Eckart Tolle first taught me about the “Power of Now” — that peace is the ultimate goal and we find that in the here & now. He taught me that any grasping for the past or projecting into the future is suffering, and why would you consciously suffer?
Yung Pueblo wrote, “the greatest oppressor is the untrained mind.” And– “The mind is purified when we release the weight of the past and yearnings for specific things in the future.”
These beliefs have deeply resonated with me. After reading them, I was the first to go to loved ones and preach “acceptance” as the key to unlocking personal healing.
Now, though, I have come to understand that there is something not quite right about these mantras. There is something important missing — like a page ripped out of a novel.
What’s missing is this: there is a good kind of suffering. There is magic in misery.
If suffering = the distance between what is currently true (aka present moment, here, what you have now) and what you wish were true — then there is some suffering that must be done.
There is a truer, more beautiful life that does not exist in the the present moment, but does exist in my imagination.
A life where BIPOC are no longer systematically oppressed or killed because of the color of their skin. A world where every mama has the means and resources to feed and shelter her babies and keep them safe. A world where wealth is distributed equally, global trade is optimized, and humans are free and safe to move around as they choose. A world where universal health care is accessible to all. A world where humans are no longer destroying the climate and depleting resources, but enhancing the earth and leaving it better than we found it.
So, no, Eckart and Yung, I do not agree that the current goal is to “end suffering by staying present.”
For me, the goal is to suffer well. As John Lewis says it, “get in some good trouble.” Because…