With Cindy Lindsay Rael
Sri Kaleshwar used to talk about the suffering of the Saints. He said the Saints could endure suffering in a way in which the “suffering was not suffering”. That phrase always fascinated me. But it became an obsession when I was having some suffering in my own life. What does this mean? How can we do this?
Suffering will come in every life. This episode covers what I found about why we suffer and how we can meet suffering to clear our karma, and lighten our experience.
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This is the next in my series on facing breast cancer. I was diagnosed about 6 months ago and I have been going through my treatment and am awaiting now surgery. I feel I have learned a few things during that time that are important for me but also may be important for others. I have been wanting to share those with people. And today I want to talk about facing suffering.
But let me say first that my suffering was minimal. Just a few short episodes which I knew would end. My heart goes out to those who suffer from much worse pain and often that pain is unceasing for years on end. I do not know how they do that. I will not pretend today that I do know how to do that.
And at the end of this episode, I want us to do a short meditation for those we know who are having this kind of suffering. They need our love.
We are in this together. Suffering is part of the lessons of our karma. It will happen in every life. It is so important to be able to present to that suffering in our own lives and the lives of others.
But how do we do that? That is the question today.
The basic spiritual approach is switching your mind and seeing what the divine is trying to teach or bring us. Amid emotional, interpersonal, physical and psychological distress, the key is to switch our mind and experience.
As Krishnamurti said: “The real problem is the mind itself and not the problem the mind has created and tries to solve.”
But also, where the mind goes, our energy flows. Energy consistently or intently turned to something in the world becomes an attachment. From attachment comes desire, expectations, and further embroilment in the illusion. So, training our minds to non-attachment is a basic practice of the eastern spiritual traditions and enlightenment.
I have talked a lot about this from several angles in my previous Soul Talk episodes. But I have to admit, during my cancer treatment, I could see how much harder it was for me to detach from physical pain. So, I want to talk today about some experiences I had with my pain and discomfort, and the experiments I did to try to be non-attached to that suffering.
Sri Kaleshwar said: “Once if you come as a physical body you need to suffer, no matter you are an avatar, you are a Siddha, you are a Maharishi or all the time the divine is with you and around you. Still, you need to face it.”
But how to face it? Ideally, we are non-attached to it. Ideally, we see the lesson of God/ the Mother in it for us. We get on that lesson, switch our minds and attachments to divine states of love, gratitude, and divine connection.
But I can tell you from my experience, even though I felt practiced and ready to do this from working it for years with life’s problems, this current physical pain threw me. I needed to try to understand how to get there even in that physical pain.
When Suffering Is Not Suffering
Sri Kaleshwar used to talk about the suffering of the saints and that they could endure it a way in which the “suffering was not suffering.” That phrase always fascinated me. But it became an obsession when I was suffering. So, I am sharing what I learned.
- Kaleshwar said about Sri Ramakrishna and Jesus: “Once if unbelievable Divine love is flowing in you, then you can’t see that pain. Like the big boss Jesus what he went through. When that unbelievable Divine love is flowing, then you don’t care about the pain what you’re facing. It didn’t really hit him, but still it’s a kind of pain.”
So, we have to find our way to that love. The suggestions I will give later all try to get us there.
- Before we go to things to try, it is worth looking a bit more at this bigger picture of suffering in general. Sri Kaleshwar also linked suffering to learning to cope as a spiritual student and Master when you are trying to get something higher from the Mother and she is testing you: "Mother Divine is unbelievably loving, same time She’s the woman of the unbelievable testing. Wherever you’re coming to Her very close, that much high magnetic vibration comes on you not to receive it, facing a lot of troubles. Any person in the universe who was really working for high Divinity they’ve been through.”
- Believe in every illness there is a calling from Her the Divine Mother/ God. Our souls are sparks of HER and SHE is calling us higher through this play of karma, illusion, and suffering.
- Sai Baba Said: “Mental and bodily processes are samsara. The contact of any two things is samsara. By going away to a forest, you cannot escape samsara. Your present condition has been brought about by yourself. What is the use of irritation at it? This Deha Prarabdha (present birth) is the result of the karma done by you in former births. This body was, therefore, born. The jiva takes birth in the body to work out former Karma.”
- Sure we are working out karma. And maybe we are not great Saints SHE is testing. But then again maybe we are. The remedy is still the same. We have to find our way to stitha pregnata/ nonattachment with what comes. And it seems the right vibration of Love is part of that answer. As is the reframing to the real soul issue of healing or “paying” Karma.
- We do have to find a way to ‘enjoy our karmas’ as Sri Kaleshwar used to say. A strong soul and third eye really help here to see through the illusion play and into the paly of the soul. But even if we do not know the soul’s reasons, we can still need to know “its and illusion.” approach.
- Anandamayi Ma said: "By sorrow does the Lord dispel sorrow and by adversity does He destroy adversity. When this is done, He sends no more suffering - this must be born in mind at all times. Who is it that loves and who that suffers? He alone stages a play with Himself. The individual suffers because he perceives duality. Find the One everywhere and in everything and there will be an end to pain and suffering."
Observation and Experiments in Trying to Get There
In my experiments with this, I noticed a few things that I think may help.
First, the suffering (like everything) is amplified when our attention is on it. But it is sometimes so insistent at the bodily level that getting our attention off it seems impossible. I was a mess at this and really had to work at it.
I noticed that as I thought about and worried about my condition I just spiraled down. After a while of that attending, I would even get to the point where the pain, discomfort, nausea, or lack of energy had me feeling ‘I simply cannot do it anymore’. That is a frightening place. So then, fear was added to the equation of low states of consciousness bringing me down further into suffering.
I guess we all fear death. Perhaps it feels we are headed that direction when our body is that weak or distressed. But beyond that, there are also feelings of helplessness, loss of control, and fear of suffering itself.
Once you feel like this is just slogging hard. No one wants to be there long. But that is the trick about illness; you might be. So, we eventually have to figure out how to do this physical suffering thing in a way that at least wins our karmas and hopefully makes the suffering easier.
- One remedy: breathe. Just breathe. Breathe and watch your breath. It’s simple. It was the first meditation technique you ever used, wasn’t it? Time to try it again. You can add chanting in your head very strong vibrational bijas “So” on inbreath and “Ham” on the out-breath. This evens out the energies in your body. With this breath, Surya and Chandra nadis (ida and Pingala) on either side of the central spinal column, begin to even out and allow for the flow of energy up the spine.
- You could use NirviKalpa Samadhi breathing as well to center and calm (see instruction attached below this blog online a divinelineage.org).
- Breathing practices take the mind down. It helps us to get out of that spiraling down of our attention to the suffering. It is also deeply calming and centering to the body.
- We are in pain our breath shallows and gets erratic. I noticed I was even holding my breath with the pain. Diaphragmic breathing (plain old deep breathing) has been found to reduce pain, increase relaxation, and elevate mood. All very useful when you are suffering. So, if you cannot do any of the other breath practices, just try to breathe deeply.
- My experience is that suffering closed my heart. I did not know it was closed. All I knew is that my whole world seemed to narrow down to just my body and a few inches around it. It and I became all about the pain.
- When I was feeling at my worst, a dear divine soul came and gave me a few minutes of foot massage. We know from the teachings of Sri Kaleshwar that massaging the feet with love opens the heart chakra. I can tell you, it worked.
- My heart opened that ‘closed in’ feeling, of only being able to attend to the pain in the body, lifted. I could feel the love of this dear person. I could feel the love in me that had gotten lost underneath attending to the suffering. It was truly a divine gift.
- When your heart is open, find things to smile and laugh about. Both of these releases feel-good chemicals in our brains. With a broad smile that crinkles your eyes (even if you are just faking it), you can feel the cascade of relief entering.
- For laughter, it has several clear biological healing benefits. For one it forces a kind of diaphragmic breath. There are also a host of positive biochemical results (For more detail on the biochemical results of laughter see: https://heartmdinstitute.com/stress-relief/healing-power-laughter/).
- Sri Kaleshwar used to have a big belly laugh every day. “Laughter is the best medicine” as they say.
- Both smiling and laughing also switch our attention. That is very important for switching our attention off the suffering.
Memories and Thoughts
- What can also open your heart by deeply remembering (to the point of feeling it in your body) loving moments. Rehearse those and feel that love even now.
- I seem to be selling this approach of reframing a lot of my Soul Talk episodes. But I realized that when I was attending to my suffering, I was internally telling myself “Oh my goodness, I feel so sick. I feel awful.” I needed to stop that and to reframe it to something positive like: “Look how aggressively this is eating my cancer” or “It is doing its job right now. Way to go. Go for it. You do your thing. I will hang in. Right now, this is attacking my cancer. Right now, this is getting rid of cancer.”
- Work to put a different mindset on the bodily sensations and to make them easier to experience. The different mindset did make the suffering not so suffering. But that reframe was doable for me since my immediate suffering was actually from my treatment.
- Can you reframe that if the suffering is the pain of the illness itself? I think the reframe is in: what is the point of the illness at the soul level? Illness did come to you for your soul to advance. Talk to your self about that. Convince yourself of that and keep reminding yourself.
Give it Away to a Divine Soul or Deity
- You have an illness --This is a soul issue for your development. For sure the Divine Souls and Deities want you to stay on your soul path. For sure they show up for you asking help in that. You can say as Kaleshwar says: “I am pretty good cooked.”
- Then, “I am not handling this well, but I want to.” “Even in these moments of this pain, I want to stay on my soul path. I want to do what is highest for my soul. Please help me.” I can testify, they will help.
- Won’t go through the whole process as we have talked about it a lot before on Soul Talk. But you can do this one with a picture of the deity you keep by your bed.
All Is Illusion
- I found I needed a lot of these earlier things to lighten it enough to get to even trying to feel the huge divine love Sri Kaleshwar said Ramakrishna and Jesus had. And I am no Jesus or Ramakrishna.
- I is worth a try because suffering is an issue of the soul’s advancement and we are spiritual seekers. We need to try to go for it.
- I remember a woman I met the first time I went to Sri Kaleshwar’s ashram in India. She told me that, as a child, a dog had bitten off her nose. It was very painful, and she had many reconstructive surgeries. She told me that during that she had figured out how to not feel the pain as pain. I asked her how. Her answer to how was less than satisfying at the time. She said something like; “It was an illusion.”
- Unhelpful as that felt at the time, it was right. Certainly, this fits with the stories of Saints like Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and his cancer, and Jesus smiling on the cross.
Formula: Love, Attention, Vibration, Surrender
But now, we have our list of how to get there. I am going to abstract the formula for you as:
Love, Attention, Vibration, Surrender. I am giving it as formula here because there is an infinite number of ways to apply this and you may need to experiment a bit to find ones that work for you.
Open Your Heart
Change Your Attention and Belief to Love and the Divine
Attend to and Input High Vibration
As your high vibration if you cannot find that love, find and hold any high vibration. These vibrations can be found in things like memories: golden divine moments, moments of huge heart-opening, joy, gratitude, devotion to God or Master. If you use memory, just hold the memory strong enough to feel that same vibration or feeling in you now.
The high vibration can be accessed as well with meditation, mantra, yantra, power objects, etc. Though I have to say, I found it hard to remember and do a full mantra when I was in pain. I had to go down to very short (single bija) mantras: Om, Hum, or my personal mantra. Your personal mantra will call the Guru to be with you—so if you have one it is particularly good. I can testify, the seed vibrations of bijas are real and strong.
You may need to experiment a bit to get the vibration you need. You will know when you find it because it will create expansiveness and inner peace.
Into the High Vibration Energy You Found
- talk yourself into letting go into that high vibration. Let it take you. I found sometimes if I could get strong attention on the divine, that attention would just start to take me. Then other times I would need help by talking with myself. “Let go.” “This is what is real.”
- used this formula inputting all sorts of different variables. Nearly everything worked to some extent to make the suffering not suffering. The pain, nausea would just fade away and I would be perfectly fine in that altered state. However, I had to keep myself in that state to affect. As soon as my attention went elsewhere, body symptoms came back in.
- even those small moments of relief were welcome. I believe as I get better at this, I will hold that longer. But I also believe that just doing this practice is part of the point of healing. As I get better at this, my inner consciousness changes to meet it. Healing is happening.
- more time spent in practice the more we just hang out in that Oneness which Anandamayi Ma said was an end to suffering. The more we hang out there the more we entrain to it and become it.
- We are not ill, we are infinite. I found that focusing on that infinite self with love was very healing. What do I mean by that focusing on the infinite self? For me, it meant seeing the spaces in between rather than focusing on sense objects of pain or body or thoughts. Trying to feel formless within me. Trying to feel the formless nature of God.
- Metaphysical quantum physics people tell us that we are mostly empty space. Matter is just a tiny part of even the atoms and cells that make up our bodies. They see this “empty space” as filled with “information” which guides the actions of matter. But we also know that as God/ Divine Mother energy and soul energy. It is the Divine Mother/ God which is the energy of all things. So, I see all this empty space as filled with God.
- We are particles of God. We are infinite energy of the soul. This body is a very minute part of who we are.
- Matter is filled with the great potentiality of all things. That is the formless nature of God. There is a nada bindu point in everything in creation. Within us, this is our built-in potential to transform--to be like God. There is a God within.
- The more we touch this place with love, the more we transform even the matter of us to become that energy of God in our life. We transcend illusion, we heal, we love, we live our lives in peace and gratitude. And even when we are sick and in pain, we are still infinite.
- do as Anandamayi Ma said—"the one in everything in life. That is seeing Her. That is touching God. That is an enlightened life.”
Now lets us take time to think with deep love for those who need it. If you are someone who needs it, just receive it. For those who are sending, think with love on all those who may need it right now. If you have someone in your life who needs it, think of them. Just open your heart and think with pure love. Not about their troubles, but about their greatness, their beauty, their strength, their health, your love for them. We are in this together so let’s start giving to each other.
Nirvikalpa Samadhi Pranayama Instructions
You may start your day and/ or any meditation session with a practice called Nirvikalpa Samadhi Pranayama. In essence, this practice is nostril breathing in coordination with the chanting of two powerful bijas (seed letters). Though this is best done upon first waking, you may also do it whenever you need.
1. In the morning when you first awaken, get up and use the toilet but DON’T drink any water, eat or bathe.
2. Return immediately to your bed or meditation room and sit comfortably to meditate.
3. Place your right thumb (earth finger) to the right side of your nose and your right ring finger (water finger) to the left side.
4. Close your right nostril with your right thumb.
5. Inhale through your left nostril, silently repeating, “YAM”.
6. Open and exhale through your right nostril, silently repeating “MAM”.
7. Continue breathing and inwardly chanting the bijas as outlined in steps 4 through 7, You can repeat the bijas several times per inhalation and exhalation, or a single time chanted very slowly.
8. Focus your attention on the sensation of breathing, the air passing through your nostril, the lungs and chest expanding, the abdomen pulling the diaphragm down and the belly rising.
9. Continue for a minimum of 10 minutes maximum of 15 minutes. Once you feel the altered state of consciousness keep going for about 1-2 minutes more and then you can just float in the feeling.
Cindy Lindsay Rael
has been an energy healer and teacher for 25 years. She has studied with Sri Kaleshwar since 2001. She is a graduate of Kaleshwar's Soul University in India and is a certified teacher of the ancient mantra and yantra systems. Prior to her work in the Vedic tradition, she studied, conducted healing, and taught in the Inca traditions of Peru. Cindy also earned a PhD. in Psychology and was a university professor and consultant.
Cindy conducts both distance and in-person healing sessions and teachings. To read more on her approach to Sai Shakti Healing see www.divinesoulhealer.com. In addition, Cindy offers Divine Baby Blessings to pregnant mothers and works with many issues of the Holy Womb (www.wombhealing.com).