February 24

Although the world is full
of suffering, it is also full
of the overcoming of it.

Helen Keller


Today's Meditation:

You've suffered.  We all have, and each day we suffer some more, be it from anxiety, stress, tragedy, broken relationships, or any of hundreds more causes of suffering.  But you've come through the suffering to become the person you are, and you will come through the suffering that the future holds for you, and you will become a stronger, more resilient, more kind and compassionate person because of your suffering.

Most of us don't go through the huge tragedies that cause people to suffer immensely and intensely.  Some of us do go through things like depression, though, that do cause incredible suffering.  Somehow, though, we overcome the suffering and we keep on keeping on.  While this may seem like just the thing to do, it truly is something to be admired.

I believe that the most important thing that we can do when we're dealing with suffering is to maintain a healthy perspective, no matter how far down our suffering drags us.  Four simple words have been incredibly helpful to me in the days when depression pretty much ruled my life:  "This, too, shall pass."  In these words we see an extremely wise sense of reality, and an acknowledgment that life works in cycles, and that though the challenging times do come and affect us, we can and will overcome the suffering of the dark times, just as billions of people have done through the ages.

We can take heart that the sun rises every day, and the darkest night that we go through will eventually be driven out by the sunlight.  There are many ways to overcome suffering--talking to others, prayer, faith, meditation, asking for help--and it's important to remember that suffering does not define us, but how we react to that suffering just may help to define who we are as human beings.  The fact that the world is full of the overcoming of suffering is cause for celebration and admiration; instead, it seems to be a fact that we usually don't think about much.

Questions to consider:

What do you consider to be suffering, and what do you consider to be simply inconveniences? 

Why do so many people seem to feel most comfortable when they're suffering?  What need is the suffering filling?

Why is it important to keep in mind that suffering shall pass, and that many people have suffered through--and overcome--much worse than we're dealing with?

For further thought:

Strength is a capacity for endurance.  One of the dividends of suffering is the universal discovery the we possess a strength within us we never knew we had.  Navigating through a difficult episode not only shows us that inner strength is there but convinces us it will always be there to serve us in the future.  Overcoming gives us an assurance of personal confidence and value that far exceeds what we thought we possessed before our struggles began.

Dennis Wholey


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