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Pain as a Means to Happiness

It should not be inferred from the above that the attainment of happiness is necessarily consequent upon the incurrence of pain, or even that it is essential to undergo suffering to any degree to reach the Divine Altitudes of Bliss; the meaning intended to be conveyed, and the essence of our endeavor, is to show that pain, in itself, is not self-existent, being but one of the countless processes through which the Divine Soul within us is gaining manifold experience, leading up to, and eventually culminating in, its perfect self-consciousness, Omniscience, or, in other words, Ultimate Bliss.

To demonstrate in some measure that this is so, we must first consider the nature of pain, and, disregarding for the while, that which has its field of activity in our bodily organs, the purely physical aspect of pain, which concerns our object but little, confine our attention to the pain more intimately connected with our mental body, evidence of which we have in worry, anxiety, and grief, and, from its effects produced within us, define the cause of which it is the outcome. Now all pain, in whatever way manifest, comes of disharmony, and is the result of disturbing influences contending against that whose nature and attributes are opposed to conflict of any kind; thus we may say that mental pain is the direct outcome of the inner contention of outward happenings and influences against that which, within us, is unchangeable.

Seeing, then, that our anxiety, sorrow and other kindred qualities are but ripples on the surface of the calm lake of Divine Serenity within us, caused by the disturbing winds of earthly adversity, we must frame some method of thought by which to render ourselves proof against the attacks of these disturbing forces, or, at any rate, to nullify the effects which they have hitherto produced in us.

Upon retrospection and analysis, it will be found that anticipation of coming trouble is a very fruitful source of mental pain, occasioning in our minds those worries and uncertainties, so far-reaching in their action, which, being allowed to persist in their activity, are productive not only of unpleasant, but of harmful results. Now, we will do well, under conditions of this kind, to face our trouble calmly, assuring ourselves that our Inner Self, the True Self, is unconcerned with these outer emotions, looking upon them as mere transitory effects produced in the changeable material garments with which the True Self is clothed. We should assume the possession of those Divine attributes of the Soul, its strength, freedom, unchangeability and Divine calmness, and gradually, from this assumption, will evolve the actual fact of possession, and we will feel ourselves surrounded by a beneficent atmosphere of Peace, giving us comfort and consolation where, probably, tribulation and despair formerly held sway.

"Another method of thought," says Mrs. Besant, "is to train the mind to rest on the 'Good Law,' thus establishing a habit of content. Here the man dwells on the thought that all circumstances work within the Law, and that naught happens by chance. Only that which the Law brings to us can reach us, by whatever hand it may outwardly come. Nothing can injure us that is not our due, brought to us by our own previous willing and acting; none can wrong us, save as an instrument of the Law, collecting a debt due from us. The Law works ever to free us by exacting the debts that keep us in prison, and though it bring us pain, the pain is but the way to Happiness. All pain, come it how it may, works for our Ultimate Bliss."

Thus, as we train ourselves to depend for our mental sustenance upon the Surety resident within us, we become outwardly more steadfast, less moved by conflicting circumstances taking place around us, and Contentment, reaching towards us, enfolds us in its mantle of Peace and restful Happiness.

Pain may also be said to be indirectly a means to happiness, in that, when occurring in others, it affords us opportunities of effort on their behalf. Now, altruistic effort, in its truest aspect, may be understood to be dual in its action, inasmuch as it tends to achieve the object towards which it is exerted, in many cases fulfilling it, and concurrently exhibits a reflex action upon the one putting forth the endeavor, bearing him fruit in some measure of spiritual progress. In consideration of this thought, then, whenever opportunity arises or occasion requires, our most consoling words and loving actions should be forthcoming to render spiritual aid to those in the merciless grasp of adversity, thus providing a "Light in the Wilderness " for those poor souls who, like belated wayfarers in the night, toil wearily on through the darkness of their spiritual want, a light to guide their wandering footsteps to the peaceful refuge of Divine Repose.

Constantly striving thus, assuring ourselves, inspiring others, there evolves a consciousness of growing Grace within us; pain, hitherto paramount, is driven forth, and Happiness, triumphant, enthrones itself within our hearts, until, at length, sweeping away the darkening clouds of earthly doubt and uncertainty, the inner pent-up Radiance bursts forth and envelops us in the pure noon-day sunlight of perfect Knowledge, which comes to them, who, losing thought for Self strive with unceasing love for others."

Those who have a heart to do good never need complain for lack of opportunity.
—M. Henry

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Edward H. Woof

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