ON SUFFERING AND COMFORT
Truly, few indeed are those who have walked the valleys and climbed the peaks of this planet earth of whom it might be said that they had never needed comfort. –
Those few would surely have been far from the most profound of men. Not needing comfort is certainly no proof of a particular strength of the soul. –
Just as a deep ocean, its waves whipped up by a storm, takes much longer to return to calm than a shallow pond, so too will a rich and profound soul be far more violently disturbed by certain experiences and suffer from them for a long time, while shallow souls incapable of penetrating any profundity, since they possess nothing profound about them, will overcome their grief overnight. –
Comfort is only needed by him who has been shaken in his profundity so that the bitter waters of suffering threaten to make the sources of his earthly happiness unpalatable.
There are more people needing comfort on this earth than there are the materially destitute, whose numbers are indeed large enough…
Unfortunately it is only through suffering that their depth is revealed to many people; for in joy, which can in fact lead to the same depth, one is already satisfied with the little provided by surface pleasures.
To higher knowledge all suffering in this earthly life must be seen as falsehood and illusion; only: as all falsehood must in the end serve the truth, so too must suffering, which is abundantly engendered by this earth, help joy reach its victory.
Herein lies all the power of true comfort, if comfort is not merely to be an attempt to persuade you to forget your suffering. –
In wishing to forget your suffering its falsehood will certainly betray you!
In seeking to make your suffering serve truth, however, you will surely not try to forget it! –
With courage you must stand face to face with the suffering which has befallen you and learn to overcome it. Yet overcoming it does not mean: forgetting. It would be of even less use to you to want to withdraw like a coward from theexperience of suffering, to want to cast out onefalsehood in this way for the sake of another. –
Behold! The great masters in the art of living have never like cowards shunned suffering!
They were able to suffer, just as they were able to surrender themselves to joy.
They knew that all suffering was but the condition and pledge of joy, as long as the experience of suffering is freed from falsehood and from the realm of delusion. –
You surely cannot eradicate suffering from your earthly life; but you can change the way you perceive it and thereby devalue its importance. For all suffering is only placed in your path so that it maybe de-valued by you. –
In this way you will change from being a slave to earthly suffering into its master and conqueror!
You will experience suffering only in such a way that it takes you onwards, whereas previously it threatened to destroy you! –
To be sure, it is not too difficult to encounter earthly suffering in this way; yet you will never become the master of suffering if you seek to withdraw from experiencing it! –
Only he who is able to feel suffering in the depths of his soul will be able finally to know it as falsehood. –
Only then will he be able to conquer his suffering and attain the comfort that shines upon him from the innermost certainty of knowledge of all truth.
We shall speak here of this comfort, alone worthy of the name.
I will show you that you can partake of it, within your inner being; then you will have no need to seek comfort from others.
The comfort offered by others will only free you from your fetters if it shows you how to liberate yourself; the art of doing this can be learnt from what is written in this book.