People’s willingness to find God in their own struggle with life – and let it change them – is their deepest and truest obedience to God’s eternal will. We must admit this is what all of us do anyway, as ‘God comes to us disguised as our life’! Remember, always, remember, that the heartfelt desire to do the will of God is, in fact, the truest will of God.
— Richard Rohr from Breathing Under Water
The Path of Descent Is the Path of Transformation
Both Buddha and Jesus recognized that pain is the only thing strong enough to grab our attention and defeat the ego’s dominance. Our suffering, in my definition, is whenever we are not in control. It is our opposition to the moment, our inner resistance that says, “I don’t want it to be this way.” Since the ego is always trying to control reality, it is invariably suffering, irritated, or unhappy, because reality is never exactly what we want. Isn’t that true? So Buddha teaches us how to undercut the ego in a most radical way through mental attitude and discipline. Jesus teaches us how to undercut the imperial ego by always choosing love, dedication, and service. The final result is often the same, although Jesus’ teaching had more social implications, which most Christians roundly ignored.
Jesus’ suffering on the cross was a correct diagnosis and revelation of the human dilemma. It was an invitation to enter into solidarity with the pain of the world, and our own pain, instead of always resisting it, avoiding it, or denying it. Lady Julian of Norwich, my favorite Christian mystic, understood it so well, and she taught, in effect, that “There is only one suffering and we all share in it.” That is the way a higher consciousness eventually sees the so-called problem of evil. That is the way the Buddha saw it too. There is only one suffering, and for Christians Jesus personified a radical surrender to the cosmic mystery of human suffering—a non-resistance to reality until we learn its deepest lessons.
— Richard Rohr from Yes, and…: Daily Meditations