Nobody likes to suffer. It feels awful and makes us desperate for relief sometimes. Why wouldn’t we want to skip over our hardships so that we never had to suffer again? Why wouldn’t we want to spare our children and friends from devastating illness, heartbreak or failure of any sort? We wouldn’t. We want to spare ourselves discomfort and hardships for anyone we care about. Suffering seems to go against our very nature—our struggle to survive.
But, what if the very nature of suffering holds in it a prize? What if it holds a deeply important feature of living, that of knowing how others feel. How could we possibly endeavor to soothe or console another if we did not know what suffering was all about? More importantly, if our purpose in living is to become better at soothing and consoling, how could we skip over the prerequisite experience of suffering that gives us just the right emotional understanding and words to say? We couldn’t and we shouldn’t. Here’s why:
If avoiding discomfort and the depths that we call suffering keeps us out of touch with our basic instinct of caring for others, then we alter the path we are on and proceed on a different path, one that gives us different and possibly unrelated experiences. In doing so, we deny our soul’s urging for growth and maturation. We literally give up our original intentions in coming to this dimension to learn specific skills.
We do the same when we rush in to keep our sons and daughters from experiencing their own discomfort and heartaches. We deny them their prescribed lessons that come from specific experiences meant for their spiritual growth. In our efforts to nullify bad grades or stick up for a child in a dispute with a teacher or coach, we give them other experiences, not the ones they were intended to have. We teach them to avoid suffering instead of how to deal with it, with wonder, perhaps fear and desperation, but ultimately coming out of the experience with a better working knowledge of themselves. It isn’t enough to teach them how to navigate the people and situations around them. They also need to know how to accept hardship and read the gift/benefit that such hardship brings.
All hardships present at least an ounce of benefit—if not a whole lot more. It’s difficult to see it when you’re in the middle of a fight or slight or out-and-out cruelty but after it’s over, the prize is there: not getting the thing you wanted gave you something else; the person you wanted was shown not to be for your highest good, the move, the firing, the loss of vitality gave you time to reconsider your life goals and pursue a richer emotional life.
Tragedy is a term for a devastating hardship that can either be seen as an opportunity for self-reflection and growth, or can be construed as the end of one’s life, the end of growth opportunities. It is also possible that tragedy is what we wanted to experience, to know its elements and consequences. It is a matter of perception. Seen from some distance, it is possible to see the positive consequences that follow tragedy: a family becomes closer, a secret is revealed and action is taken, new laws are made, new friends.
The worst-case scenario we can think of that stems from discomfort, suffering, tragedy is death, and death means going “home.” Not a horrible thing, contrary to public discourse. If death is not a horrible thing, and suffering is only a temporary state that brings you better understanding of yourself and others, and tragedy brings new beginnings, why skip over it? Take it all in, all the emotions that are offered to us in this dimension, even the ones that seem onerous. It is our birthright.
Annette Goggio, MPH, holds graduate and undergraduate degrees in the health sciences. Her practice in energy medicine is based on the teachings of Dixie Yeterian and Donna Eden of Eden Energy Medicine. Ms. Goggio offers a suite of services including hands-on and distant healing, life counselling, and numerology. To learn more please visit: www.aquantummoment.com. Her recent book, Healing: A Conversation, provides readers with a framework for understanding life purpose and the education of the soul.