The following is an extract from Chapter 10 of my e-book: Coping with Suffering
Suffering will not vanish. We will learn how to cope with it better.
The sublime opens our eyes and hearts. In plain words, it makes us understand the reality better and deal with it lovingly. This understanding and love are the ultimate remedies for unavoidable suffering.
This relationship with the sublime is a spiritual condition. You need not be religious for experiencing it. Atheists experience it in their own diverse ways. Artists experience it through their arts. When Albert Einstein said, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious; it is the source of all true art and science,” he was referring to the experience of the sublime. When Mozart said that love – and not intelligence or imagination – is the real soul of genius, he meant nothing else.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s Little Prince put it most elegantly: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
The brain does help us to understand the reality. As Hinduism teaches, intellectual pursuit or jnana yoga can offer us enlightenment.
But when it comes to grappling with the riddles of life, the heart shows the way. Blake saw a world in a grain of sand with his heart, not his eyes. Mirabai, great devotee of Lord Krishna, could unfurl herself across the universe by stretching her heart, not her intellect. It is your heart that will give you the wings to fly.
Will suffering vanish when you learn to see a world in a grain of sand or to fly in the heavens on wings of the heart?
No. Suffering can never vanish from our life. We learn to cope with it. We learn to see it from a different perspective.
It is the perspective of the heart. It is with the heart we see certain essential truths clearly.
When the homo sapiens evolved from their simian ancestors, the brain continued to evolve while the heart retained its loyalty to the beast. Our species went on to conquer the whole world with the help of our evolved brains. We subjugated everything on earth mercilessly to our tools and technology. We established our mastery over everything on the planet as well as beyond it in the eternal spaces. We moved light years in a few hundred calendar years. Great intellectual achievement.
But our hearts remained simian. Very primitive. Except in the cases of those few enlightened ones, those who chose to touch eternity in a moment.
Our religions, our arts and our philosophical teachers all sought to train our hearts. But we chose to convert these entities into competitive architecture or showbiz or propaganda. They did not touch our hearts.
They were like the roses in our gardens tended by hired labourers. Passers-by admired them. But they did not touch our hearts. Because it is only when you waste time with your roses do they touch your hearts.
The answers to quite a lot of our problems lie in our own hearts. And we keep seeking them in a lot of other places.
We have wings to fly with, but we choose to walk.
If only you start flying. Once you have conquered certain heights, you won’t come down, as Richard Bach says in one of his books. You will spread your wings and fly. You hover over the suffering that belongs to the earth.
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