"How can I remain positive in the face of so much horror in the world?"
I have a mental health question for you.
Sometimes I feel I am on the edge. Just this side of sane. I listened to NPR tonight for about 10 minutes. I could take no more. First a story on the homeless. Then more horror stories. The Earth grows warmer, men kill men, woman and children. The Russians drop leaflets saying they will "kill everyone" who does not leave Grozny. Aghhhh. Enough. Enough pain, enough killing, enough rape!
The great teachers say, "All is well". Help me. I am having a hard time getting it. How can I maintain a positive dream in the face of so many horrors?
I know that the pain you feel about the suffering on this planet is very real. And the question you pose is one of the great spiritual questions - it is an age long, complicated question, one that I think sensitive, compassionate people throughout time have deeply agonized over. How can all be well when we look around and see such insanity and cruelty?
I have thought long and hard about this myself, and this is some of what has come to me that helps when I feel lost in the pain I see around me.
Wayne Dyer tells a story about a question his spiritual teacher asked in class one day. The question posed went something like this: "What would be the response of an enlightened being if someone came to a party in t-shirt and jeans, and everyone else was in formal attire?"
The answer is: "He wouldn't notice."
As I thought about your question, the pain you feel behind it, and how to address it, this story, along with many others, came to mind. So many teachings deal with this very question - but I think the gist of it is here in this one. I think we notice what we focus on.
There is a saying: if a hungry man is walking down the north shore area in San Francisco where all the brightly lit, flashing porno clubs are, all he will notice will be pizza parlors. In other words, we will notice what we put our attention on. We notice what our own consciousness level is geared toward. What we see outside of us can only match, or will be drawn to, whatever we are carrying around inside of us. The pain you feel so acutely in the world must match the pain you carry inside of you. My question to you would be: what part of you believes in pain?
As you choose to work with and clear that out, your attention will naturally shift, and what you will notice, or vibrate in attunement with, as the great masters do, will be a higher order of understanding. This is what the first story suggested. For all of us, until we make that shift, it is like trying to explain to a caterpillar what flying is like. We can't even really comprehend it. It is only until the caterpillar has gone through its Cultivate Life! that it can know this. It changed its vibration, or energy level - and now it sees life from an entirely different perspective. Until then, what we believe in, the life we have lived, seems so real to us. So too, this higher level of knowing what is Real is there for you, but you must go through a Cultivate Life! to get there. As you raise your energy level and comprehension, as you are able to look at life - as the butterfly does - from a higher perspective, you will come to an understanding that is on an entirely different level than how you see the world now. How to do this? The best and only path I know of is through meditation. Constant, consistent, deep meditation.
There is another question I would pose that is a great analogy for this. It is, how do you remove a blue dye which has been added to water, without pouring out the water? The answer: add more water until finally the blue is so distilled it is no longer there. This is what meditation does. It adds more and more Light and Love to your being until finally your understanding is made clear - and you do not see suffering in the same way. You see Love. And you only feel Love.
So, I invite you to focus only on that which is Love - do not add reality to the belief in pain in this world. Clear out your own pain, and you will not add to this illusion, or distortion of what is real, by believing in it. I believe that it is a good thing to work to alleviate suffering, but I also believe the best way to do that, and the only way to do it and maintain sanity, is to see through the illusion of it. That is why the great masters know that all is well. To do that, we must have a high enough level of consciousness to see that suffering is not the deepest truth. We are all only energy, and energy does not die. It can get distorted however. But that is only an illusion as well, and that is corrected through meditation. And this is the great irony of life, the great spiritual dance. It takes a while to get it. Just focus on becoming the butterfly.