The Beauty of Suffering
I had a hard weekend. Not physically, it was lovely weather and I had no real demands upon me. But emotionally it was very hard. I fought with myself the entire weekend. Old habits dying harder. Or rather an older version of me refusing to die and struggling to survive. It was very un-fun.
However, I weathered it. My suffering was not in vain and it really did (as always) become the fertile rich soil of my further growth. The real growth was that even as I struggled, I knew that there was a huge benefit in it. Like it wasn’t all in vain, not just a punishment that is endless and lands me in no better stead. No, I knew that all I struggled to survive in myself this past weekend was going to make my life richer, fuller and better. And I was right.
Suffering is part of life. We grasp and hold onto things, people, belongings, ideas, concepts, loves, money and a variety of other things which bring us deep suffering. We make decisions that life should grant us this or that. The most violent thing we do to ourselves is to refuse to accept reality as it unfolds in front of us. We tell fabulous stories that things should be different. People should be different. Life should be different. And in the telling of that tale, we create a suffering that keeps us forever stuck.
No one likes suffering...well almost no one. But if you look at how we chose to live our lives, we might be surprised at how much we create circumstances that in fact cause more suffering, not less. Our refusal to see life as it really is, that all that is happening to us, is happening for us. We create conditions which really cause us to miss the point of life: to grow and stretch in the direction of spirit.
I have heard it said many times that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. The great irony is that in having that human experience, we often tend to completely ignore or shrink back from anything that smacks of spirit. We crave connection but then behave in ways that are sure to disconnect us from source and others.
There is a lot of pain in the world right now. And I have been tempted to think that there is more than normal. I am not sure that is true. I feel like we are all being given a lot to deal with to see what we do with it. I know that I have felt like I have too much lately. But I don’t really believe in the concept of too much. I know that I am always given just enough to cause me to grow in the direction of good and light.
Some of the most beautiful things I have ever had occasion to witness, have occurred because of great suffering. Alcoholism being at the forefront. I would have never had the life I do today, had I not been a total drunk and almost ruined my life. It was only through great suffering, that I found and came to enjoy great peace and beauty.
Like most things in life, it isn’t all just one way. Suffering is awful and we all do our best to avoid it. But there is also beauty down there in the dirt of suffering. Tragic things happen so that magic can happen. I think our most damaging defect of character is to quickly and summarily decide that suffering is to be avoided and ended as quickly as possible. For me, what I have learned is that suffering is just part of life, no more to be avoided or ended than the happy parts of life. It is just where I am right now. The more and better I come to know why and how I am suffering, seemingly the quicker I am relieved from my suffering and provided sufferings antidote - understanding.
That to me is the beauty of suffering - being delivered to the other side and seeing why and how it all happened. And seeing that no matter how painful and awful what I just survived was, I am now better for the passage. I have skills that I did not posses that are now acquired. I have experience that I can share with others who will enter my life in need of a guiding light that I now actually possess.
And to me that is really the beauty of suffering, surviving and living through hard and often tragic things so that we can be there for others who suffer similarly. That to me is the best and most wonderful purpose in this world. To live our lives fully and completely, suffering included, so that we may be beacons to those who also get lost in the wilds of their own minds and lives. We walk on to show others that it is possible to survive, to love again, to live with renewed purpose even while our spirits flag and threaten to pull us under. We survive so that we can be there for others, to show them that whatever horror, pain, damage or loss, we can go on and use all of it as fodder for a new way to live. One that embraces even suffering as fertile soil for growth. And that is pretty fucking spectacularly beautiful to me.