Life Is Full Of Pain
- 1 What is life full of suffering?
- 2 Why do we feel pain in life?
- 3 What is the most emotionally painful thing?
- 4 Did Buddha say life is suffering?
- 5 Does life get difficult?
- 6 Does suffering make you stronger?
- 7 What are the 7 stages of emotional healing?
Why is my life full of so much suffering?
and how to shift from suffering to enlightenment – The root of suffering is attachment. ~ Buddha Everyone suffers. It’s part of the human condition. Yet suffering can be the doorway to your personal evolution, to growth and expansion, if you choose to shift your thoughts and perceptions. The bad news is: We are the creators of our suffering.
The good news is: We are the creators of our suffering. We can stop our own suffering by understanding the root of what causes us to suffer and then taking action, whether it’s shifting our inner dialogue or doing things differently. I’ve noticed some common reasons why we suffer. When you know what the cause is, you’ll discover that you can change suffering into awareness and find peace and happiness.
You want everything to remain the same. You don’t accept that everything is temporary. Life moves in cycles generating new life and yes, death, and nothing will stop that universal movement. Accepting that everything that exists is only temporary allows you to release your attachment to things, people and even to your definition of yourself.
This is how you continue to learn and evolve. We are all made of stardust. All life is connected like a giant network that may appear different but at its core is made of the same elements as the earth, the stars and all living beings. If you consider the concept of impermanence, you can see how it applies here also.
Life is connected and impermanent because the atoms that compose it are always moving and being rearranged, between living to decomposition (or death) which feeds other life. You see this in nature most clearly. When you experience this deeper connection to all of life you will feel the sacredness of all things and beings and you will never feel loneliness.
All our personal and collective problems arise from the illusion of separateness. If we embrace our inherent unity our problems will cease.” #aliciaisms When you choose an identity, whatever that is when you say “I am.”, you immediately create a limitation and an expectation of who you are. That’s a mental process not necessarily a reality.
You are more than a title or a word. You may call yourself names that diminish you (weak, lazy, not enough, etc) or you may find your self-worth in the identity you choose (CEO, competent, parent, etc) and anything that challenges your sense of worth then becomes a threat or an insult or a conundrum.
- You suffer because someone may suggest that you are not who or what you believed yourself to be.
- This one is big.
- Anytime you want or even demand that your reality be different than what it is you suffer because of the desire that it were different,
- You resist what is in front of you and suffer.
- Only by accepting what is can you take action that can change your situation.
Your desire to have it be different is only useful if you consider it as an aspiration and take action to bring you closer to that aspirational state. That will only succeed if you start exactly where you are. Lao Tzu said, “He who knows others is wise.
- He who knows himself is enlightened.” When you base your sense of self on what others say about you, you’ll never realize your true potential.
- You’ll buy into their story of who you should be and how you should live.
- Your energy goes into an inauthentic life that causes you stress and possibly illness.
Only by aligning your life to what is true for you can you be happy. What is a divided life? Parker Palmer says that a divided life is “a life in which our words and actions conceal or even contradict truths we hold dear inwardly”, He goes on to say, “And yet our culture counsels us to do exactly that.” If the way you lead your life is incongruent with what truly matters to you and what you believe in, you will suffer.
- This divided life will eventually catch up with you and you’ll find yourself looking in the mirror and no longer recognizing the face that stares back at you.
- Socrates famously said that ” The unexamined life is not worth living”,
- If you spend no time in reflection, in the deeper conversation with your Self, you will never find your true purpose or acknowledge the wonderful being you are.
You’ll spend most of your life comparing yourself to others and always criticizing yourself for not being “enough”. You have two choices around how you lead your life. You can choose fear or love. Fear produces thoughts that cause a contraction in our hearts, minds and bodies.
You restrict yourself, you protect yourself from life itself. There is no way to achieve fulfillment and potential when you live out of fear. You are constantly hiding. Only when you choose to live from a place of love can you generate optimism and courage and compassion. “When you live from love everything becomes possible”.
#aliciaisms Life is dynamic and ever-changing and unpredictable. You must learn to dance with whatever comes towards you. You will suffer when you seek the illusion of safety and security because what you are seeking out there can only be found within.
Trusting yourself and what you stand for, in that moment, is the only way to ground yourself in groundlessness. “Dance with whatever comes towards you.” #aliciaisms Being anywhere but the present keeps you from enjoying your life now. You might enjoy your memories more if you aren’t attached to having it be the same now as it was then.
You can aspire to the future if you accept it as a possibility not a certainty. By paying attention to your life right now you can notice the beauty that is there and experience gratitude for your life. Each time you play the victim or you blame someone or something else you abdicate your power to live your best life to the whim of circumstances.
- You experience yourself as having no power or agency over your life.
- You build resentment, fear and anger that saps your energy and limits your potential.
- When you empower yourself you use your inner wisdom to choose what serves you in creating a life that is in harmony and flow.
- Humans don’t like being uncomfortable.
When you choose comfort over growth you become a prisoner to your comfort. You were meant to be free. Freedom comes from being all you can be and courageous enough to live fully. Those challenging obstacles will become the doorway to opportunities when you engage them despite your discomfort.
“You were meant to be free.” #aliciaisms When you choose things that compromise your health, wellbeing and spiritual growth you deny the very things that you need to be happy and healthy. You know what you need when you listen to your inner voice and intuition telling you how to choose. How often do you dismiss this voice and instead choose a momentary pleasure or comfort that compromises the true nourishment your soul needs? Next time, listen and transform the act of taking care of yourself into something sacred and significant that can help you also care for others.
You have a shadow or darkness within you. Everyone does. There are always things we don’t like about ourselves. There are always traumas that need to be healed. When you run from your shadow those parts of yourself can never be reconciled and forgiven and healed.
- They will always haunt you, waiting to emerge when you least expect it through self-sabotage, unkindness to others, anger and unhealthy relationships.
- Coming to terms with the difficult emotions you feel means being compassionate with yourself, loving yourself just as you are.
- Running away from those parts you deny will cause you to suffer.
Acceptance and forgiveness generates appreciation, self-love and compassion for yourself and others. Carl Jung claimed that “wholeness for humans depends on the ability to own their own shadow” because he recognized that only by finding understanding of our dark side could we end our underlying insecurity about our fundamental goodness and worth as humans and, in doing so, make us ‘whole’.
- Our suffering comes from our denial of our divine nature, our lack of appreciation of our connection to all things, our resistance to impermanence and our addictions and attachments to things that only bring temporary relief.
- Wholeness comes from the acceptance of all parts of ourselves as individuals and as humans so that we can transcend the pettiness of our human condition and elevate our consciousness to levels that can indeed change our world for the better.
Suffering will always be present but if we offer our suffering to something worthy of our pain and grief we will transform not only ourselves but eventually our world.
What is life full of suffering?
Life therefore means suffering. – But this is not a simple statement to accept. It is not easy to understand, and it can be challenging to accept as the truth. The challenge is that we are so firmly attached to our way of perceiving life as something pleasant and full of happiness.
We want our lives to go well; we want things in life to be good for us all the time; we don’t want any suffering at all. But if you think about it, this attachment causes you more grief than anything else! If you hold on tightly to your desire for pleasure and do not let go – no matter how small or trivial – you will continue creating and experiencing more physical pain, mental anguish, and emotional stress.
Eventually, they build up so much that they become overwhelming and even debilitating (as described above). So what can one do about this? What path does one follow to end their suffering once and for all? Understanding the Four Noble Truths can help you deal with problems in life more efficiently, and understanding them can lead you to enlightenment, according to Buddhism. The four noble truths are the Buddha’s teaching of ending suffering ultimately. They are:
The truth of suffering (dukkha) – means that life is not always happy and pleasant. We have to face problems and challenges in our lives—sometimes big ones!The cause of suffering is attachment to things being a certain way or our expectations about how people should behave or what will happen in the future. When we expect things to be a certain way and they’re not, we get disappointed and upset. It can also occur when we get attached to someone expecting them to act a certain way (for example, thinking they should love us back) or believe something will turn out a certain way (like believing there’ll be no more war).The end of suffering is enlightenment (nirvana). Enlightenment happens when we realize that everything changes constantly; nothing stays as it was before—not even ourselves! As I type this sentence, my ideas change as new words come into my head; later on, someone else might read this essay and think differently than I do now! In fact, if you look closely enough at anything, you’ll find impermanence everywhere–even though most people don’t notice because they’re too busy worrying about things like paying bills or finding love instead 🙂Attaining freedom from attachment through meditation practice so that happiness doesn’t depend on external conditions such as wealth or relationships with other people but rather comes from within ourselves through wisdom gained through study
Understanding the Four Noble Truths can help you deal with problems in life more efficiently, and understanding them can lead you to enlightenment. These truths are not only to be a roadmap for living a meaningful life but also offer a framework upon which to understand suffering.
Why do we feel pain in life?
Why Do I Have Pain? Waking up with a sore throat that really hurts when you swallow. Jamming your finger at basketball practice. Playing a video game for so long that your wrist aches. These situations are different, but they have one thing in common: They all make you say “ouch!” When your body is injured in some way or something else is wrong, your nerves (cells that help your body send and receive information) send millions of messages to your about what’s going on.
Your brain then makes you feel pain. So if you put your hand on a hot stove, your nerves call your brain, and your brain quickly sends the message that your hand hurts. You get this message and pull your hand away from the hot stove, which saves your hand from further injury. People don’t come with warning lights, like the lights on a car dashboard that let the driver know when the car is low on oil or gas.
We need the sensation of pain to let us know when our bodies need extra care. It’s an important signal. When we sense pain, we pay attention to our bodies and can take steps to fix what hurts. Pain also may prevent us from injuring a body part even more.
- If it didn’t hurt to walk on a broken leg, a person might keep using it and cause more damage.
- If your throat is really sore, you’ll probably go to the doctor, who can treat the infection if you have one.
- Doctors and other health professionals use a person’s pain as a clue in figuring out what is wrong.
The first question you will probably be asked is: “how much pain do you have?” or “how much does it hurt?” Often a nurse will show you some pictures of faces with smiles or tears so that you can choose the one that matches how you feel. This will help your doctor or nurse know how much you hurt.
Where does it hurt? Does it hurt all the time? When did it start hurting? Does the pain stay in one place or move around? Does anything make the pain feel better? What makes it worse?
They ask these questions because they want what you want: for the pain to go away! If pain doesn’t go away on its own, often a doctor can suggest medicine or other treatments that will make you feel better until it does. : Why Do I Have Pain?
Is it normal to suffer in life?
Source: Nuthawut Somsuk/iStock “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” —Unknown In my previous post, I discussed how much of our suffering is part of the human condition and, in fact, necessary for our survival. We evolved to suffer in certain circumstances (e.g., deprivation of food, water, air, warmth, social rejection, loss of loved ones).
- Our suffering motivates us to change our behavior, when possible, in ways that enhance our chances of survival.
- I am calling this Level 1 Suffering.
- This is the “Pain is inevitable” part of the above quote.
- If you are reading this, then you, like me, are benefiting from the many creature comforts of modernity.
Unlike most of our ancestors throughout our evolutionary history, we don’t have to worry about securing the basic life necessities of food, water, and shelter. Moreover, we benefit from technological advances, antibiotics, and modern medicine. We should all probably be much more grateful for the amazing benefits of modernity that we tend to take for granted.
What’s the purpose to life?
The Takeaway? – What is the purpose of life? An answer (as opposed to The Answer) to The Ultimate Question is that we exist to continue to exist. We evolved to evolve. This is fundamental to every living organism. Inherent to our existence is that we learn, adapt, and grow.
Health, happiness, and longevity are the payoffs for this. Since our biological evolution is the foundation of our existence, a purpose of our lives is to continue to “evolve” during our lifetime by learning and growing. Each day, our purpose is to strive to be a little bit better than the day before and to continue this evolutionary process throughout our lifetime.
This purpose in life might sound like a simple, anti-climatic answer to The Ultimate Question, but there’s more to this answer than at first glance. Our purpose in life to learn and grow throughout our lifetime also holds the key to how we should live our lives.
What is the most emotionally painful thing?
Loss. One of the most common types of emotional agony is the agony of losing someone close to you, otherwise known as grief. Many people go through the process of grief at some point.
What are the five signs of emotional suffering?
Dartmouth Health has published the latest webinar in its series ” Heads Up: A Year-Long Mental Health Awareness Journey,” This month, expert panelists discuss the topic “mental health in the workplace.” The video can be viewed at the Dartmouth Health YouTube channel,
This segment features John T. Broderick, Jr., senior director of external affairs at Dartmouth Health, and former Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court; Barbara Van Dahlen, PhD, CEO of WeBe Life, child psychologist, founder of the Campaign to Change Direction and the Five Signs, former executive director of PREVENTS, a presidential task force focused on creating a national response to suicide; and Julie Balaban, MD, FAPA, DFAACAP, section chief of child and adolescent psychiatry at Dartmouth Health Children’s.
Together, they discuss the origins, evolution and impact of two public health initiatives: the Five Signs and REACT. Van Dahlen and the national organization she founded, Give an Hour, launched the Campaign to Change Direction in 2015 and first introduced the “Five Signs” of emotional suffering, which was a public awareness campaign that spread globally.
The Five Signs encouraged people to ask if they or their loved ones were not feeling themselves, feeling withdrawn, feeling agitated, feeling hopeless or not caring for themselves. A longtime mental health advocate, Broderick discovered the program and introduced it to New Hampshire. “Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen refocused my entire life.
I don’t say that lightly. She’s an amazing person,” Broderick said. “And her Five Signs were so handy and understandable; her goal was to make it as common and understood as the common signs for heart attack or stroke. I thought that was genius then. I think it’s genius today.” Broderick also discussed how the Five Signs inspired him to help develop the REACT program, which was an awareness campaign geared towards what to do after signs of emotional suffering are identified.
The acronym stands for five steps: “Recognize” the signs of emotional suffering, “Express” concern and offer support, “Act” now, and talk to someone you trust, “Care” enough to follow through and follow up and “Text” the word “signs” to 741-741 or call 988, the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. In partnership with the New Hampshire Union Leader and Seacoast Media Group, the Heads Up series is a mental health awareness campaign that provides online resources, offers fresh perspectives and highlights community events on mental health-related topics.
To learn more about Heads Up, resources on mental health or to view past newspaper feature articles and webinars, visit our Mental Health web page.
Does emotional pain ever go away?
Feelings and emotions are transient— even the darkest and most painful days don’t last forever. But when you’re in the throes of grief and trauma, it can be hard to imagine that there are better days in your future.
Did Buddha say life is suffering?
What did the Buddha mean by suffering? The Buddha’s first noble truth is most often—but inaccurately—rendered in English as “life is suffering.” As is often the case, this piece of ancient text loses a lot in translation. The Pali word dukkha, usually translated as “suffering,” has a more,
It’s sometimes described metaphorically as a wheel that is off its axle. A more literal translation of the might be “life does not satisfy.” The Buddha taught there are three kinds of dukkha, The first kind is physical and mental pain from the inevitable stresses of life like old age, sickness, and death.
The second is the distress we feel as a result of impermanence and change, such as the pain of failing to get what we want and of losing what we hold dear. The third kind of dukkha is a kind of existential suffering, the angst of being human, of living a conditioned existence and being subject to rebirth.
At the root of all kinds of dukkha is craving, or attachment. We go through life grasping at or clinging to what we think will gratify us and avoiding what we dislike. The second noble truth tells us that this very grasping, or clinging, or avoidance is the source of dukkha, We are like drowning people who reach for something floating by to save us, then discover that what we’ve latched onto provides only momentary relief, or temporary satisfaction.
What we desire is never enough and never lasts. The third noble truth assures us there is another way to find an end to suffering, and that way, as explained in the fourth noble truth, is the practice of, As we practice, we develop a happiness that is not dependent on external objects or life events but results from a cultivated state of mind that does not come and go as circumstances change.
- Even physical pain becomes less stressful with the awareness of a cultivated mind.
- So, the teaching of the four noble truths is not that life is destined to be nothing but suffering, but that the means of finding liberation from suffering is always available to us.
- In this sense Buddhism is not pessimistic, as many people assume, but optimistic.
: What did the Buddha mean by suffering?
Why do some people suffer more in life?
Why Do Some People Suffer More Than Others? Why didn’t the universe create everyone equal? Why are some disabled, and others able-bodied? Why are some poor, and others rich? If there is a God, why didn’t he create everyone equal? What is the point of all this terrible inequality? These are questions that have plagued human beings since the dawn of time.
Now pause and examine this with absolute clarity. If you do, you will see that the primary cause of human suffering is not physical handicap or poverty. The cause of human suffering is oneself, Let us first make the distinction between pain and suffering. Pain is physical. Pain is produced whenever there is any injury to the body.
Pain is the body’s way of alerting you that something is wrong, that action must be taken. Pain is useful. It is a valuable wake-up call. Suffering, on the other hand, is psychological. It is produced by you. It is a hundred percent self-manufactured. You don’t have a choice about being in pain, but you do have a choice about suffering.
You can always choose not to suffer. A thousand years ago, people all over the world lived quite happily in modest dwellings. That was not a problem. The problem today is that someone lives in a mansion, and someone else lives in a one-bedroom apartment. That is the source of the latter’s suffering. Someone has three cars, and someone else has one.
That is the source of the latter’s suffering. Someone vacations abroad, and someone else doesn’t. That is the source of the latter’s suffering. So it is not the physical situation that causes misery. It is the way you react to it, Your karma is not in what is happening to you; your karma is in the way you respond to what is happening to you.
- Human beings are capable of suffering just about anything.
- Someone cannot get a job, so they suffer.
- Someone is given a job, and now they suffer even more.
- Someone isn’t married, so they suffer.
- Someone gets married, and they are in agony! Someone has no children, so they suffer.
- Someone has children, and so they are in constant torment.
Your suffering is not because of your circumstances. Your suffering is because of the way you have made yourself. And that is what you need to look at. What most people call luck is just your ability to be at the right place at the right time. Many of your capabilities are still unconscious, so you do not have complete control over the kind of circumstances you attract.
- But there is something over which you do have control: how you react to what happens to you.
- Maybe you win a lottery ticket today, but, still, how happily you live is something you decide.
- A poor man might be ecstatic if he wins a million dollars.
- But a rich man might have much more in his bank balance and still be unhappy.
So luck alone does not determine your happiness. Generally, the word karma is used in a rudimentary way to suggest that you did something bad and so bad things will happen to you. This is a very limited and simplistic way of looking at life. Karma has nothing to do with moralistic categories of good and bad; it is related only to cause and effect.
If a man comes to you now and complains that his heart is clogged up, is it because he committed some terrible deeds in his past? No. It is much more likely that he lived irresponsibly, ate and drank improperly, and messed up his system. So this is bad karma in its own way, because he lived without the necessary understanding about how to treat his system.
Ignorance is also a karma. As action is karma, inaction is also karma! The karmic substance within you may happen to contain all the necessary ingredients to create suffering. Perhaps you planted all these ingredients unconsciously in your past. So what can you do about this today? The answer is simple: don’t manufacture suffering for yourself today! Maybe terrible things happened to you yesterday.
Maybe you lost everything that is precious to you. But this morning when you get up, you still have the choice not to manufacture suffering for yourself. Yes, the ingredients of misery are present. They are waiting, perhaps even tempting you. But they cannot become suffering by themselves. Suffering has to be freshly baked every day.
In other words, your karma cannot turn into suffering without your cooperation. Once you are aware, that is the end of your suffering. So the source of your misery is not your past actions. The source of your misery is how you’re processing the imprint of the past now.
- You may be carrying around a sacksful of stinking garbage.
- Either you can smear yourself with it and get terribly miserable, or you can make good manure out of it and create a wonderful garden.
- Arma is the seed.
- What you are going to make out of this seed is entirely up to you.
- If I am given a packet of assorted seeds and I throw them all into my garden, perhaps all of them will sprout.
Some of the mango seeds will yield very sweet fruit. But there may be some bitter seeds, too. The parthenium grass may be an unwelcome weed. And yet I still have the choice to pull it out. I can remove what is superfluous and keep the rest. That is how your food is grown every day.
A large part of agriculture is just weeding. There are actually more weeds than plants growing even in your own garden. If you keep weeding, you will have a garden. If you sit back defeated, you will have a patch of weeds. The same holds true for your life. You have your seed karma. But you also have your weeding karma.
This is where volition comes in. This is where intention becomes paramount. If you decide not to perform your weeding karma, your life will be just an overgrown wilderness. If you choose to perform this simple function, your life could yield an incredibly rich harvest. Adapted from copyright © 2021 by Sadhguru. Used by permission of Harmony Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. : Why Do Some People Suffer More Than Others?
What if humans never feel pain?
Description – Channelopathy-associated congenital insensitivity to pain is a condition that inhibits the ability to perceive physical pain. From birth, affected individuals never feel pain in any part of their body when injured. People with this condition can feel the difference between sharp and dull and hot and cold, but they cannot sense, for example, that a hot beverage is burning their tongue.
- Pain is a vital signal that helps people avoid danger and injuries.
- People who cannot feel pain experience more injuries and may have shorter life expectancies.
- The first signs of channelopathy-associated congenital insensitivity to pain often occur when an infant shows no response to stimuli such as an injury or medical procedures like vaccines.
Young children with this condition may have wounds from biting or burning themselves. A lack of pain awareness often leads individuals to develop wounds, bruises, broken bones, and other health issues that may go undetected. Long lasting joint injuries (often occurring alongside broken bones) can lead to joint deformities and often the loss of normal use of that body part. (anosmia). Channelopathy-associated congenital insensitivity to pain is considered a form of peripheral neuropathy because it affects the peripheral nervous system, which connects the brain and spinal cord to muscles and to cells that detect sensations such as touch, smell, and pain.
Do all humans feel pain?
Pain: Why do we feel it? | Ask Dr. Universe | Washington State University Dear Sara, Pain is unpleasant, but we need it for survival. Just the other day I was out exploring when I stubbed my paw and let out a big meow. My nervous system was doing its job.
Part of the reason we feel pain is because our bodies have tons of nerves that help us move, think, and feel in all kinds of ways. When you stub your paw or toe, for example, the nerves in the skin of your toe will send a message to your brain that you are in pain. These messages are what scientists call impulses.
They start in your toe, move to your spinal cord, then your brainstem, and onto your brain. It’s actually your brain that tells you that you’re in pain. And if you’ve ever stubbed your toe, you know this message gets delivered pretty fast. In fact, when you feel pain, sometimes the impulse, or message, will travel at 250 mph.
That’s the speed of a very fast racecar. It’s important for the message to move fast because you have to make a quick decision about what to do. Sometimes your decision might be a matter of survival—but other times it might be as simple as deciding if you need a bandage, ice pack, or even a trip to the doctor.
Pain is actually the number one reason people see a doctor, said my friend, He’s a scientist here at Washington State University who is really curious about pain. “Pain in many aspects is good,” Quock said. “It’s a warning that your body is in danger.” Most humans can feel pain, but not all humans, he said.
Because of genetics or nerve injury, some people can’t feel pain. Imagine touching a hot pan and not realizing it just came out of the oven. Or imagine if you broke your leg, but didn’t know it. And while that might sound pretty nice, it can also be quite dangerous. If you didn’t feel pain, you might end up with even more damage to your body.
Pain helps tell us when to take extra care of ourselves. People have different kinds of pain, too. There’s physical pain, emotional pain—even growing pains. The kind of pain Quock studies is called chronic pain. Unlike acute pain, like stubbing your toe, chronic pain is pain that hurts and aches for months or longer.
- This kind of pain doesn’t appear to have a very useful purpose.
- It doesn’t help much with survival.
- Quock and his team of WSU researchers are investigating why it happens and how to treat it.
- They are working on some great ideas about how to help patients feel better.
- While some pain doesn’t seem to have a purpose, pain definitely does keep us safe in a lot of other potentially dangerous situations.
Our nerves help us sense the world around us so we can explore. They can also help remind us to watch where we step next time. Sincerely, Dr. Universe : Pain: Why do we feel it? | Ask Dr. Universe | Washington State University
Does life get difficult?
It’s natural to face tough times throughout the cycle of this thing called life. We have to make hard choices, difficult decisions, and accept that things aren’t always in our control. That can be stressful and challenging, to say the least. The truth is, life gets hard.
Can human life be without suffering?
Without death, life has no purpose, it just is, Without failure, we have no reason to learn, without suffering, there is no pleasure or purpose in life. Suffering is an intrinsic part of the human condition. When we attempt to push our pain, whether physical or emotional, we are causing ourselves to suffer even more. –
Does suffering make you stronger?
by Tal Ben-Shahar While it is part of our universal nature to seek pleasure and avoid pain, culture plays a central role in how we deal with suffering. In the West, we generally reject suffering. We see it as an unwelcome interruption of our pursuit of happiness.
- So we fight it, repress it, medicate it, or search for quick-fix solutions to get rid of it.
- In some cultures, especially in the East, suffering is acknowledged for the important role it plays in people’s lives, in the meandering path toward enlightenment.
- While I have yet to be convinced that it is possible to reach a stat of enlightenment or nirvana—a state of perfect and permanent inner peace—there is much we can learn from the Buddhist approach to life’s impermanence and imperfections, defeats and disappointments.
The Tibetan monk Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche discusses four benefits of suffering: wisdom, resilience, compassion, and a deep respect for reality. Wisdom emerges from the experience of suffering. When things go well, we rarely stop to ask questions about our lives.
- A difficult situation, however, often forces us out of our mindless state, causing us to reflect on our experiences.
- To be able to see deeply, to develop what King Solomon referred to as a wise heart, we must brave the eye of the storm.
- Nietzsche, a wise man himself, famously remarked that what does not kill us, makes us stronger.
Suffering can make us more resilient, better able to endure hardships. Just as a muscle, in order to build up, must endure some pain, so our emotions must endure pain in order to strengthen. Helen Keller, who in her lifetime knew much suffering, as well as joy, noted that “character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.
Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” Everybody hurts sometimes, and allowing ourselves to feel this universal emotion links us together in a web of compassion. The dictionary defines compassion as a “deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it,” but the only way we can gain a deep awareness of the suffering of others is by having suffered ourselves.
A theoretical understanding of suffering is as meaningless as a theoretical description of the color blue to a blind person. To know it, we need to experience it. As Pastor Fritz Williams notes, “Suffering and joy teach us, if we allow them, how to make the leap of empathy, which transports us into the soul and heart of another person.
In those transparent moments we know other people’s joys and sorrows, and we care about their concerns as if they were our own.” One of the most significant benefits of suffering is that it breeds a deep respect for reality, for what is. While the experience of joy connects us to the realm of infinite possibilities, the experience of pain reminds us of our limitations.
When, despite all our effort, we get hurt, we are humbled by constraints that we sometimes fail to notice when we’re flying high. It seems to me more than symbolic that when in ecstasy we often lift our head up, to the heavens, to the infinite, and when in agony, we tend to cast our gaze down to earth, to the finite.
Rabbi Bunim of Pshischa says that we all need to walk around with two slips of paper in our pockets: the first slip with the Talmudic words “for my sake the world was created” and the second slip with the words from Genesis “I am but dust and ashes.” The healthy psychological state resides somewhere in between the two messages, somewhere between hubris and humility.
In the same way that the synthesis between hubris and humility breeds psychological health, combining ecstasy and agony establishes a healthy relationship with reality. Ecstasy makes me feel invincible: it makes me feel that I am the master of my destiny, that I create my reality.
But agony is likely to make me feel vulnerable and humbled: it makes me feel that I am the servant of my circumstances, that I have little control over my reality. Ecstasy alone leads to detached arrogance; suffering alone engenders resignation. Life’s vicissitudes bring us closer to Aristotle’s golden mean.
A deep respect for reality implies an acceptance of what is—of our potential, our limitation, and our humanity. Recognizing that suffering is integral to our lives and that there are other benefits to pain, such as the cultivation of wisdom and compassion, we become more accepting of our suffering.
And when we truly accept grief and sorrow as inevitable, we actually suffer less. Nathaniel Branden refers to self-esteem—for which self-acceptance is central—as the immune system of consciousness. A strong immune system does not mean that we do not get sick but rather that we get sick less often and that, when we do get sick, we recover faster.
Similarly, suffering is unlikely to ever go away completely, but as the immune system of our consciousness strengthens, we suffer less often, and when we do, our recovery is more rapid. The fact that suffering yields benefits does not imply that we ought to seek it actively—just as the fact that sickness actually strengthens our immune system does not imply that we need to look for opportunities to become sick.
We naturally seek pleasure in our lives and try to minimize the amount of pain we endure. The imperfect and impermanent world provides us ample opportunities, without us actively looking for them, to fortify our immune system. The first of the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths is the truth of suffering—a truth we can either reject or accept as an inevitable part of being human.
And when we learn to accept, even embrace, difficult experiences, our suffering becomes a tool, an instrument, for growth. This post is excerpted from “Being Happy: You Don’t Have to Be Perfect to Lead a Richer, Happier Life”, by Tal Ben-Shahar, PhD. Learn how to strengthen your capacity for resilience from Maria Sirois in her course, The Resilient Quest (When Life Strikes Hard), Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, Co-founder of WholeBeing Institute, is an author and lecturer who taught the largest course at Harvard on “Positive Psychology” and the third largest on “The Psychology of Leadership”—with a total of over 1,400 students. Author of Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment, he consults and lectures around the world to corporate executives, the general public, and at-risk populations on topics that include happiness, self-esteem, resilience, goal setting, mindfulness, and leadership.
What does 42 mean in the meaning of life?
Forty-two is the ASCII code for the symbol * also known as the asterisk. This symbol is often thought to translate to anything or everything. In this instance, 42 = everything, the meaning of life.
Is love the purpose of life?
Love is the core of our lives. It is the purpose, passion and meaning of life. To love and be loved is the point of it all. Yet love, so important and central to our lives, is a complex experience and a confusing word.
What are the 7 stages of emotional healing?
Conclusion – In conclusion, emotional healing is a complex and multi-step process that involves understanding and addressing emotional trauma. Emotional trauma can be stored in the body, leading to physical symptoms, but can be treated through various techniques such as yoga, meditation, and somatic therapy.
The five stages of healing – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance – provide a framework for understanding the emotional journey of healing. The stages of emotional healing can be broken down into seven steps – awareness, acknowledgment, acceptance, feeling the pain, grieving, forgiveness, and moving forward.
Signs of emotional healing include increased self-awareness, improved relationships, greater resilience, and improved physical health. Releasing emotional blockages is an important aspect of the healing process that can help individuals move past emotional trauma and achieve greater well-being.