The Virtues of SufferingFeb 23, 2022
We live in an age where some capitalize on the false promise that you can navigate all of life's uncertainties and adversities without pain and suffering.
What utter balderdash.
Pain and suffering are inevitable conditions that will be visited upon each and every one of us many times throughout our life's journey. Instead of ignoring or avoiding these moments, perhaps we should embrace them?
Pain is physiological. It's a call to address a hurt before it does you further harm. When pain arises, you should heed its call and address the source of your pain.
Suffering is a psychological affliction. I'd argue it's also a spiritual plight. Suffering raises questions about the meaning of your condition.
Pain is real. Suffering is a story. Choose your story, choose your future.
To be free of suffering is to be disengaged from the pursuit of finding purpose in all of life's richness and complexities. A life without suffering would also be a life without joy.
If suffering isn't required to live a good life, why do all humanity's spiritual and philosophical traditions spend so much time trying to help us learn from it?
Suffering is an invitation. It reminds us that certainty and reassurance are futile and asks us to embrace the fullness of life with wonder, curiosity, and awe and lean into sensemaking with integrity, intention, and rigor.
To run or hide from suffering is to diminish ourselves and act the victim. To embrace suffering and lean into and through it is to expand our consciousness and engage our heroic soul.
I know. Heeding suffering's call is hard. I fail to heed its call more often than I care to admit.
However, ignoring or avoiding the inevitable risks and conflicts in a difference-maker's adventures robs us of the meaning of being on the journey in the first place.
How can you help yourself not forget the journey? A mission? A guide? Fellow travelers? What else?
Scott Perry, Chief Difference-Maker at Creative on Purpose.
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