Thursday, April 23, 2015

Blaming God for our mental suffering

I have heard people blame God, or even Jesus, for their suffering, when that suffering has been created by the thinking patterns they have fostered over many years. I find the blaming of some other being quite strange in these circumstances, when the fault lies clearly at their own feet!

If we accept the reality of free will then we accept that we are the creator of our mental patterns and any suffering or happiness that may go along with them.  Of course, our life experiences will impact on our thinking, but it is still up to us to decide what we wish to focus on, what we choose to ignore and how we choose to interpret the events of our lives. No one else can do it for us.

It should also be realized that the way others act towards us is a result of their own free will choices. For a God to take control of how others treat us would require "him" to override their free will. If all our free will choices are honored at all times, then this can't happen.  Therefore, others may treat us in ways that cause us suffering as part of their free will, but it is still up to us to make the choice of how to interpret and respond to that experience. We can see it as a learning experience, for example, a chance to learn detachment, or we can continue to focus on it as a victim. The choice is ours and is our responsibility, not God's! For unpleasant experiences are just part and parcel of living in a world with other free will beings and it is up to us to make of them what we will, not God!

Another line of thought that blames God for one's own faults is the idea that "I was made this way" (to suffer).  The problem with this kind of thinking is that we really have no idea how we were "made".  If we think this present birth (or conception) was our origin as a separate being then it is hard to argue that as a baby we were born with negative thoughts.  This seems highly unlikely!  More likely, this type of thinking was learned over time and therefore, can be unlearned.  If we accept that our origin lies before our current birth then it is hard to say what we were like in those early days before the "weight of the world" descended upon us but it is likely to be very different to how we are now!

Contrary to the idea that we were somehow made to suffer, I would say that we learn to suffer and that to be free of mental suffering is part of discovering our true nature.  To find this true nature we need to look into ourselves, past the opinions we hold, and I believe we will find something very good and positive, indeed, at our heart!

To this end, I recommend the following talk by Barry Long about connecting with one's true nature:

Sharka Todd

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