Neils Spirit Report: How to Manage Suffering




Listen below to the audio recording of Neil’s Spirit Report


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For this journey I’m going down to the Lower World
I begin in the hollowed out tree trunk that has a portal in the floor, in the ground, not a hole or an opening, so much, as an energetic vortex.

I slip through and immediately find myself descending in the darkness of what seems like space – black. and in a familiar way, guiding myself down towards the Lower World which is far far below.

On many previous journeys I followed an energy beam, or an energy thread, but on this journey I’m just gently floating down, traveling down through space.

Much quicker than I would have expected, I find myself surrounded by greenery, quite dense almost jungle like vegetation with very tall trees.
I can barely see any sky above me. The ground seems quite moist and there’s a little river and a canoe, because I do want to be away from being inside this dense jungle.
I get into the canoe and I push myself away from the bank, and very soon I find myself in a much more open area.
I’m completely out of the jungle area.
I’m in the canoe and there’s flat ground with reeds and grass around me.

We’re floating along and I ask the spirits of the Lower World, the benevolent helping Spirits that usually appear in animal form, and I ask them to please come and be with me, and help me understand something interesting and significant on this journey and in this place.
Immediately I see a very large bird with very large wings – much bigger than anything that I know about in ordinary reality.

And this bird takes me out of the canoe, it’s carrying me – it’s talons are around my shoulders, but not hurting me.

It takes me to a mountain where is there’s this enormous nest and it says to me that this is a place of wisdom.
Just like in cartoons where one would often see somebody going up a mountain to get wisdom from a guru, or hermit, or wise person who lived up in the mountains.
This bird is making me understand that I’ve come to a place of wisdom.
It asks me what do I want to know, which is not what I really wanted to be asked, because I wanted to just be told things and not have to initiate the topic. But what spontaneously comes from me is, I want to know why there is suffering, and how to manage suffering.

The bird sort of laughs. It’s more like telepathy that’s coming to me than conversation.
The bird says “ahh, that’s one of the big questions” and I say yes, because from my human point of view, suffering seems to be inherent – seems to be built into incarnation, into physical incarnation. That bodies can get injured and hurt and sick, and there is death, and there is loss – all kinds of suffering.

The bird tells – me it’s kind of joking, it says “well, that’s not very original, this is what humans have been grappling with forever, and that the Buddha said to the effect, that suffering is a basic part of human existence”.

I say well, if being physically incarnated with the implication of impermanence and breakdown and loss and uncertainty, is all inherent, that seems to be that suffering is inevitable.

The bird says that one of the consequences is to do what we are able to do, to enjoy ourselves, and help others enjoy themselves, and the phrase comes to mind of “eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die”, and bird says “yes it’s exactly that” – eat, drink and be merry, and help others to eat, drink and be merry.

There is in a way, an obligation, to help others enjoy themselves.
The correlation is to not do things that take away from other people enjoying their lives.
The question isn’t really about comprehending and understanding suffering, but rather saying suffering is a given, and how do we live despite suffering.
So the one thing is to really have it as our our mission – and this is just a sort of funny shorthand – to eat drink and be merry as best we can, and to make a point of helping others do that, and make a point of not getting in the way of other people doing.
Happiness, enjoyment, satisfaction – we should be making that a fundamental goal.

And its not being frivolous.
Being incarnated, means we are able to enjoy – be it food, be it drink, be it the pleasure of our senses. Love – love comes into it. When it says “eat, drink, and be merry”, that’s a shorthand for doing what is most satisfying and making one’s own satisfaction, and the satisfaction of others, the purpose, or the guiding principle, of being alive.
And of course there’s that Rolling Stone song “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”, which is the sort of anthem of humanity, certainly in 2023. So it’s a profound statement “I can’t get no satisfaction, and I’ve tried, and I’ve tried, and I’ve tried, and I’ve tried, I can’t get no satisfaction”.

It goes without saying that the Spirits communicating through the bird to me don’t mean mean sit in your lazy boy chair, eating chocolates and drinking beer, and then waiting for death.
“Satisfaction” can certainly include the seemingly mundane, like eating and drinking and watching TV, but it also includes the deepest spiritual satisfactions, and the deepest emotional satisfactions, of which loving, and experiencing love, are the deepest – the highlight.

And creativity – the emotional satisfaction that comes from creativity.

And the challenge is to experience satisfaction despite the threat of suffering, despite actual suffering, and despite knowing that there is impermanence, and everything – our lives, and the lives of those we love, and our possessions, and our homes, will all come to an end.

We should cultivate not being attached to our lives so much. So knowing that we will die, and it could happen any time, we shouldn’t grasp and cling to our incarnated lives. I say I understand that, it’s a challenge, but I do understand that.
What seems to be so terrifying is loss, and particularly, the potential loss of those we love.
The Spirits say yes, one of the things that we must do, is love, and be kind to those we love, wholeheartedly, and take full advantage of the opportunities that we have for loving, and for being kind, knowing that those opportunities are impermanent.

And I ask the bird if it will take me back to the canoe so I can see more.

And it says yes, but first it would like to show me one of its chicks, which is quite small, much bigger than a little chicken chick, it’s like the size of a cat. I stroke it very gently, giving it love and satisfaction, and enjoying love and satisfaction in being with it and giving it those strokes.

And all the while, my own personal objections are hovering in the background, of saying yes, but suffering can be so bad – whether it’s pain, physical pain, emotional pain, grief – how do we cope with it?
The bird says again “that’s a very very big question”.

The Buddhists have extensively trained in managing suffering, and if we want to manage suffering, that’s the birds recommendation – to develop Buddhist practices which would include meditation, all the things which are geared to reducing the attachment to self, and open up ones consciousness.

I say can you please take me back to the canoe now, and so I get lifted up, and going through the air, and the bird points to a volcano, and says “look the earth itself is changing, everything changes, nothing stays the same – it’s a built in fact, and instead of fighting it, we should look to find some acceptance”.

So much of our suffering the bird says, and I know this is a Buddhist notion, is because of attachment, and to reduce our attachment is the same as reducing suffering, and one can’t just have this as an idea, one has to develop this.

So I find myself back in the canoe, and there’s actually somebody in front rowing, pedaling, and it’s a person, even though this is in the Lower World where the Spirits usually appear in animal form, it’s a person.
I’m only seeing the person from the back but getting the impression that this is a person in sort of a primitive dress, like a tribal dress, somebody one could expect to see in the Amazon jungle. He turns to me, it is a he, and he communicates, I don’t think it’s by speaking English, but I understand – he says “we are all the same”.

So here’s somebody from a very different culture, very different background, very different experience, who is reminding me we are all the same.
Our hopes, our wishes, our loves, our fears. That’s the thing we have in common with everybody. We want satisfaction, we fear the loss of satisfaction.

And he says that if our societies were built on a foundation of the notion, the principle, of be kind – that would be the most transformative idea for humanity. For all of life on the planet, and the planet.
Be kind to oneself, and to other people, and animals, and trees, and the planet.
As he’s saying that the drums change, and he says to me go, go.
He knows I must now go, and in a magical way I lift off out of the canoe, and now he’s already far below me, and I’m going upwards and upwards, with a fast drum beat calling me back to the Middle World.
I go in through the portal, back inside the hollowed out tree, and step out into the woods.
I’m back from this Journey – a very interesting Journey to the Lower World.

Thank you Spirits, thank you.
The journey is over


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