Suffering: The Catalyst for Liberation
word suffering brings to our memory feelings of agony, pain, and
unpleasant experiences. Despite our ceaseless attempts, the fact
remains that none escape from the very experience that we strive
to avoid. What if I were to tell you that the feeling that “I am
suffering” is nothing but your response to a situation or
circumstance and, in reality, you control how you feel, not the
situation? Painful experiences can only affect you to the extent
you allow it to, nothing more than that.
Unpleasant circumstances, however long their duration may seem,
do not last forever. They are like dark clouds that clear
quickly, revealing the clear blue sky of spirituality. It is the
law of nature that after every night there is day. The sun must
rise at dawn, no matter how dark the night had been. Just before
dawn, however, the night is the darkest. In the same manner,
know that when you are in the darkest and toughest phase of your
life, dawn (happiness) is very close at hand.
to our imagination, these experiences serve a great purpose in
life, and if utilized correctly, the lessons learnt take us a
step closer to our goal: liberation. Don’t get me wrong. I am
not a masochist. I am simply making an attempt to speak about
the other side that we often tend to overlook (a very natural
human inclination). There are various viewpoints that attempt to
elaborate on the purpose—and reason—behind all the unpleasant
experiences we undergo. Some attribute it to karmas, others
speak of it as being a test, some others consider it to be a
routine part of life, and there are still others who welcome
suffering as a cherished gift. A gift? I hear you ask. Yes, a
gift. I will get to that a little later in this article.
as we live in body consciousness, we will never understand the
reason behind our circumstances, and to a great extent we don’t
even control their presence in our life. What we control,
however, is our reaction to these circumstances. Bringing
negative thoughts will make you feel exactly that: “unhappy”.
Positive thoughts on the other hand will elevate your spirits
and give you the sense of happiness you seek and deserve.
lowest periods of our life should be used to learn how to avoid
future mistakes and to progress toward the goal of human life:
evolution to divine consciousness. Have you noticed how
compassionate we become during trying circumstances? We suddenly
start to not only understand, but also feel the sorrow of
others. Great teachers often liken suffering to fire and speak
of it as being a great furnace of life where real gold (soul) is
purified and molded in a form worthy of adoration. When we
graduate from this phase, our inner splendor is revealed in all
inwards is the only way to permanent happiness. Suffering
compels us to turn inwards, breaking free from the iron grip of
worldly attachments. No matter what religion you follow, lives
of saintly incarnations in your own religious philosophy will
serve as beacon lights. You will not find a single saint or
incarnation who did not have to suffer in the physical sense.
Did Jesus not have the power to prevent His crucifixion? He
could have averted the entire episode. But He did not; instead,
He embraced the torment with great joy. He knew that this
suffering would lead Him back to God and give Him an everlasting
life of eternal bliss. It is for this reason that saints and
great beings embrace suffering as a divine gift—an opportunity
to get closer to God. Not only Jesus, every divine being
embraced suffering with equanimity. Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Rama,
Baba, Pope John Paul II—all these incarnations joyously accepted
what came their way. Their blissful nature was not in the least
tainted by worldly sorrows.
Krishna asked Kunti, the mother of pandavas, to seek a boon.
Kunti grabbed the opportunity and asked for a life full of
difficulties and sufferings. Normally, people would seek
happiness, yet she acted quite to the contrary. The all-knowing
Krishna knew her intentions, yet for the sake of the world He
asked her the reason behind choosing such an unusual boon. The
wise Kunti explained that it is only during trying times that
one constantly remembers the Lord and seeks His grace and
proximity. The Lord too, during tough times, is closest to us,
carrying us safely through a phase that we can never dream of
getting through on our own.
ever lose hope in life. Take this opportunity to realize your
own inherent divinity. Turn inwards and enter the gates of bliss
that await your return. Tough times wont last forever. Bliss is
your birthright; strive to achieve it in this birth itself.