Aboru Aboye. Ogbo ato asure iworiwofun. Àse.
In today’s world there is so much stress, strain, pain, sorrow, and pressure of all sorts. Some of us are in sorrow, strain and excessive states of stress due to the pressures of the environment which surrounds us. Others are suffering mentally and emotionally due to unhealthy conditions in the home and dysfunctional relationships. Others suffer due to inherited congenital defects. Some are suffering from physical, psychological and emotional illness and disorders. Others suffer from loneliness, melancholy, depression and from the sensation of feeling out of place or misunderstood.
Many suffer from things that are not their fault and which they did not cause. Life can be difficult. Life can be hard. Even though we know that there is a supreme person, Olódùmarè, who loves us and cares for us, it is hard to accept certain situations in which we find ourselves in. During times of great pain and suffering just listening alone to speeches, talks and lectures about Olódùmarè somehow is not sufficient to heal the pain and wounds in our hearts and lives.
What we need is to see and feel Olódùmarè manifested in and through flesh-and-blood people to derive comfort, hope and confidence. We cannot always fathom the plan and purposes of Olódùmarè in our lives. We cannot fathom the mystery of suffering and pain especially when we are the ones who are personally being overwhelmed with suffering, pain and anguish, and which seems in all honesty senseless, meaningless and purposeless in our lives.
It is easy to speak about the love of Olódùmarè and His wonderful plans for us, the love of Ifá and the love of the irunmole-orisa when we are enjoying health, means, opportunities and a success sustaining environment. But when pain, mishap, great suffering, anxiety and fear comes knocking in person at our doorstep, it can be hard, difficult and even impossible, to see, feel and acknowledge the reality of Olodumare, His love and His glorious plans for us. How can we accept, feel, see and find love in suffering, in worry, in anxiety and in fearful times?!
It is hard if not impossible to convince ourselves of the existence, goodness, wisdom and perfection of Ifá-Olódùmarè, when we are personally and individually undergoing a great crisis and a prolonged period of worry, anxiety and depression due to illness or other upsetting events.
Human beings of all faiths, traditions and no traditions, including many Ifá-orisa devotees are suffering from diverse illnesses and ailments simply because they are human beings who are susceptible to sicknesses and ailments like all other human beings. Whether we are at present healthy or not, the fact of the matter is that we are all subject to mortality. Not a single one of us will live forever in our present bodies. We will all in one way or another succumb to sickness, old-age and death.
Even when we are healthy and life seems to be smiling upon us, our lives can be taken from us, due to time and unforeseen circumstances. Our bodies and lives as far as the human body is concerned are limited, transient and impermanent. We are all dying…with every breath we take we are getting closer to the grave. This is a sobering but strangely comforting fact if we understand that we are all undergoing and experiencing this process TOGETHER.
There is a reason and good purpose for everything that Olódùmarè institutes, even if we cannot at present comprehend or accept this fact. What often makes our pain and suffering unbearable is not necessarily the fact that we as human beings are mortal and that we will die someday from one thing or another, but what injures our minds and feelings is when we have to endure our pains, sorrows, suffering and loneliness alone. There are hard and difficult things to accept or comprehend in regard to the divine arrangements of Olódùmarè that we cannot at present understand, and to be quite honest there are things that are hard, difficult or impossible for us to accept.
The only comfort that we have is in knowing that somehow or other everything is tending towards our ultimate good and happiness, and that we are not alone, and that we have friends, companions and family who love us, who will be with us and there for us. Our friends, companions and family might not always be able to do something about our illness, problem, situation or ailment but it is surely easier to enjoy life, to cope, to persevere and to live with hope and gratitude when we have good friends, companions and family who are with us from moment-to-moment and day-to-day, who are able to impart strength, comfort, love and hope to us, by which we can live one-day-at-a-time.
The fact of the matter is that there are things for which a solution, reason or cause will not be found in this world at the present time. Only trust in Olódùmarè, resignation to His will and the comfort and company of beloved friends, companions and family members will be able to give us strength to live and courage to press forward.
Ifá is about community and wholesome, nurturing relationships: this means to come together in unity with care, affection, sympathy and concern. Ifá means family, friends and associates bound together by mutual love, respect, care and concern. How wonderful it is when a true friend, brother, sister or family members arrives to comfort us when we are not well, when we are sick, when we are fearful and worried. How wonderful and comforting when a friend, family member and fellow believer arrives to comfort us, to bring cheer, to laugh with us and to cry with us and to tell us that they are here for us and will always be there for us.
How wonderful to have someone or many people to come around you and then they throw their arms around to tell you that they care about you and that they are going to be with you come what may. These people are veritable Orisa to us! They are bearers and emitters of life, strength and hope!!! They are a life-line to us. We see and feel Olódùmarè in them, thru them and because of them.
This compassionate and sympathetic feeling, sentiment and attitude is the all consuming disposition of Òrúnmìlà, of Ifá and of Olódùmarè, and of all genuine devotees of Ifá-Olódùmarè. No one here can go at it alone. We all need each other. We are all in part strong. We are all in part weak. We are all in part resilient. We are all in part vulnerable. We all experience periods and moments of fear, doubt, worry and insecurity, but… oh…how wonderful it is when during these periods of struggle, unclarity and challenge a friend, brother and companion in the faith comes alongside you, to stay and be with you, until all things unfold as they must and as they will!
Do you know that there were moments in the life of Òrúnmìlà when he completely felt alone and misunderstood? Do you know that there were periods in the life of Òrúnmìlà that were intense in pain, worry, suffering and anxiety in which he was only able to make it solely through the assistance, comfort, relief, encouragement, nearness and dedication of loyal friends and companions?! We are all subject to suffering, fear, illness, worry and anxiety. We are all subject to impermanence and decay, no matter how our bodies feel at the present time and no matter how our bodies look at the present time. We are all ‘sick’ with mortality. We are all ‘sick’ with aging. We will all succumb to illness, decay or dis-ease of one form or another. We are all in this together.
Olódùmarè arranged things like this so that we might learn to value our lives, our health, our time, our faith, our friends, family and each other. Olódùmarè arranged things like this so that we might learn to discern and value what it truly important in life. What would we give to have another moment with our father, or mother, or friend, or brother or sister, or son or daughter who passed!? How would we treat them and speak to them? How much more time would be have dedicated to them? What would we do different if we could go back in time to our youth with the experiences, maturity and knowledge that we now have?
Olódùmarè arranged things like this so that we might learn the highest and greatest values. Olódùmarè arranged things like this so that compassion, generosity and sympathy might arise in us towards others. It is a fact that those who have been through the fire of pain, affliction and suffering are more sensitive, understanding and responsive to the pains, sufferings and ailments of others.
When we are in true need we really discover the value, blessing and preciousness of our genuine friends, relatives and companions of faith. Through these unwanted but necessary processes of alternating pain and pleasure in life, we are developed, matured and perfected by Olodumare. His purpose is that we might grow, develop and bond together. His purpose is that we might simultaneously learn how to unpretentiously serve others and that we might learn how to receive humbly the generous service of others. This is what Ifá reveals and teaches to us.
Friend you are not alone. Olódùmarè loves you and is caring for you no matter how things may seem. He is not upset with you or angry with you. Your pain, ailments and/or sufferings are not existing because you have done something wrong. You are not alone. There is a community of faithful devotees who reach out to you with their means, time, practical assistance, resources and strengthening prayers. Our bodies are transient, impermanent and subject to decay and decline. We are spirit beings who inhabit and utilize these physical bodies to connect us with the physical world through which we experience lessons which purify our lives and which cause our spirit to gain intelligence, maturity, knowledge, values and advancement.
We are all on our way to the higher states and higher worlds of completion and perfection where all suffering, pain, illness and worry will exist no more because they will have fulfilled their training purpose in our lives.
If we consider our lives, this world and our bodies as a divinely established temporary school and as a temporary practice vehicle for training and developing our mind, spirit, will and emotions, it will be more easier for us to resign ourselves to the plans of Olodumare with courage and without fear.
Ifá teaches us to achieve clear-seeing consciousness and a sympathizing heart. Let us reach out to one another in a realistic way with compassion, understanding, patience, practical love and steadfastness. Let us help each other as best we can, each one contributing what he can to benefit and comfort his brother or sister who is enduring a difficult and painful time. Our love and sympathy may not instantaneously or completely rid them of their illness, problem or ailment, but it will contribute to their healing, it will relieve their suffering, it will give them hope and strength to endure one day at a time. It will minister to them moral, emotional and psychological health, strength and courage which will surely have an impact in the overall improvement of their health and situation.
This is the message and understanding that Ifá would have us understand, appreciate and assimilate. You who are well, remember that a day will come that you will not be. You who are not well, do not lose hope and courage. You will make improvement. Things will get better.
~ Awo Òrúnmìlà Mark Casillas /!!!\ A.O.M.C. /!!!\