ISE Inquiries: Suffering and Activism
August 22, 2009 14:02

ISE Inquiries
Diane Musho Hamilton
Written by Corey W. deVos


What About Suffering?

The observation that suffering is a defining texture of the human condition has long been a cornerstone of all the major spiritual traditions, prompting many to believe that taking up a spiritual practice will somehow alleviate suffering in our lives and in the world. Which it will—though maybe not in the way some might imagine. Tasting the infinite Absolute at the core of this and every moment, the world is seen just as it is: radiant, perfect, and whole—even where it is dark, flawed, and broken. But our experience of the relative world does not simply vanish in a puff of existential idealism—both the pains AND the pleasures of our daily lives are intensified, often to an unimaginable degree. Ken Wilber has used a phrase that perfectly conveys our relationship to suffering from the perspective of spiritual practice: "hurts more, bothers you less," which means that the more we free ourselves from attachment to either joy or suffering, the more we can contain and fully experience our joy and our suffering—that is, we no longer find ourselves in pleasure or pain, but rather find pleasure and pain IN ourselves, as we see that we are infinitely bigger than the vicissitudes of this or any other moment.


Unique Self and Activism

"There is no spirituality without activism." -Diane Musho Hamilton

At a certain point in any spiritual journey, the fruit of our realization ripens on the vine and drops effortlessly back to the ground, seeding future generations with whatever degree of love, clarity, and vision we've been able to glean in our own lifetimes. In many ways this can be seen as the pinnacle of spiritual development, the most sacred stage of our mystical maturity—reflected in Buddhism as the Tenth Ox-Herding picture or the Bodhisattva's Vow, and in Christianity as the Sacred Heart of Christ that is exercised as selfless devotion to the poor, the powerless, and the disadvantaged. After all, what good is your own realization if it doesn't help make the world a better place? How enlightened can you be if you can't express spontaneous kindness to a stranger at a gas station? If your spiritual practice does not directly translate to more love, more bliss, and more freedom in the world, does it really amount to anything more than self-absorption or inert navel-gazing? What good is Big Mind or Big Heart, if you don't also have Big Hands to carry your divinity back into the world?



Do you want to realize the unique purpose of your life? Do you want to share your unique gifts with the world? If you do, then please join us this December, over the New Year holiday, as we gather on the shore of the great Pacific Ocean to begin a historical five-year journey. This journey will help you realize that no one else alive can make the contribution to humanity that you can. The first year of Integral Spiritual Experience begins with you: The Personal Spiritual Journey, Your Unique Self.

Together, with an incredible list of teachers including Diane Musho Hamilton, Sally Kempton, Marc Gafni, Ken Wilber, and Jean Houston, we will take a personal, hands-on guided exploration and practice of your unique life and purpose as it manifests through your passion, talents and personal history. Come alive to your unique service by finding stillness, breaking through resistance and fear, listening to your calling, and ultimately taking full responsibility for the deep dimensions of your being and becoming. For more information and to register for this First Annual International Flagship Integral Event, visit




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