Finding purpose in suffering

Written by Compassion Monk · 1 min read >
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I think it’s safe to say that most people don’t enjoy suffering. And when they find themselves in situations where they can either choose to suffer or somehow escape the suffering, most would choose to run away. I don’t blame them. Suffering is hard. Yet there are many times in life where the alternative to suffering is unacceptable to us or is simply unavoidable.

Such suffering could be brought about by any number of reasons such as the death of a loved one, struggles with regrets, insecurities we carry about ourselves or even difficulties adjusting to new life changes. For various reasons we all experience suffering.

But have you ever asked yourself what your suffering is for? Have you considered that your suffering might serve some greater purpose?

Eckhart Tolle in his book Stillness Speaks had this to say about suffering.

If you had not suffered as you have, there would be no depth to you as a human being, no humility, no compassion. You would not be reading this now. Suffering cracks the shell of ego, and then comes a point when it has served its purpose. Suffering is necessary until you realize it is unnecessary.

Your present suffering may indeed be a necessary obstacle you must face. Before you do though, it may be worth it to understand the purpose of your current suffering so that you can move on from it.

Here is a question I would like you to consider. What is the purpose of you suffering?

Is your suffering:

-A catalyst for change?
-An indicator of something wrong?
-A necessary growth tool?

If you are struggling for instance with the loss of a loved, one then your suffering may have to do with the longing you feel to be with that person.

In this example, we recognize that it is the longing to be with that person who is no longer present which is causing us turmoil.

The purpose of the suffering in this example is to teach us that although we loved this person while they were alive, we must let them go in order to go on living. We must say to our hearts that we loved this person and we still do but we are willing to let go of such a deep longing to be with them. Instead, we will dwell on the many memories we have of them and tell our hearts to be glad because we were able to love and be loved by another. As long as you live that love will never die, it will always be with you.

Recognizing what your suffering drives a pathway to release your suffering. Your suffering has come and it has gone. But not without leaving you with the knowledge of what it was for.

Once you have discovered the source or reason for your suffering and learned from it you can be free to live life unchained by the weight of it.

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