be a normal way of living and being – in every home, in every household. It’s sad, that she wasn’t able to experience more of that in her life. Also, a bit sad she wasn’t able to fully relax while she was here with us. Might have also been because of me, there’s still some tension inside me that I have not yet fully healed.  

It took weeks before she could finally ease in for a few days. And then, it was time to return back to her own home. I’m glad, even if it happened for a day, or two, or three. I’m fortunate that we were able to offer her that space – for her to get a taste of peaceful, harmonious, and loving home. It was all worth it. In her heart she knows it is possible and once you taste that peace, your heart begins to heal. I know for sure, that next time she comes over, she’ll be able to enjoy it even more!

I love my mother very much, and I wish her well. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers in this world, whenever that day is, but most importantly happy, loving & peaceful mother’s day every day!

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