Do humans need to suffer? Why is there suffering? Mankind has been asking these questions for a long time. Here’s one outlook: Suffering is a great impetus for change.
If we were always cozy, secure, and happy, there likely wouldn’t be any inciting force driving us to look deeper. Whether the suffering is mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual in nature, perhaps it provides the perfect conditions for awakening, and consequently aligning with more ease, grace, and lightness-of-being.
Suffering can be a gracious messenger and wise informant, one that may continue appearing until we invite it in, sit with it, and venture into the heart of it, coming to find out what’s at its root rather than continuing to shove it away as we may have become accustomed to doing. Our suffering isn’t usually ever satisfied with a band-aid, anyhow.
When we can begin to navigate our suffering with a sense of acceptance, we become more aligned with the truth of what’s arising and what’s presenting itself — the truth isn’t always comfortable, but aligning with truth is certainly one of the keys to unlocking the prisons of half-truths, lies, attempts to bury what’s arising, distraction, and conditioning that has outlived its value or usefulness.
Sometimes it takes pain, discomfort, or suffering to impel us to take that pilgrimage inward and ask bigger questions:
What is all of this about?
Who am I really?
What is the source of this suffering?
What is the root?
What is really at work here?
How can healing begin?
Here’s what we may discover upon such inquiry:
We may begin to see that situations aren’t the cause of our pain and suffering, but it’s our resistance to the situations that is the root of our suffering. We may begin to see that there are ways we can better nourish ourselves and align more cozily with our own natural expression. We may see more clearly that we aren’t truly bound to our suffering and there may be more options present that provide us room to remove ourselves from restricting places, people, ideas, habits, and circumstances.
We might become suspicious of thoughts we once identified with and took to be rooted in truth, and our thoughts in general may slow down over time. It’s possible that we may see more clearly and consciously old conditioning and programming that’s been playing out for many years but isn’t truly who we are; in becoming aware of our programming and conditioning, these old patterns, that may have been causing us to suffer, can begin to heal and dissipate in the light of that awareness.
We may begin to discover that facing pain and journeying into the heart of suffering has a way of lightening the load. A kind of freedom that isn’t dependent on the absence of suffering may arise, and we might begin to see that beneath suffering is a profound stillness to which we can retreat at any moment (and from which we’ve never really left).
Begin to toy around with this idea if you’ve not done so yet: pain and suffering aren’t always enemies to be combatted, but are gateways through which we can enter to learn more about ourselves, to come to love even more deeply and unconditionally, and to begin profound healing. Through heartfelt inquiry and a continuous turning toward truth and what’s present, a certain sense of liberation may also arise that informs of us of our true nature (which is beyond description and which I implore you to discover on your own).
Keep turning toward what’s arising, even if it’s uncomfortable; you might find that this continued act of courage bears great fruit.