Have you ever gotten food poisoning? After eating out the other week, I was feeling sick to my stomach. When we got home Dharmadevi gave me some Goldenseal tincture which is a healing herb. I’ll spare you the unpleasant details. Suffice it to say even though my soul wanted to march on, my body went down for the count!
I hammed up my role as the sick person and jokingly started to seek self-pity. I asked Dharmadevi, “Did you tell our friends how sick I am? This could be the sickest I’ve been in years!” Although I was joking, I noticed there was a part of me that wanted to draw sympathy toward myself.
Isn’t that true of our self-absorbed egos? Swami Kriyananda says, “Most people seek compassion from others for themselves.” Whereas a Master’s consciousness, even while suffering, radiates compassion outward toward other people rather than seeking sorrow for himself.
Jesus Christ’s life offers us perhaps the most dramatic example of how to transcend suffering. Yogananda shares in Whispers from Eternity, “An unseen monument of the mightiest miracle of love was established in each heart when the magic wand of Thy voice uttered: ‘Forgive them, for they know not what they do.’”
On a deeper level the sorrow of a great Master is for the suffering people incur through their own ignorance. Swami Kriyananda shares this aspect of a yogi christ’s consciousness in his hauntingly beautiful song, “The Sorrow of Jesus”:
The sorrow of Jesus was not for himself.
He grieved for God’s love, which eternally given
Is spurned by God’s children
Lost in forests of pride.
I almost lost God in the “pride of being sick” forest! Rather than drawing attention to ourselves, let’s lose ourselves in love for Him alone. Then we will, as a great Sufi saint once said, “forget our suffering in contemplating the Infinite Beloved.”