In a capitalist world that rewards the mechanical status quo, suffering is only to be mentioned during fundraisers.
It is hard work to suffer from disabilities or mental health gracefully when your employer’s patience is wearing thin, or your friends are being fed up with you canceling plans.
Since we can’t help doing it anyway, what is the best way to suffer nowadays?
“Suffering is a gift.
In it is hidden mercy.”
As the Buddhists say, suffering is inevitable.
We are all destined to grow old and live in pain.
The suffering that arises from failed hopes, jealousy or dissatisfaction however can apparently be conquered by not becoming attached to expectations, people, places and things or feelings at all.
And it is through the pain of this suffering we discover its mercy, but only once we have suffered enough.
Suffering nudges us to move instead of standing still.
Only with distance can we learn its lesson.
Even the most painful suffering, such as abuse or the death of a loved one, brings a speck of light along with its darkness. I can see now that what once bruised me eventually allowed me to move away from my comfort zone, albeit kicking and screaming.
This knowledge comforts me. When I’m lost in self-pity or resentment, I understand that there is a lesson waiting for me.
“Although the world is full of suffering,
it is full also of the overcoming of it.”
– Helen Keller
Therefore, I try to shift my daily focus from suffering to the peace it taught me.
My own desires are less sticky, and I accept what life has in store for me, because my own agenda inevitably demands of me to put up walls for anything that isn’t it.
So how do we suffer?
With awareness and compassion, until suffering is no longer suffering at all.
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