Rohr says this is a common definition of suffering. If so then why haven’t I heard it until now? Or did I hear it but I simply wasn’t paying attention? Or too busy quoting platitudes dressed as Scripture?
Suffer me to share more of Rohr:
Buddha taught us how to change our mind about what causes our suffering; Jesus taught us to change our very attitude toward necessary suffering, and that we could make it into a redemptive experience for all concerned.
They both 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.
Okay, why does it take Buddha to uncork deeper truths about suffering that Jesus underscored in his own way all along?
Why are we so skilled at ignoring not merely implications but such significant content?
And why do we continue to engage in cultural and religious resistance, denial and avoidance? (Christians are some of the worst in my experience when we should be radically in tune with life’s rhythms.)
Why in Christian circles is “faith” spelled “denial” of the obvious as we demand God give us a way around it as part of the New Covenant “Deal” he insist he struck with us at the cross (pain avoidance), rather than embracing that very cross that is likewise passed to us to take up as we would follow?
Of course the cross is empty in Protestant churches. It’s just a relic of what Someone else had to do and no one is supposed to be on it.
I feel better.
I suppose that this too is but another part of reality we need to embrace and move with, yes?