Suffering comes in so many shapes and sizes and we hear of it all the time. It is how others describe their dilemmas and how we listen. It builds a resonance. Should we avoid it? Good luck. How can we avoid one of the central experiences in all human life? I was reading recently someone saying that suffering is truly what refocuses us from the illusions back to the things that are important. The other day my wife, Janice, said: “I feel bad for everybody”. Everyone seems to be suffering in some way. As my parents aged I hear from my parents about the suffering of their peers. Now I am old enough to see it in my peers.
I once read that no suffering is greater than mental suffering. That is probably true. If we truly are composed of mind, a spiritual being inhabiting a physical body, the mind, thought is our core.
Suffering is perhaps best regarded as opportunity and comes to us to offer us possibilities of growth. To resolve suffering without change in outlook is to invite the same suffering back.
“Suffering is our best teacher because it hangs onto us and keeps us in its grip until we have learnt that particular lesson. Only then does suffering let go. If we haven’t learnt our lesson, we can be quite sure that the same lesson is going to come again, because life is nothing but an adult education class, If we don’t pass in any of the subjects, we just have to sit the examination again. Whatever lesson we have missed, we will get it again. That is why we find ourselves reacting to similar situations in similar ways many times.”
Ayya Khema, from Being Nobody, Going Nowhere