When we are ill and don’t know it, we are in a state of ignorance or delusion. We don’t view ourselves as sick, so we don’t believe it’s necessary to go to a doctor or take any medication. We fail to recognize our own need for care and support.
The same is true of someone suffering from afflictions of the mind—ill will, ego, doubt, and frustration due to unfulfilled desires. We rarely recognize the symptoms, and if we do, we don’t know how to change in order to live with greater harmony and personal power. In order to understand what is limiting us, we must learn how to see, isolate and intentionally respond to these mental obstacles.
In Sri Lanka, people frequently talk about peace. For more than 21 years, our country has been struggling for peace in a process complicated by politics, religion, economics and ethnicity. We dream of living without conflict. We long for peace to bloom in our nation.
But sometimes I feel this peace is only a dream. How can we overcome the tremendous obstacles in order to live in harmony here?
During one of my spiritual travels in northeastern Sri Lanka, I happened to stop at a tiny rural village. While eating a simple meal, I met a very poor, innocent-looking girl. She was about 16, and had spent her entire life in this war-torn area of poverty and despair.
In our conversation, it became clear that she had no concept of life without violence. She had lost her relatives, feared for her own life, and experienced the ravages of hunger and homelessness on a daily basis. I was struck by her suffering. Her appearance conveyed only a hint of what she had endured. She looked calm and peaceful, but underneath that serene countenance was a bubbling cauldron of pain, fear, hopelessness, and despair.
Most striking of all was that she was completely unaware of the effects of her chronic mental anguish. She had not even a vague understanding that her suffering created such insurmountable obstacles to peace and harmony in her own mind. She knew nothing other than what her life had shown her, and was so completely immersed in her suffering that she could not see the toll it had taken.
A few days later, I was in the bustling city of Colombo. I saw many people going about their business, and noticed that same innocent, eerily peaceful look that I’d first noticed about the young girl. I had to wonder what kind of suffering they were experiencing under their own smiling masks.
We always sympathize with the unhappiness and sorrow of others. We help people all the time, and this is good and kind of us. But we fail to realize that we ourselves are suffering. Everything that happens in the world affects us all. The relentless desire for more of everything is a driving factor that leaves behind unhappiness and discontentment. Sound Healing