The School of Suffering

school of suffering

The work I do is privileged work, and I do my very best never to forget this. In it I try my hardest to help people lessen their difficulties, and alleviate their suffering.

When it comes to suffering, no one is immune. Mixed right in with the joy that life offers, each of us will experience our own share of pain, our own portion of suffering.

The simple truth is that we can lessen suffering, but try as we might, we can never totally escape it. It is in attempting to do so, in trying to avoid instead of face our difficulties, that we invite even greater confusion and deeper discomfort into our lives.

As that great psychologist Carl Jung observed, ‘All neurosis is simply an attempt to avoid necessary suffering’.

There is a better way; a more rounded and mature way of looking at our suffering. And that is to see it as a launching pad for greater meaning, a springboard for transformation.

Far from being defeated by our suffering, we can choose to push on regardless, continuing in spite of it, and learning life’s lessons along the way.

More than this, we can even learn to thrive because of it.

Our difficulties can be our greatest teachers. Through them we can learn a deeper appreciation for life and all it holds. We can learn to value the positive aspects, the people and things that we have in our life – the breath that we breathe – renewing our determination to make the very best of our time here on Earth.

Yes, it will take courage. But each of us has courage enough for the journey. It’s not there in some of us; it’s there in every one of us, just waiting to be called into action. All we have to do is to grit our teeth, reach deep inside, and we will find all the strength and courage we need.

We are not powerless. Our burden may be heavy, our progress slow and sometimes painful, but we have the ability to turn our suffering into personal growth and inner development.

It is we alone who are in charge of if and how we move forward. And the only way to do this is to face our suffering and to somehow deal with it, to push on and to keep pushing on.

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls;
the most massive characters are seared with scars.
’ - Khalil Gibran

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