How is this even possible? We see suffering all around us. But, could suffering be a manifestation of something else?
Like the rest of our lives, what we considering to be suffering is often more about the attitude we have regard any given situation and less about the event or condition. To illustrate, read the two sentences below, both about one singular event:
- My mother abandoned my father and me when I was three.
- My mother left my father and me when I was three.
Neither sentence describe a pleasant or necessarily desirable situation. But do you feel the difference between the two reports of that singular event? The former elicits sympathy and perhaps pity; the latter is a statement of fact.
Whenever we review the tragic parts of our past with gusto and more than a little dramatic flair it can mean a number of things:
- We want to stay stuck in the past
- We want pity or sympathy
- We want an excuse for failure or lack
- We want the payoff for not succeeding (e.g., mom was right, older people can’t get jobs, or the black/gay/overweight/whatever persons are always discriminated against.)
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Don’t believe that? Then hold your hand over the flame on a stove and realize it’s pain that informs you that wasn’t such a swift move. It does give one a new respect for what we normally do everything possible to avoid.
Pain is our internal early warning system. Our bodies react with physical, emotional or mental pains of all sorts. They are signals from our bodies, letting us know “sumpin’ jus’ ain’t right!” But how should we react?
We shouldn’t, unless our lives are in danger. The better course is to act, not react. The adult abandoned at birth reacts to that event and grows up refusing to trust anyone, feels less than others and unworthy of love. The adult left at birth by mother rejoices in the loving farther who was there or acknowledges the personal voracity it took to overcome what others consider the unthinkable.
Ernest Holmes wrote,
“The world is beginning to realize that it has learned all it should through suffering and pain.”
While the complete elimination of pain seems unlikely, we can choose to change our thinking about the pain or tragedies that affect us, our loved ones, or our planet and Her children, our fellow human beings.
Are you currently suffering over something happening in your life right now, or with regard to someone you love? Haven’t you suffered long enough? Are you ready to try something else?
I invite you to continue this theme over the next six days as the topic unfolds with the daily editions of “Making Sense of Life.” You can find those daily encouragements on the Facebook page for Spirit, Mind and Body Foundation – just clicking the link!
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,