Not long ago I asked a learned elder named Carl, “How can I be happy when there is so much pain in the world?”
He thought for a brief moment and answered my question with another question, “So you’re saying that as long as there is suffering, you don’t deserve happiness?”
“Well, I could be happy if I focused solely within my little bubble, but knowing that we’re killing each other, and our planet... I mean, look what’s happening in the Middle East!”
Carl then asked, “So until there is peace in a region that’s been marred by war for thousands of years, you can’t enjoy your life?’
“Argh! Well, shouldn’t I do SOMETHING!??!?!?” I replied. “What CAN I do?
“You can focus on your mission.”
“Huh?” I inquired.
He paused and asked, “Don’t you think there is someone better qualified than you to create peace in the Middle East? Someone trained in conflict resolution perhaps? Or a local resident with an insider’s view of all of the warring cultures and religions that you could never have?”
“Well, yeah, I guess so.”
“And that would be their mission, right? Would you want that peacemaker doing your mission?”
“The more the merrier!” I retorted.
Carl smiled and replied, “Well, that may be true, but each soul has its own unique mission. The peacemakers have their mission, and those who are suffering have their mission, too.”
“Whoa! That’s, well… Oh wait, I just remembered a passage in the book, ‘The Angel of Auschwitz’ that spoke to this!”
“Tell me about it.”
I then told him, “It’s the story of a woman who, when under hypnosis, could recall her past life as a child in the Holocaust. She describes being able to communicate with an Angel while in the concentration camp, and—”
“She asks, ‘Why is this happening?’” Carl interjected.
“Yes, exactly!” I continued, “The Angel spoke about soul paths, and that every soul just wants to experience everything. At a soul level, there is no judgment. Only the mind judges things to be good or bad, desirable or abhorrent. So of course, the young girl asked, ‘But who would choose THIS path?’ and the answer floored me: the Angel said, ‘Are you kidding? When word got out that there would be a holocaust, souls lined up for miles!’”
“That’s deep,” Carl said. “And I believe it to be true.”
I replied, “So back to the inquiry: Should I just pretend all is well while these people suffer because that’s their soul path? That’s not very compassionate. What if it’s my soul’s path to help them?”
“It may very well be, but given your history, do you have the tools for this? What has all of your life experience led you to pursue as your mission right now?”
“Great question, Carl. Somehow I’ve become ‘The Empath Guy.’ I help sensitives and intuitives both prevent and heal empathically transmitted illness and pain — something I didn’t even know existed a few years ago! And I’ve also seen that pretty much everyone in any kind of new age or new thought paradigm is highly empathic. Some know it all too well, others have no clue, and I show them they’re not alone — or worse — weird.”
Carl asked, “Does that sound like the background of someone ready to bring peace to the Middle East?”
“Okay, well that was just an example. Maybe something closer to home. What about helping the hungry and the homeless here?”
“Do you think they’re all empaths? You said it’s your current mission to help empaths.”
“I’m beginning to better see your point, Carl.”
“Yes, mentally I get it. But it still seems closed-hearted” I said.
“That’s your choice,” he said. “You can approach the suffering of others hardened to what is or open-hearted with acceptance. You have that choice.”
“God, sometimes I hate that spiritual rhetoric! Yeah, I know it’s true. Everyone has his or her mission. Both victims and perpetrators are filling a much deeper destiny than my mind can fathom. When I tune into this with my heart, it does feel right, but it’s not easy.”
“Is anything worth attaining ever easy?” he asked.
“Good point. And I also know that as I move deeper into my mission, I can show others that they can accomplish their mission, too. I know I’m inspired by so many of the great authors and musicians who share their talents. Likewise, the many peacemakers who are filling their roles, too. I just wish the peacemakers would hurry up!”
“You going somewhere, Dave?”
“Another excellent point, Carl. This is but a blip in all of time. Can I at least send them love, help them raise awareness, or donate to a cause?
“Yes, of course, but only do so from the space of love, not of responsibility. What do you tell all of your clients?
“Show me the money!” (I joke because I love.) “But seriously, I tell them that their soul/sole responsibility is their own path — metaphysically speaking of course. In the physical world, we do have responsibilities and those should be honored. Ideally, with reverence and not resentment. All things done that oppose our higher truth’s calling lead to resentment. This resentment blocks energy and leads to illness and pain. And when an empath goes against his or her higher self, (s)he can actually absorb others’ energy, and eventually, the illness and pain of others.”
He then said, “So your best advice to them is the same as I’m telling you! Own your gifts and let others find and use theirs. Even though so many things seem totally messed up right now, try to remember that every one and every thing has its place. No one or no thing is superfluous or accidental. Every thing has a purpose. And my purpose — in this moment at least — was to remind you of that which you already know! How perfect is all of this?!?!”
“Indeed, Carl. Indeed...” I pondered for a moment… “But Carl, even knowing all this, I’m still not happy. The question was, ‘How can I find happiness when there is so much pain in the world’ — how do we do that?
“If the answer isn’t clear, then there’s a problem in the inquiry,” he said. “Who said you could be happy?”
“Um, like every self help guru and book I’ve ever seen!”
Carl saw we were onto something a bit bigger. “Are those authors and gurus always happy? Have you met anyone who was always happy?”
“Other than Berdykov, the village idiot, no! And as Woody Allen said in Love and Death about him, ‘It's easier to be happy if your only concern is figuring out how much saliva to dribble.’”
“That’s funny. And maybe true. I think a better goal is contentment with occasional moments of happiness, and occasional moments of sadness. It’s all part of the human condition.”
“And part of the soul’s mission, right? To experience everything?!?!” I shouted.
“Now you’ve got it!”
Photo (c)Amanda J Daniels used with permission.