Ask Deepak: How Can We Be Blessed If There's Suffering and Pain?
By Deepak Chopra
March 31, 2010
Each week, spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra responds to Oprah.com users' questions with enlightening advice to help them live their best lives.
Q: I get stuck on the meditation, "May all beings be blessed." How can all beings be blessed at the same time? The life of one being will sometimes involve the death of another being. It seems that life feeds on life in order to survive. Even vegetarians who wear no leather must claim some part of the earth as their living space and banish and/or kill the insects and creatures that might have lived there. Or Jains, who go to extreme lengths not to injure other beings, must injure their own bodies in the process of saving other beings. Does one need to make a distinction between physical blessing and spiritual blessing in order to justify this seeming paradox that life feeds on life in order to survive?
— Jeannette D., El Lago, Texas
My first instinct is to ask if you are a worrywart because this is like somebody asking if we go to heaven by getting airplane tickets. You don't have to frustrate yourself by asking ultimate questions for which there are no answers. A prayer is a prayer. It expresses warm feelings, wishes and benediction. Prayers weren't made up by philosophers with PhDs.
But on reflection, I realized that your question is more indirect. You aren't worried about Jains and vegans hurting the carrots they pull out of the ground. You are worried about the existence of cruelty and pain. The issue of suffering isn't resolved for you, and I admire that. But let's focus first on your suffering. If you experience life as something full of risk, danger, unfairness, inhumanity, etc., that means you are a feeling person. Having me resolve a point of morality isn't going to ease those feelings.
What will? Taking your empathy seriously and doing one of two things. Either go out and help others who are in suffering and pain, or begin to walk the path of self-awareness. They aren't incompatible, of course. I think you will find, once you begin to help others, that suffering doesn't kill the human spirit. We are here to question and yearn. If we deal with our nature in a healthy way, this yearning makes us grow. If we don't deal with our nature in a healthy way, we sit around and worry with no results, but more worry.