how to deal with the pain of the world

(eastern 2004)


  1. On the pain of being a witness without actually being able to help
  2. On the connection between the pain of the world and large-scale karma
  3. On our hearts not yet being equipped to bear the pain of the world
  4. On the fact that large-scale karma is part of individual karma
  5. On enduring and dedicating pain and the denial of little pleasures
  6. On whether each one of us carries guilt for the pain of the world
  7. On how we can live with the frightening appearances of transcendency
  8. On “what can we do but pray”
  9. Finally: a glimpse of ananda - quiet steady joy

- notes (especially related to ptss)
- attachment: about the prayer


Nowadays, pain and suffering from all over the world can be seen everywhere else, as it happens (1). As witnesses we are barely capable of enduring that pain, let alone helping the victims. This is because of the large scale, frequency and horrible details in which pain and sorrow manifest themselves, going far beyond the normal human scale. Besides, as virtual witnesses we are unable to respond with immediate and direct help from ourselves, nor are we capable of preventing new pain and new sorrow from happening. This leads to confusing emotions such as shock, denial, negation, guilt, anger, grief - comparable with post-traumatic reactions (2). The essay “praying for the world” presents an understanding framework in that respect. It also holds tools by means of which these feelings can be transformed into a constructive direction. Into compassion. Although the hindu-buddhist concept of karma plays a crucial role, the presented vision intends to be of a multi-religious as well as humanist nature (3). The core of that vision is: we are members of one family, all of us. We have to take care of each other. If that is not possible by direct help - then mentally, by prayer. To that end we have to enlarge our hearts. The practise of praying will contribute.


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