Meher Baba answers: When suffering leads to real eternal happiness we should not attach importance to this suffering. It is to eliminate suffering that suffering has to come. Suffering is unnecessary and self-inflicted; ninety-nine percent of the world’s suffering is self-inflicted and then people ask, “Why must we suffer?”
People suffer because they are not satisfied; they want more and more. Ignorance gives rise to greed and vanity. If you want nothing, would you then suffer? But you do want. If you did not want anything, you would not suffer even in the jaws of a lion.
The widespread dissatisfaction in modern life is due to the gulf between theory and practice; between the ideal and its realization on earth. The spiritual and material aspects of life are widely separated instead of being closely united. There is no fundamental opposition between spirit and matter, or, if you like, between life and form. The apparent opposition is due to wrong thinking, to ignorance.
The best and also the easiest way of overcoming the ego and attaining divine consciousness is to develop love and to render selfless service to humanity in whatever circumstances we may be placed. All ethics and religious practices lead to this. The more we live for others and the less we live for ourselves, the more the lower desires are eliminated; and this in turn reacts upon the ego,F suppressing it and transforming it proportionately.
The root of all our difficulties, individual and social, is self-interest. Eliminate self-interest and you will solve all your problems, individual and social.
Do not think that in serving others you put them under obligation to you; be happy that they have given you the opportunity to serve. From Treasures from the Meher Baba Journals, citing excerpts from December 1938, February and November 1939.
Mitigating the suffering of others through love and generosity is the work of a noble lifetime, because by so doing we are agents of God’s grace.
“Many bitter experiences of the past often open new vistas that help one to understand things better, as they really are not as they appear. Your hard trials in life have been instrumental in making you what you are now, a changed being with a different outlook on life, and ushering you into the spiritual reality where you alone will find peace, bliss and love.” Sourced from Lord Meher, online edition, page 1688, “Film Projects & Work in India”
Jamshed Mehta, the mayor of Karachi, told Baba he found himself surrounded by difficulties with no immediate solution. Baba told him:
“This is not bad news; this is very good news. You are lucky to have so many hardships. The fact is that there are no hardships, because everything in the world is one big zero. I see and experience this every moment.
“Once tested by the Avatar or Sadguru, the devotee will feel as if he is about to die. It is terrible. This Path of God is the harshest and most insurmountable thing possible.
“Still, don’t worry and don’t lose hope. Good times are ahead, and after these difficulties, quietude and comfort await you. Terrible suffering is a sign of happiness and peace to come. Great heat denotes the coming of rain. Great suffering and intense sorrow indicate that happiness is about to dawn.
“Anything beyond your capacity will necessarily change your capacity, because so long as everything is within your limits, you don’t know what is beyond them. And everything concerning God and God-realisation is beyond limit. So in this way great suffering and being plagued with terrible problems are beneficial.
“People pray to me to solve their difficulties, saying that they love me. But there is a vast difference between love and prayer. In Persian [the expression] to pray means to beg, to want, to desire something, even the blessings of God. But when a person really loves, he gives himself over to his Beloved completely. This is true love. In that, there is no begging, no wanting, and no room for desires. Only the longing to unite with the Beloved remains.
“Love means the renunciation of the self. Prayer means selfishness, no matter how high the prayer may be. So there is a vast difference between when one prays and when one loves.” Sourced from Lord Meher, online edition, page 1228 “Tumultuous Travel”.
Just think of it — God is within all, in every one, and He is infinite. God is all-powerful, God is all-bliss. And yet, though God is in each one, how helpless we feel! We weep, we feel pain, we feel sorrow, although God, who is so infinitely powerful and blissful, is there! Why? It is because of our own bindings. But there is one way to get liberated from these bindings, and that is through love. Sourced from The Awakener Magazine, Vol 4, No 3, page 39.