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Suffering and Liberation

Posted on by Amanda Rice

I am back home in Massachusetts, sipping in the sweet taste of spiritual nourishment. I spent the past week at the Creating Change conference, and brought home the renewed conviction that societal change happens when humans heal themselves and then their communities.

"Hurt people hurt people," I heard Saturday, in a workshop on Suffering and Liberation. First, the group discussed the experience of individual suffering: isolation, trauma, grief, hopelessness, anxiety, addiction, and self-hate. Though we experience those states individually, they are very human responses to pain. Every one of those experiences has come up -- repeatedly -- during recording sessions for The Queerituality Project.

When the suffering is caused by conflict with our spiritual community, it can be even harder to know where and how to find healing and liberation. But over and over, I hear from participants who have found ways to make spirituality a part of that process.

Terna, a Queerituality participant, told me something that resonates now: 

"In Islam there’s a verse in the Quran that says that Allah is closer to you than your own jugular vein. Which means that God of course knows you far better than you would ever know yourself... I ask the question, 'If God is closer than my own jugular vein, how could I despise myself?'"

In this weekend's workshop, participants broke into pairs to explore these questions:

  • How do you suffer? 
  • How do you find liberation?

I am going to ponder them tonight. I hope you will, too. Please share your thoughts as you are moved. I'd love to hear what is helping our community find liberation.

In peace,
Mandi

P.S. The workshop was led by Claudia Horwtiz. If you'd like more of her wisdom, you can read her words in The Spiritual Activist.