Suffering . . . Hey, where ‘ya going? Don’t run away now! 🙂
After all, suffering is integral to our human experience. As the Martha Reeves and the Vandellas sang way back when, there’s “Nowhere to run to baby, nowhere to hide.”
Somehow we think we can run, but we can’t. We find so many ways of running away from our suffering in the here and now, but it’s all just an illusion.
This illusion takes its many forms in a mood altering experience, whether it’s through a favorite drug, or chasing another new lover, or the thrill of winning at the black jack table, or paying out for yet another “perfect” pair of jeans, or having yet another piece of quadruple decker chocolate cake, it goes on and on. We humans are so very creative at finding ways of jumping out of the present moment.
But why not be here?
Why go where it feels like somewhere else to disconnect from the here and now?
It’s that word again:
If you’re a lover of words like I am, you’ll know the root word of the verb to suffer is the Latin, ‘sufferer’, which means to bear, to undergo or to endure.
We humans have a natural inclination toward the avoidance of pain.
Is there any wisdom to our inclination to want to avoid pain?
I think there is. It brings us temporary respite from whatever it is in the moment we know on some level will bring us pain, or discomfort, or distress, or anxiety, etc..
If we’re making such an effort to travel out of the present moment on our preferred vehicle, to create a break from being in the here and now, it must be pretty crazy right here. Not? Pretty un-bearable.
We do what we can to protect ourselves from the un-bearable.
What if we were to say, “Kudos to me for taking care of me in the best way I know how to avoid what I cannot endure right now.”
What would that be like?
I think we deserve a few gold stars when we do take care of ourselves in these ways. J
But what happens if we decide consciously or otherwise to continue down this road of suffering’s avoidance?
We experience consequences.
This mental stuff builds up. Over time it becomes increasingly hard to repress. We experience even more pain. We need to get even more creative about the vehicle we use to avoid it. The stuff starts to seep into our life in unexpected ways. For some, the psychological pain starts to morph into physical pain. Down the rabbit hole we go.
But could there be an upside to suffering? You read that right. It’s so pervasive in our human experience, there’s gotta be a point to it.
If there were an upside to suffering, what would it be?
That’ll be the focus of the upcoming edition.