Why do we have joy or suffering? Ever since mankind was created, people have wondered why we suffer or have joy. Why do good people suffer, and why do bad people sometime have joy? Religion tries to explain it. Some explain by saying it is God’s will, or only God knows. Sometimes we are told not to worry about what happens to us on earth; the good will be rewarded in heaven, while the evil will suffer in hell.
Our religion believes that it is our own soul that brings upon joy or suffering to us. In the first verse in our most sacred book, is the following:
Looking all over the world and through all ages, I find no one whom
understands the heart (soul). Ofudesaki 1-1
Why does God want us to understand the soul? Some people call it the heart or spirit. We all agree that our physical bodies decompose and return to the earth. Most religious people will also agree that there exists a spark or soul in our bodies that is eternal. Scientist cannot confirm the existence of the soul, but many of us believe that it does exist. As Descartes once said, “I think therefore I am”, “My soul exist, therefore I am” would be an analogous phrase for those who believe in the soul. Some believe that the spirit or soul leaves our bodies at death and enters the afterlife. Others like myself believe that our souls will continue for eternity in both heaven and earth (figure 1).
Let me further try to explain the soul. The soul is a positive bundle of energy from God. Each of us has the positive energies of God within us. These positive energies should only bring upon joy to us (see figure 2). But throughout past lives, we have committed evil acts or sins against each other. These negative acts or sins produce the negative energies that surround the pure soul (figure 3). Sufferings, inconveniences, and temptations are a result of these negative energies (figure 4). We reap what we have sowed; but it is not as simple as this.
When we understand the soul, we understand that inconveniences or sufferings we experience are the result of our own past evil actions. Do not become angered at the messengers of our souls. Do not blame your spouse, coworker, strangers, or even God. It is easy to act with retribution when you feel that you have been wronged. It is also easy to blame others, even God when suffering occurs. When we understand the soul, we must look within ourselves first. How do we do this? We must remove greed, arrogance, and self- love from our minds. These are the evil thoughts or dust that cause us to commit sins or evil acts against others.
If we can calm the mind and not act upon the evil thoughts in our minds when the soul delivers these inconveniences, we can gradually eliminate evil thoughts from our minds; and therefore eliminate the negative energies associated with our evil actions (figure 5). Eventually we can purify our minds and have only joy delivered by our pure positive soul (see figure 2 again). This is God’s promise of our salvation.
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