November 2    

Today's quotation:

Realize that your suffering has meaning and purpose.  It has made you more compassionate to others' suffering.  You can now use your pain to help others overcome suffering.

Susan Santucci

Today's Meditation:

The vast majority of us don't necessarily want to suffer, but if suffer we must, then it would do us well to keep in mind that we're becoming deeper and stronger people, deeper and stronger spirits, by dealing with suffering rather than leading a life free from all suffering.  It's not easy to accept, when all is said and done, but it really is the truth.  It's like we're being tempered by conditions beyond our control, growing stronger from the touch of life that we try to avoid, but which brings significant growth and learning to us.

I usually don't want to suffer, but when I do go through troubled times I try to keep in mind that the difficult times in my life are the ones that make me a stronger and more compassionate human being.  The suffering will make me stronger in the long run.  Perhaps I've learned this reality from running long distances-- the only way that we can ever run a marathon is by spending lots of time pushing our limits to the point of discomfort and even pain in order to build our strength and endurance.  You simply can't build endurance without going through some discomfort.

There are those people who even welcome suffering because they realize that they'll never grow stronger without it.  They know that they grow through suffering, that it can make them stronger and wiser and more ready for whatever life may throw their way.  We don't have to actually go searching for suffering in order to feel its benefits, but it is good for us to accept the down times and the difficult times so that we may feel the positive effects of suffering.

I shan't avoid suffering.  I won't try to do so.  I won't search suffering out, either.  But I will accept it when it becomes part of my life, and I sincerely hope that I'm strong enough to deal with it well when it comes my way.  We can curse suffering for the pain it brings, or we can take the benefits of the suffering and use them to make us people who are better able to help others who are going through things that are similar to those that we're going through.

Questions to consider:

What kinds of positive effects might suffering have on you?

Why do so many of us so often do all that we can to avoid suffering?

What does it mean to accept suffering when it hits us?

For further thought:

Strength is a capacity for endurance.  One of the dividends of suffering is the universal discovery that 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

more thoughts and ideas on suffering



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