Last week I had a massage. It was a Christmas gift. It was so awesome: my muscles were tight, making it very painful at times and at the end when I stood up, I nearly passed out. I’ve heard stories about people getting massages and releasing all kinds of emotions; the explanation being that the body can store memories.
After my massage, I felt angry. For about two days straight. I suppose it could have been just the prolonged stress of having more things to do than time to do them and a seeming lack of payoff. Either way, I was angry at everyone and everything. The anger wasn’t a righteous anger; it was an egoic anger; anger about working so hard and not making very much progress with no real resolution in sight and my thinking was something like “What’s the point?”
Angrily, I listened to a 20 minute synopsis of “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle. There was something said that really got to me:
“One of the ego’s many erroneous assumptions, one of its many deluded thoughts is ‘I should not have to suffer,’ that thought itself lies at the root of suffering. Suffering has a noble purpose: the evolution of consciousness and the burning up of the ego.”
That second sentence stopped me in my anger tracks. I had to listen to it several times before I could actually hear it. And then I felt a measure of peace. I started thinking about other people again. Everyone that suffers doesn’t have to suffer in vain. There may be a point; a higher good being served. Being aware of the suffering of others may inspire emotions such as sympathy, empathy and compassion. Maybe even bringing us to the point where we can take on their perspective; walk a mile in their shoes. In that light, I can see how consciousness evolves and the ego burns up in a person. Sometimes we will have to go against the grain. And it will make us, all of us, more conscious, if we let it. Or it won’t. We get to choose.