Why Suffering Is Inevitable For Inner Growth
The moment we hear or read the word “suffering”, we inevitably clinch. No one likes to suffer. On the contrary, we’re all looking for everlasting happiness, and avoid suffering at all cost. Unfortunately, suffering is part of life. If you’re reading this, then you can probably look back at your life and remember moments of despair and pain. Maybe, as you read this you’re going through difficult times.
Why? Why do we suffer?
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Learning and Growth After Suffering
Because suffering leads to learning, and learning leads to growth.
We all wish that we could be taught like children in pre-school; with patience, rewards and happiness. We are like children, but we don’t live in pre-school forever, before you know it you’re a grown adult facing the world, wondering why there’s so much pain. Looking back, can you really say that the best way of learning was by getting a cookie? If an adult told you “Don’t touch the stove because you’ll get burn and it will hurt,” would you listen? Did you only listen because you got a cookie so you wouldn’t do it? Or did you never touch the stove again because you did it, you got burned and it hurt so much?
Chances are that up to this day, you’re careful with stoves because of the day you got burned. You wouldn’t had remembered the lesson if you always got a cookie to stay away from the stove. By now, you would have forgotten about it, and maybe tomorrow you would have gotten reckless and you would have not only burned your hand, but maybe your whole house.
And so it goes with life and existence.
Like Parenting a Child
We might be called children by priests and gurus, and we are, in many ways, even as grown-ups, we are like children. However, we don’t have someone who is preventing us from learning by giving us a cookie. Whoever is up there, has a tougher approach than we hoped for.
I wouldn’t say is bad parenting. It is just different to what we wanted. We would have wanted to live in blissful ignorance our whole lives. Covered and protected from the evils of the world. But, would you keep your child like this? It would make him/her sort of useless wouldn’t it? You teach your children the best you can and then you send them off to the world, hoping that they’ll keep your teachings to sail through the hardships of life. And here we are, sailing our way through life, trying to find our way back home.
Look back at your struggles and at your pain. What has it taught you? You can let your pain destroy you, your struggles sink you, or you can take the lesson, swallow your ego and accept your grade. Struggles teach. Nonetheless, it is up to each individual person to understand the lesson that each struggles provides. Our lives are so different, that even if two people face the same problem the lesson can be entirely different for each one of them.
Understanding the Lessons
Here is where meditation, faith, and patience kicks in. Lessons are not always visible at first sight. It requires a lot of understanding. But looking back, you can almost always see the points connecting and finally understand why you had to go through that. We tend to view older people as wiser, why? Because they’ve been here longer, which means that they have more experience with life, pain, troubles, and battles.
Would you ask a three-year-old for marriage advice? Probably not. What experience can a three-year-old have with married life. You would probably ask for advice from an elderly couple who have had their fair share of marital problems and know all the pickles in the jar. You’re not the same person as you were ten, twenty or thirty years ago. Life has probably thrown stuff at you that has changed the way you perceive the world. It’s no longer rainbows and sunshine, how you remember it when you were a child. You now realize that somewhere in time you lived in a blissfully happy bubble of ignorance, oblivious to the troubles of the world.
But do not be discouraged. Ignorance can only bring a limited amount of happiness. It is a temporary state of joy, that needs to end to give way to evolution. Eventually, we all have to grow up, and with the lessons that we learn also comes understanding and growth. Which allows us to sail stronger currents, so we can get home.
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