This is one of the most challenging principles for many, and asks deep questions of us – who is suffering, what are we choosing to take in and close off from, where are people suffering involuntarily, and where might we be willing to voluntarily accept suffering in order to be an ally and support others?
Through the 50 days for peace course, we explored several questions…
- Who is bearing the bulk of the suffering for unjust systems in our communities?
- How can we support systemic injustice being seen and attended to?
- What do you love more than retaliation?
- Where might you be willing to accept suffering voluntarily in order to reduce harm?
With so much in our culture based on judgement and blame, it can be easy to fall into guilt and feeling ‘not enough’. This principle asks us to re-centre those who are being impacted, be really conscious about what we let in and keep out, and without giving up care for our own capacity and limits. We also explored the resources, training and community support it takes to accept suffering in some of the ways people have been called to, and also all of the ways we can support people who are willing to make sacrifices.
Can we find the courage and capacity to take in the involuntary suffering of others, within our limits? How can we resource ourselves to do this? And centring their experience, is there some action we can take that might reduce harm?
If you are open to it, you could listen to this recording from a US customs and border protection facility, sensing into the suffering of all those voices in the recordings, and in yourself.