One of the questions that pops up in my correspondence again and again is why suffering exists. I address this question in “Fate and karma in a Nutshell. How to understand your fate and change it for the better.” The following is an extract from the book:
The Meaning of Suffering
Why do we have to suffer? What is the reason why suffering exists?
In order to answer that question we have to climb up to a very high viewpoint from where we can see the master plan of life.
We are all on an eternal journey. We are eternal beings and our existence cannot be erased or annulled. We are always and eternally alive. We always have our spiritual body or consciousness, which is a field of energy. As energy cannot be created or dissolved, we are standing on firm scientific ground when we say that we have an eternal body in the shape of our spirit. From time to time, our spirit reincarnates into a physical body and we have explained this is our first Nutshell book: Reincarnation in a Nutshell.
We always have our spiritual body, but we do not always have a physical body. We only have a physical body when we pay a visit (as we are doing now) to the physical plane on a physical planet. We have to understand that there are two levels that we exist on: the spiritual level and the physical level.
Our two levels of existence
The reason why there are two levels is that there has to be contrast. The spiritual world is a world of light, bliss and love. But we cannot forever live in the light, because then we would eventually experience a complete whiteout. When we have lived for eons of time in the light a solid satiation of this light would set in, and we would yearn for a different type of experience. After millions of years in the light, there would be nothing new to experience, and we would lose our ability to perceive. In order to renew our ability to perceive and indeed our consciousness, there has to be a place in the universe where we can experience the contrast to the light: darkness. For that reason, the physical world exists. It exists as a place where the living beings can experience darkness. By ´darkness´ is meant not only dark colours or the lack of light, but suffering, misery, unhappy fates, pain, sorrow, war, misfortune, bloodshed, unrest, slavery, terrorism, starvation and famine, deprivation, poverty, and everything that is in contrast to peace and universal love.
The eternal universe
We are alive in an eternal universe and as we are tiny parts of this universe, we are also eternal.
In order for the universe to be eternal it has to have a structure that will allow for an eternal existence. Such a structure requires that there is contrast in the universe. There has to be contrast, so that the beings alive in the universe can, when they have experienced the light to the full, have a place to go and experience a contrast to the light. If there were no contrast, the principle of hunger and satiation would not work. The raison d´être of the physical world is to constitute a place where darkness can be experienced by the eternal beings.
The universe is a very loving place; indeed the basic tone of the universe is love, and there is only a source of love. But in order to understand this, we have to see the world from God´s own viewpoint, from a cosmic viewpoint. From our local viewpoint right now, it can be hard to see the world as a very loving place. But this is because right now we do not have the bigger picture, so please look at symbol no. 22 (https://www.martinus.dk/en/martinus-symbols/overview-of-the-symbols/symbol-22) which for the first time in the history of humanity reveals the big picture.
As we can see on symbol no. 22, we move through eternity in cycles, as has been explained. One cyclic passage takes millions and millions of years to pass, and during this passage, we experience both light and darkness. But the light predominates to a very high degree, indeed only 1/6 of our passage of the cycle takes place in darkness. That is when we live in the animal kingdom and the kingdom of the unfinished human being. At the point in time where we find ourselves right now, we are unfinished human beings.
The unfinished human being
Most people think of themselves as human beings and they may object to being called unfinished human beings. Let us have a look at what is meant by this. An unfinished human being is a man or a woman who can still find it in his or her heart to injure, maim, kill, hate, seek revenge, cheat, steal, be dishonest, greedy, intolerant, hateful, self-righteous, egoistic, proud and judgemental.
As we do not think that it is easy to find humans today on this planet that can honestly say that they have none of the character traits mentioned above, then we can say that we are unfinished human beings.
Finished human beings can only emanate universal love. They help, support and love all living beings and live to serve others. They are only happy when they can be of service to others and they think of others before they think of themselves. They are happy to give their own life to save the life of another, and they have no trace of egoism, greed or hatred in their mentality, and they live only on a plant-based diet. They can only emanate unconditional love and will soon achieve cosmic consciousness. Jesus is an example of a finished human being and he had cosmic consciousness, which he achieved when he was baptized in the Jordan river by John the Baptist and the spirit of God descended upon him in the shape of a dove.
We are all on our way towards the advanced stage of the finished human being and we will all, without exception, reach that stage eventually, but we are not there yet. Our mentality is still, to some extent, characterized by the unfinished traits mentioned above, and not everybody has advanced equally far towards the finished state.
This is obvious when we look at the population of the planet today. Some are already quite advanced, they cannot maim, kill or participate in war, they are humble, helpful and compassionate, and they live only on a plant-based diet. But others are happy to go to war, they do not think twice about exploiting other humans to satisfy their own needs, they are proud, greedy and intolerant. They participate in killing other living beings, indeed some just go out and shoot others indiscriminately. Think of how many tragic shootings there have been in schools in the US, for example. So many people also insist that they need to eat meat and they do not care if countless animals suffer so that they can get their steaks and hamburgers. Others love to show their riches off and think that they are ´better´ because they can drive around in fancy cars, wear fur coats and expensive jewellery, boss others around and live in a palace.
We tend to think that we are all more or less the same and that everybody stands at the same evolutionary stage, but that is a huge misconception. We have not all advanced equally far on our journey of evolution and it is important to realize that we cannot expect the same behaviour from everybody.
When we cannot expect the same behaviour from everybody it is because we have not lived through the same experiences in former lives or harvested the same lessons on our journey. There is no judgement in this; it is simply how things are. The man who has lived through many wars, and suffered greatly because of those wars, will have developed more compassion, more humanitarianism and more universal love than the man who has never been to war and who thinks that war is a great thing that will bring him glory and admiration.
We are all a result of our experiences in former lives, of our sufferings and pain, our miserable fates and heart-rending deaths, so that when we expect everybody to be the same, we are greatly mistaken. This is an important point, because it explains so much and will make us realize that life is a journey with many stages and many pitfalls. We are all very different due to the huge variation of our experiences and harvest of wisdom in former lives.
It is also important to realize that nobody can be any better than s/he is right now. Nobody can act on experiences s/he has not yet had. For that reason we cannot expect the same behaviour from everybody. People can only act on experiences they have had, and if they have not had a lot of experiences, then they may not be very insightful or wise. So, we should never judge or look down upon another person, but realize that we are all on a journey and that journey can be painful and imply suffering and misery.
The benefits of suffering
It is terrible to suffer, and we think that if we could, with one stroke of a magic wand, remove all types of suffering, then all would be good. But what we have to understand is that suffering is a prerequisite for the eternal existence of the universe. Because there is bliss, light and love on the spiritual level, there has to be suffering, darkness and unlove somewhere, and that somewhere is the physical level. Only when these two contrasts exist, can there be an eternal universe. The darkness is as necessary as the light. Living through the darkness is not pleasant, but it is indispensable. For that reason Martinus calls the light ´the pleasant good´ and the darkness ´the unpleasant good´. Both are good things, only one is pleasant and one is unpleasant. Let us underline that Martinus is the first person to offer a logical and sound explanation for the existence of darkness. He reveals the reason for and mission of darkness for the first time in human history.
When we want to learn new things, we can use our intellect and we can study, do research and investigate. But can we also study how to become more kind and loving? No, because these qualities are not intellectual qualities; they are based on our feelings and not our intellect. So, in order to develop our ability to love, we need experiences that will make our feelings evolve. This means that we cannot study love, kindness or compassion. We cannot learn those aspects at university. We can only learn those by life itself via our own sufferings.
It is only through input that targets our emotions (and not our intellect) that we can learn to become all-loving, compassionate beings. And it is only through sufferings that our emotions are deeply affected. When we suffer greatly, our feelings are modified from superficial to profound and they will be able to vibrate on a level that is on wavelength with sympathy and empathy.
So, when we suffer, we get one of the greatest gifts in return: our ability to feel compassion. We can only feel compassion in the fields where we have suffered ourselves. A person who has never suffered, will have no ability to feel compassion and will be callous and insensible. This shows that our suffering brings with it the greatest gift: our ability to feel with the person who suffers, to feel pity and commiseration for that person and then have a desire to help. The helpers of this world are those who have suffered themselves and who want to alleviate the suffering of others. When we suffer, our humanitarianism is awakened, and we will be able to feel sympathy and forbearance towards other beings that are now going through suffering as we once did. Where would the world be today, if nobody ran to the rescue and help of others? Then we would indeed be living in the dark ages where it was every man for himself. But in tune with our own suffering a new type of person is born: the person who thinks of others before he thinks of himself and who wants to be of service.
With our sufferings come other gifts: wisdom and humility. When we suffer because of unwise actions that we have carried out, then we become wiser. Each time we act in selfish and inconsiderate ways, the ensuing suffering will gradually make us realize that our previous acts were not a good idea, and in that way, we become more and more knowledgeable about how to behave in ways that will not bring our own suffering in its wake.
The next time we are in a situation, where we would, in the past, have acted unwisely, we will, with our accumulated knowledge, act differently. So, each time we fail, the consequence is that we accumulate wisdom. Our mistakes are our greatest teachers, so please do not be afraid of making mistakes. The more mistakes we make, the wiser we get. Our accumulated knowledge about which actions are good and which are bad will eventually recreate us into very wise and compassionate humans.
When we suffer, we will learn humility like the prodigal son who suffered away from his father. As humility is the prerequisite to entering through the gates of wisdom and achieving cosmic consciousness, then it becomes clear that suffering is the key to compassion, which is the key to humility, which is the key to becoming a finished human being and achieving cosmic consciousness.
Achieving cosmic consciousness is the greatest gift there is, because then we have access to the revelation of the mystery of life and we will then know, from personal experience, that we are eternal beings, alive in an eternal universe where the basic tone is love. We will then be able to see that the darkness and the miserable fates were only the dark colours that God uses to paint an eternal picture of life, and that we did not suffer in vain. Our sufferings are the greatest gift because they bring us wisdom, humanitarianism, and universal love.
We can also put it like this: Our suffering is the price we pay for our eternal existence. If there were no suffering and no darkness, then there could be no light and love. In order for the loving God to paint a picture with all colours in it, he needs a pallet with all thinkable shades and hues. Without contrast there can be no eternal existence.
It is also important to underline that nobody suffers more than any other. We all have to live through the same amount of suffering to become finished human beings. It is not so that a person in Africa suffers more than a person in Japan when we look at their lives in the right perspective. We all have to go through the same to become the same: finished human beings who can only manifest universal love. But we cannot understand this, when we look at life in the one-life perspective. In the one-life perspective life is very unjust because one person lives a happy life in abundance and wealth, and another person dies of starvation at the age of two. And if we really only lived one life, then the universe would indeed be a very unjust place. But it is not, because our fates will be levelled out over a number of incarnations. And nobody has to suffer more than any other. We only have to suffer the exact amount necessary to convert us from egoistical, trigger-happy persons to all-loving, compassionate people. There is no unnecessary suffering in the universe; there is only the just amount which is the same for all living beings.
Pain and suffering is in reality love in disguise. The reason for our suffering is to develop us into beings that can only emanate and manifest universal love.
Extract from “Fate and karma in a Nutshell. How to understand your fate and change it for the better.” Here is a link to the book: https://amzn.to/3dxXD1V