Being with Suffering

Life is not easy. There are times when the world can seem unbearably hard. You may have known defeat, endured suffering, struggled, or experienced deep loss for far too long. These are the moments when your suffering can feel most intense. The path out of the depths of suffering may feel hopeless at times, whatever your previous life experience. We are bound to ask ourselves: Why me? Why do I have to go through this? When will it stop?

Philosophers, theologians, and mystics have struggled with the question of suffering through the ages. Many profound answers have been offered. Some have suggested it is simply the nature of humans to suffer. Others believe suffering is a trial given by God or fate. There are even those who argue that suffering is a kind of illusion, a misperception based on a false sense of self. While these answers may feel true at times, being with suffering remains painful and disheartening.

Suffering eases once we accept it. Moving towards pain may feel antithetical to healing but in actuality it allows you to let go of your suffering and make sense of a fear of the unknown. Despite wanting to withdraw in order to keep yourself protected from the world, during these times it is important to reach out to those trusted and precious people who care about you most. Suffering has the potential to be the greatest of all teachings. It teaches a sensitivity and understanding of life that is filled with love, compassion and deep appreciation for moments that are good. Survival begins when we find meaning in our suffering. At that moment hope can emerge once again.

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