The Wisdom of Suffering…

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The Wisdom of Suffering…

At one time or another, we have all experienced suffering to varying degrees.

Physical pain is a form of suffering, but mostly it indicates emotional pain or mental anguish.

This has been a roller coaster week for me. A friend of mine, Travis, had a serious heart attack and ended up in a coma for most of the week. When you feel like you’re on a roller coaster, it’s hard to know which way is up, or where the next sudden turn will take place.

The solitude of suffering, as described by John O'Donohue

The solitude of suffering, as described by John O’Donohue

It has been my experience when the dark clouds of life roll in, to look for the silver lining, to pray and hope for the best possible outcome. I’m happy to know that Travis has finally regained consciousness and has begun the road to recovery. Thanks be to God!

In his book, The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho says, “Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.

The Wisdom In Suffering

To suggest that there is even such a thing as “wisdom in suffering” might, at first, seem incomprehensible.

On the surface, “wisdom in suffering” seems to make no sense.

When we are agonizing over something, feeling excruciating emotions, or are spiritually tormented, we can think of nothing else. We just want the pain to stop. People who have changed their minds about committing suicide will tell you they agree with this.

When might there be wisdom in suffering? The answer is this: When you allow suffering to be your teacher. And when you do, you sit up and take notice. The deeper the suffering, the deeper and greater the life lessons prove to be.

Let’s look at this more closely.

In this world, there is no end to the bloodshed and violence; man’s inhumanity to his or her own kind, and to others in nature.

Every day, human beings die of starvation, are raped, and murdered. They are beaten, tortured, and enslaved.

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why this is?

Is it because the media tends to report the gory, macabre and sensational?

No, these things happen regardless of the media coverage that draws them to our attention.

Underlying the question is a deeper issue. “We have no peace,” as Mother Teresa observed, “… because we have forgotten that we belong to one another.”

Now we are getting close to the answer. It is because there are only two ways to live life: in LOVE or in fear.

And the wisest among us know that the deepest form of wisdom is LOVE. (Click to Tweet)

 

Mindful Quotes About Suffering

  • Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. ~ Helen Keller
  • Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. ~ Khalil Gibran
  • The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths. ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
  • Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing what to do is the worse kind of suffering. ~ Paulo Coelho

 

Dealing With Suffering

A lot of suffering is passed on to others from those who suffered. They did not learn to deal with their pain.

If you’ve suffered at the hands of an abuser, if you’ve experienced violence, if you’ve been the recipient of unspeakable atrocities, the wisdom of suffering has something to say to you.

Instead of:

  • acting out the violence and abuse inflicted on you
  • allowing your pain to claim your peace and define you
  • wasting your valuable time and energy on plotting revenge

Identify with the pain. Remember how horrible it was to experience it.

Think how terrible that anyone else should suffer in the manner you have.

When you internalized this abhorrence, you do not wish to see anyone go through what you’ve experienced.

Remember the emotions you went through and you’ll never want anyone to feel that badly. Now, move past the pain.

When you:
* let go of the need for justice
* release the desire for vengeance
* think beyond yourself

… YOU develop compassionate awareness.

The wisdom of suffering also tells us to celebrate differences, not to be upset over them.

Always remember: We all have something meaningful to contribute.
Regardless of race, religion or riches, simply accept others as they are.

Some of the poorest people on the planet are the wealthiest spiritually.
The wisdom of suffering tells us to be more empathetic, to be more understanding, to be more tolerant.

Why is this?

It’s because Love is the answer. Love covers a multitude of transgressions.

Those who love seek first to understand, then to be understood.

This is also true because you don’t want to be the cause of more suffering.

The wisdom of suffering tells you that it takes more than compassion to put an end to suffering. It takes love… true love.

It asks us to be unselfish, to be wilfully and passionately concerned for the welfare of others; beyond ourselves.

It calls us to BE LOVE TO OTHERS, to be a vessel of mercy to others.

When you do, then you will begin the difficult task of putting an end to suffering.

Where do we begin when we have been hurt so badly?

Forgiveness. We need to forgive for several reasons:

    • for our own peace of mind.
    • to empower ourselves by taking back control of our lives.
    • to not get stuck in a victim mindset.
    • to plan for a brighter future.
    • to release toxic thoughts from our mind.
    • to return to living in present awareness, rather than focusing on the past.
    • to return to LOVE as our natural state of being.

How many times do I need to forgive? Until you are finally free. This is the wisdom of suffering.

You Have A Voice… Let’s Hear It!

Suffering has taught me a deep level of compassion. What has it taught… or is it now teaching you?

I will appreciate hearing from you and learning from your experiences.

Please contribute here. Thanks kindly!

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About Bill Butler
William A. Butler is a John C.Maxwell certified coach. He loves to add value to others and aspiring to be a great humanitarian, lives by four words: BE LOVE TO OTHERS. William often goes by "Bill" and is a poet, a songwriter and has an upcoming novel.

63 thoughts on “The Wisdom of Suffering…

  1. Hi Bill,

    I often wonder…could there be anybody on this earth who has not experienced suffering and pain? This is how suffering speaks to me but it speaks only when it is about to leave us. Wisdom of understanding these essential phases of life comes only after passing through them.

    As youngsters, full of life and energy, we scoff at suffering, we tell ourselves – how can it touch us – until it encounters us unawares. We refuse to surrender, give it a fierce fight, resist its onslaught and realise, eventually…that it is our best companion, worthy of embracing and making peace with!

    You are SO right! suffering brings along compassion and forgiveness. But I often wonder – what if it is undeserved? Whom would you hold responsible for unfair suffering?
    This post touches upon many aspects, so I raise these questions. Thanks for sharing such a multifaceted post! Have a nice week!
    Balroop Singh recently posted…Seven Secrets Of ArroganceMy Profile

    • Hi Balroop,
      I suppose that the only ones who have never experienced suffering and pain would be those that are born with full sensory deprivation. They would possess no conscious awareness of such things. I think when we pass through suffering, when we purposely look to the lessons and for growth, rather than protection, we operate from our higher self. I love how you’ve described the seeming invincibility of youth. You’re right… who would you hold responsible? Those prone to negativity would turn their anger inward and blame themselves or tell themselves they asked for it or deserved it.
      Have a beautiful week also. 🙂
      Bill

  2. Hi Bill. First of all I am happy that your friend is on the road to recovery. I particularly like the exhortation to not expect justice. Life has never claimed to be fair and it really does seem that each is given the strength to bear whatever they are dealt. Rather than isolate a single example of learning through suffering, I would say that in general lessons learned the hard way seem to be lessons well learned
    Paul Graham recently posted…Monday Matters : Predicting The PastMy Profile

    • Hi Paul,
      Happy Canada Day, my friend! Thanks for your kind regards. I was very happy to speak to Travis earlier today. I agree with your perspective about strength. I think, we are often stronger than we give ourselves credit for. Yes, the mountain top has the view, but the valley floor knows its depth.

      All the best,
      Bill

  3. Hi Bill – another post to make us think. No one likes to suffer but I think the absence of suffering would make us terribly shallow people. I believe the Helen Keller quote is right on:
    Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
    Lenie

    • Hi Lenie,
      I think we would know less of joy, or not much at all about it if there were no suffering. Life does not come with some quality that exempts or makes us impervious to pain,sorrow or suffering. I’m glad, at least, we live in the times we do. Just imagine the suffering people used to endure without proper nutrition or medicine. That fact alone makes me very grateful.

      Best Regards,
      Bill

  4. Greetings!

    Thank you for that word–I am sorry that Travis has suffered so, but glad that things are working out for all.

    Here at Servant’s Heart Healing Ministries, we focus on balance in healing, and suffering is certainly a part of that balance. To wit, I’ve included some verses from that “American Pie” of the Old Testament, Psalm 119, to show things aren’t always as we wish, but that good really can come from suffering.

    Also, I’ve included an amazing passage of Scripture to that end from II Cointhians Chapter 1.

    Thanks again for sharing.

    b(Les)sings

    [67] Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.
    [71] It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes
    [75] I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.
    [92] Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction
    [107] I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word.
    [153] Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law.

    From II Corinthians 1:[3] Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; [4] Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. [5] For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. [6] And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. [7] And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation. [8] For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: [9] But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: [10] Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;

    • Hi Les,
      I appreciate words of encouragement and Scripture you shared. Many times people leave God out of the equation, especially when hurting.
      Where my friend is concerned, we have prayed continually for him, and will continue beyond his recovery.

      Kind Regards,
      Bill

  5. This is a very timely post for me, Bill. But first, I am happy your friend is on the road to recovery. I could write for ages on this topic, but for now, I will limit my comments to this one thought. Live fully in love. Show people you love them unconditionally. Having been abused as a young woman in college at the hands of someone I thought was in love with me, I know this to be true. Surround yourself with loving, positive people. Run from those that only want to spread their negativity. Suffering has it’s place and teaches lessons. I believe one has to absorb those lessons, go through the pain and come out the other end stronger. And share them, when appropriate with others.
    Laurie Hurley recently posted…Why You Should Nurture Virtual RelationshipsMy Profile

    • Hi Laurie,
      Thank you for your regards and for those 4 words: LIVE FULLY IN LOVE. I have internalized these very words for a long time now. I am sorry that you also underwent abuse. I can relate to the pain of it, even though your experience of it is unique to you. Yes, I sure believe in surrounding myself with loving, uplifting people. As I’ve written before… “Life is too short to live in a hurry, Life is too long for heartache and worry.” I know that we can become stronger, but one must never get stuck in a victim mindset. I agree with you in sharing as well. It’s a very healthy habit.
      Have a beautiful week and a Happy July 4th!
      Bill

  6. Hi Bill, I think that we are all prone to avoiding (or attempting to avoid!) suffering, especially when it comes to suffering for the sake of loving another person. This is so contrary to our nature and I think that is precisely why suffering has such a profound maturing impact on us. Sadly, much of what American culture says today is that everyone should look out for themselves; use their own voice regardless of the damage harsh, hateful words inflict; choose what is”best” for yourself; and sacrifice for your goals not your neighbors, you’ll get taken advantage of otherwise! This makes a person’s willingness to sacrifice for another, especially without guarantee of a good return, sound crazy. I appreciate you thinking through and encouraging your readers to love boldly!
    I’m am glad to know that your friend has pulled out of the coma due to his heart attack and I hope that you will find comfort in the love of God during a difficult time of suffering.
    Warmly,
    Sally

    • Hi Sally,
      Welcome to BE LOVE TO OTHERS! I think you’re right. The more we care for others, the more we are willing to not only walk a mile in their shoes, but to
      wear out the leather as well. It is counter-intuitive to seek wisdom in suffering, especially at the height of the pain we feel. I know that life offers us lessons from every angle, so we need to stay open to love and growth. Yes, God is the source of my strength. I have every reason to expect the best possible outcome.

      Kind Regards,
      Bill

  7. First and foremost I am happy that your friend is recovering. And I do think that suffering has a purpose in this world and I believe that it is as you say…to teach compassion. If one really listens I think the lesson is to learn to love. But you have to be open to that, or it could go the other way.
    Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie) recently posted…Busy…Where’s The Justice?My Profile

    • Hi Jacquie,
      My thanks for your kind words regarding Travis. I think love is the reason for life, the ultimate purpose for it.
      I also think life presents lessons in order for us to remember, beneath the layers of our experience, that we are love.
      Enjoy your week, especially the upcoming holiday!
      Bill

  8. Hi William; I’m so glad to hear that your friend will be recovering. when you forgive you aren’t doing it for the other person you are doing it for yourself. by letting go of the hurt you free yourself up to move forward and grow as a person. I had to forgive my cousin. and i felt it was important to write it down in a public place. this was important because I might still be trying to do things part time without the push he gave me. He didn’t know he was pushing me towards something better. but then that’s not important. thanks for sharing this message of love, max
    maxwell ivey recently posted…The story beginsMy Profile

    • Hi Max,
      I appreciate your sentiments where Travis is concerned. Yes, I agree with you… forgiveness releases us from feelings of angst and harboring ill will, which is as toxic as battery acid inside us. Many people suffer unnecessarily because they refuse to forgive, but I’m glad that you were able to forgive your cousin, and then later change how you viewed that situation. Have a happy 4th upcoming!
      Bill

  9. Hey Bill, this post resonates with most of what some of us see daily when we drive to work or park a car at a mall or wherever we go. It is all around us. Suffering. I have suffered before and fortunately took it upon myself to change my circumstance and become what I wanted to be. Your quote from Paul Coelho said the worst kind of suffering is not knowing what to do. Sometimes I do not want to watch the news where you see people who are suffering in this way because I take it personally and it hurts as I identify with that kind of suffering. It takes great wisdom to suffer and learn and breakthrough.
    Welli recently posted…Fear: Breaking the block part 2My Profile

    • Hi Welli,
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I too changed my thinking and am certainly better for not allowing the suffering I experienced to make me a jaded person. I don’t know of anyone who enjoys seeing someone else suffer, not in the slightest. I once saw what was happening in New Orleans right after Hurricane Katrina, and felt compelled to help. I was down shortly thereafter and went back with a team on the next visit over Christmas. So, even though we see some bad news, we can choose to do something good about it.

      All the best,
      Bill

  10. When you’ve suffered because of the meanness or insensitivity of others it’s easy to wallow in your misery. I think the only way we can emerge from suffering is through forgiveness. You need to find it in your heart to forgive those who have caused you pain. And don’t forget to forgive yourself when you feel you’ve don’t something stupid or caused someone else pain (and be sure to forgive that person). Sometimes we are our worst enemy. Learn to forgive yourself.
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…9 Blog Commenting Services — their Pros and ConsMy Profile

    • Hello Jeannette,
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree with you, we could easily get stuck in the mire, but I think a conscious choice to grow from the experience rather than react from defense mechanisms is a wise choice. Yes, forgiveness is liberating, especially when you give yourself permission to forgive yourself.
      Have a great week!
      Blil

  11. Glad your friend is recovering!

    Yes, Buddha was right about the importance of suffering., wasn’t he:-)
    Catarina recently posted…Get back in the saddle again!My Profile

    • Hi Catarina,
      Thanks so much. Yes, I think Buddha was right, in as much as we end suffering by eliminating ignorance and cravings through understanding.
      This is very practical wisdom, and similar to Napoleon Hill’s discussion of transmutation in Think and Grow Rich.

      Cheers!
      Bill

  12. Boy this resonated for me. You would not believe the year I’ve had with suffering family members. When you love someone in pain, as you did no doubt with your friend, you suffer too. My take away from 2 family members is – use the wisdom from the suffering to help those who are in pain now.

    Timely post that lifts my spirits – thanks William.
    Patricia Weber recently posted…5 Tips To Understand and Get Out of LinkedIn Group Posting JailMy Profile

    • Hi Patricia,
      I empathize with your suffering. I think being enlightened from that compassionate awareness viewpoint I talked about is the greatest service you can offer your family members. I’m glad you’re uplifted Patricia, and certainly my best regards to you and your loved ones, for peace and strength.

      Kindly,
      Bill

  13. Suffering and the knowledge gained has always been a topic that has intrigued me. Mainly because of my research into the WWll Pacific arena and the POW’s there and in Europe. The fact that these people came out and so many went on to live productive and relatively joyous lives. The same can be said about people all over the world; South Africa for example. I completely agree that the fear of suffering is the greater evil. When I was in Cambodia I read many memoirs and the theme that ran through many was that death was nothing compared to the imprisonment and torture that preceded it. These are extreme cases and yes, we have all suffered to one degree or another and I do believe it is a necessary part of life and evolution.
    Tim recently posted…Monks with SnowballsMy Profile

    • I just wanted to clarify my last sentence above. I did not mean to imply that the suffering and torture of the holocaust or any kind of genocide is part of evolution; just that emotional suffering we all go through as part of a relationship breakdown or death in the family (natural suffering) becomes part of ones makeup. It deepens compassion, understanding and provides a more sincere perspective. Sorry if my original statement sounded a little off.
      Tim recently posted…Monks with SnowballsMy Profile

      • Hi Tim,
        Thanks for the clarification. I understand what you mean. There are circumstances that we experience that certainly contribute to who we are.
        I think the human race as a whole needs to learn the great and important lessons of treating one another with dignity, respect and love.
        The great cause behind every peace movement, mission and accord is to accomplish this end, to end hostilities and mass graves.
        Suffering certainly does deepen compassion. No worries on your previous. I love to learn, so thanks for the edification.

        Best Regards,
        Bill

    • Hi Tim,
      I’m intrigued too. I think the human spirit has a remarkable amount of resiliency built into it. I cannot imagine the horrors of war those service people endured. I’m convinced that if we are determined to do better for ourselves, we certainly will. I did not let experiences of abuse prevent me from getting ahead in life. I determined to use every negative experience as fuel… as motivation to be a better person. Fear is such a debilitating and unhealthy thing. If we were being interned and tortured, I imagine death would look like a more viable option. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Kindly,
      Bill

  14. Hi Bill,
    I always love reading your posts as they always make me feel at peace. I had a very rough childhood – my mother was very abusive in pretty much every form of the meaning. I found as I grew older, I allowed others to verbally and emotionally abuse me. I slowly started removing myself from contact with those people and find that I really don’t have many people around me any more. It seems my entire circle of friends were the exact opposite of the type of people I wanted to associate with. The last straw was my last corporate job where the verbal abuse depend my inferior emotions. It’s been a year and a half since I left that job and I’ve been working every day with positive reinforcement and affirmations. I even have positive affirmations written on my mirrors. I also journal every morning and write only positive, happy thoughts. It’s helped me regain my inner peace. And of course I pray and talk to God all day as I know He loves me and is always here for me. I forgive all the people that have caused me pain because I know inside, they are the ones who have pain, thus the reason they inflict it on others. Hopefully some day, they too, will find their inner peace. Have a wonderful week. Lisa
    Lisa Magoulas recently posted…Eat to Avoid the Midday SlumpMy Profile

    • Hi Lisa,
      Thank you! I’m glad my writing does that for you. I empathize with you. I think I shared with you, I had the same sort of background.
      As I read of your challenges, I would like you to know that you are not alone. I encourage you to seek out a handful of quality people you can associate with. Rotary Club, your local Chamber of Commerce, BBB or Toastmasters are great places to connect with others.

      It may help you to read The Biology of Belief by Dr. Bruce H. Lipton to understand how every moment our beliefs alter our biology. If you have time, I encourage you to gain clarity by watching at least the first half of the 2 hour video of a presentation given by him about The Biology of Perception. You will learn something interesting about affirmations. Thank you for sharing from your heart, I appreciate that. I think it helps to give voice to the pain and suffering. I too believe in God and the power of prayer.

      Kind Regards,
      Bill

  15. Hi Bill,

    Well I’m so glad Travis is going to be okay but as soon as you said heart attack I just started crying. This month will be the first anniversary of the passing of my best friend who died unexpectedly four days after his 44th birthday of a heart attack. I only wish that the people he had been with had called 911. I have a lot of those thoughts but then I have to catch myself and know that it didn’t happen, he’s gone, there’s nothing you can do about it and he wouldn’t want you to wallow for long. He would definitely want me to be upset though, he was kind of all about him but in a fun way. He definitely got his wish.

    We all suffered having lost him but knowing that we had him for the time we did brings some joy as this year has continued without him.

    I’m not going to express my views here about how I think things could be better but Mother Theresa was right! If we had more love in this world and looked at each other as one there might not be so much tragedy around us. It’s just sad but I just continue to feel so blessed everyday.

    Tell Travis our prayers are with him.

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne recently posted…Jon Morrow Said To Ignore Most Popular BloggersMy Profile

    • Hi Adrienne,
      Thank you for praying for Travis. I was able to speak to him earlier today. 🙂
      Yes, I remember you losing your friend. How devastating 🙁
      I think you are wise to look back on your happiest memories of him.

      We can all hope for a better world. As Gandhi said, we need to be the change we wish to see in the world.

      All the best!
      Bill

  16. Even though suffering is not pleasant from my own experiences, what it has done is made me the person I am today. Therefore, as hard as it has been I would not change a thing even though it has been hard. A very good thought provoking post.
    Arleen recently posted…BIC Crowdsourcing Promo to Create a Universal TypefaceMy Profile

    • Hey Arleen,
      Thanks for sharing what your experiences have taught you. I have come to the same conclusion from my own. There is so much freedom in having let the past go and moving forward. But I sometimes wonder… are meant to go through certain types and degrees of suffering to strengthen us into who we eventually become?
      Have a great week!
      Bill

  17. Suffering can be the best of teachers, but not everyone had the coping skills to effectively navigate life’s waters. That’s why it’s important to reach out to others in times of need. There is no reason to suffer alone. At least that’s what growing up with a bipolar mother taught me. The suffering never goes away, but can be channeled in other directions.
    Jeri recently posted…#AmReading: What are your guilty pleasure books?My Profile

    • Hi Jeri,
      I like how your experience has informed you of an effective way to cope with suffering. Yes, many people are ill-equipped to deal with challenges as they come, but just knowing that we can reach out for help or seeing things from a different perspective is good knowledge to possess, especially in very tense moments.

      Have a lovely week!
      Bill

  18. Hi Bill, What a powerful and moving article. I will be thinking of this one for a while.

    I am so glad Travis is on the road to recovery. It’s weeks like this one that help us appreciate the boring weeks!

    A dear friend of mine was shot in the leg this week and was in the ICU in critical condition. I’ve visited him in the hospital twice and was there today when they moved him to a regular room. Yea!

    He has such a positive attitude that you just know his healing and rehab will go well. He is grateful that he is alive and that he didn’t lose his leg. He faces many surgeries and has to learn to walk again but he is already looking forward to working hard to get back to his old self.

    He is such an inspiration to me, as is this article. My favorite part (of many) was when you said that the fear of suffering is often worse than the suffering itself. We need to have faith that we can handle what life throws at us and be grateful for what we have instead of moaning about what we lost.
    Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently posted…2 Easy Steps to Greatly Increase the Chances of Your Tweets Being Read!My Profile

    • Hi Carolyn,
      I appreciate your kind words about Travis and this post. Yes, the nail-biter weeks make us more aware of important life issues.
      It is sad to hear of your friend, but am likewise glad for him, especially about his positive outlook in life. Please wish him a speedy recovery.
      Yes, faith as opposed to worry; love as opposed to fear… really works wonders.

      Best Regards,
      Bill

  19. Compared to you, I have never approached that level of suffering. I’m happy that you are such a positive person who can try his best to think positively even through the direst of times. Really hopeful for your friend to make a complete turnaround with no ill effects in the immediate future.

    This was a very thorough guide you gave here. Really well-laid out. Always love your positive messages.
    Carl recently posted…Life through a map…My Profile

    • Hi Carl,
      Thank you very much. I am hopeful for Travis to make a full recovery.
      I always look to the opposite side of the coin. When we are given the choice to be positive and focus our energy in being better, then I think it makes sense to look at things that way. It sure beats being negative.

      Kind Regards,
      Bill

  20. Mina Joshi says:

    Suffering or any form of struggle does make you stronger especially if you overcome it. Glad to hear that your friend is recovering well. What amazes me that people who become seriously ill recover and often forget that struggle and get back into bad habits again. It’s human nature I suppose. Some of your thoughts and quotes reminded me very much of Buddha’s sayings.We should learn to love and forgive people but it’s not easy.

    • Hello Mina,
      I think you’ve given a very cogent answer… the reason for suffering is to produce strength in us. I’m glad Travis is improving too, thank you. 🙂
      Yes, it is human nature to overlook or take for granted the very things we sometimes struggle to achieve once we’ve obtained them.

      You’re right, learning to love and forgive people isn’t easy, but I think it becomes easier when we recognize our own frailties, and accept responsibility for our own mistakes. It helps to remember that love is not only our highest possibility, it is the essence of who we really are.

      Kind Regards,
      Bill

  21. Hi Bill,

    What a thought provoking post. The wisdom of suffering you shared, is absolutely one of the best. And is also true that one of the strongest and most wise men and women have gone through the pain of suffering.

    I find myself more spiritually connected and more aligned with God in times and pain and stress beyond my control. In fact, being connected with God gives me incredible peace.

    However, the thought of revenge is something I have found always hard to give up although I am work in progress on that front. I read the book “Who Am I?: The 16 Basic Desires That Motivate Our Behavior and Define Our Personality Hardcover by Steven Reiss” and found out that “vengeance” is one of my most dominant motivating factors. So, I decided to leverage the power of vengeance by redirecting my energy into creative ventures when vengeance kicks in.

    Especially when I want to give back to somebody, I realize that success is the best form of revenge and I move into that direction. That way, I avoid doing wrong things and achieve greater success and greater peace.

    Regards,
    Kumar
    Kumar Gauraw recently posted…Yes, You Need To Brag About Yourself And Your Amazing SkillsMy Profile

    • Hi Kumar,

      Yes, indeed. Many people, as Tim observed in his comments, have lived relatively happy and meaningful lives after suffering extraordinary amounts of pain, and enduring unspeakable horrors.

      With regards to your shortcomings Kumar, you are not alone. We are all “saints in training” as I like to say. 😉

      I think we are in the most beautiful place in your life when you have nothing to hide, nothing to prove to anyone, and nothing to lose.
      (On that last point, that we are of such character that we maintain our dignity at all times.)

      I have Reiss’ book as well. 🙂 As I think you already know, I identify most with idealism; altruism, compassion, volunteerism, etc.

      I think suffering can also inform us, again from that compassionate awareness standpoint, that we do not need to exact vengeance on others, for any reason. When we tame our own ego, we come to understand that love is the answer to aggression, anger and hate, but as Mina observed, it’s not easy to love and forgive people. But seeing eye to eye is always better than an “eye for an eye” mindset, wouldn’t you agree?

      Warm Regards,
      Bill

  22. Bill, this is beautiful, and true, but hard to read. I think you’ve really captured the essence of the wisdom of suffering. If it creates more love, forgiveness, and compassion in us, then it is worthwhile. I also feel like when our suffering can be useful to someone else, then it redeems the experience for us as well. I hope and pray your friend continues to heal.
    Meredith Wouters recently posted…Trailing GloryMy Profile

    • Hi Meredith,
      Yes, some truths are difficult to accept, which is one of the biggest challenges of life. I always aim for the best possible outcomes.
      I like and agree with your thoughts. Thanks for contributing and your thoughtfulness in praying for Travis. This is very much appreciated. 🙂

      Kindly,
      Bill

  23. I’m so glad that your friend is recovering! Like you, I have learned to try to find the silver lining in times of darkness. It helps to think that something good may come out of a messy situation. Thinking that way has helped me remain more calm and not worry quite as much.
    Heidi Lane recently posted…Dating Our Significant OthersMy Profile

    • Hello Heidi,
      Thank you very much. Yes, even though it never seems like it at the time we are going through some tough times, the silver lining is there.
      We just need to remember to look for it. I think the good that can come from suffering, or messy situations, is that we always have the ability to learn life lessons. I like your perspective. Thank you for sharing.

      Kind Regards,
      Bill

  24. Interesting post, Bill, as I only recently finished reading the Alchemist. It was brought to my attention in an interview between Pharrell Williams and Oprah, and both had said how the book had changed their lives. I thought … wow! If both of these amazing public figures have personally benefited from this book, I should read it, too! And I have definitely learned from its message. Thx for your insightful message.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…a profile of Executive Chef Hubert Des Marais IVMy Profile

  25. So glad your friend is recovering. You cover some very intense emotional stuff hear. Suffering is very hard to quantify, or to describe, so the initial quote really resonates with me. Love and forgiveness are generally essential for a happy life, but in some cases, they can go a long way to end suffering. Thanks for a thoughtful post William:-)
    A.K.Andrew recently posted…How Can you Convert Failure into a Learning Experience?My Profile

    • Hi A.K.
      Yes, I sometimes write on life lessons, the puzzle of life, working through various issues that are common to everyone. For example, not many people are used to the idea of begin vulnerable. Many see it as weakness, when in fact, it is strength. Yes… love and forgiveness usually win the day, especially in ending suffering. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      Best Regards,
      Bill

  26. Even though it was hard to read, it carries a beautiful and touching message. The wisdom of any kind of suffering gives us a depth of understanding that is unique. if the end result is more compassion and understanding then it is a very good thing indeed. The key is to hold on to that knowledge when the suffering passes. Regardless of all that, I will keep your friend in my prayers.
    Susan Cooper recently posted…Homemade Graham Crackers: #RecipeMy Profile

    • Hi Susan,
      I think it is important to understand as much as we can about the human condition, and in learning from one another how we handle or perceive things, we go deeper into our awareness of life. You’re absolutely right about that. No sense learning a lesson just to discard it, especially if it is a hard-earned or hard-learned one. Thank you for your thoughtfulness with regards to my friend. Much appreciated.

      Bill

  27. I’ve never looked at suffering like that. As I look back at my past I have received wisdom from some of my suffering. It does help you build character depending on what you’re going through.
    Jason B recently posted…10 Things Every College Freshman Should Have In Their Dorm RoomMy Profile

    • Hi Jason,
      I can’t agree with you more about that. Suffering certainly teaches us character… for those that make themselves available to the lessons they teach.

      All the best!
      Bill

  28. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend and the roller coaster of a week. And also glad to hear he is on the road to recovery. That’s the thing about roller coasters- there are ups and downs, it’s inevitable and no way around it. But, we need the down moments in our lives to help us better appreciate the good. And to better appreciate others and show compassion.
    Christina recently posted…Photography Tip: Quick Tips for Zoom Effect Camera TrickMy Profile

    • Hi Christina,
      I agree with you. The down moments help us to better appreciate when we have “up” ones, and I know that love and compassion are always wise choices.
      I appreciate you, and thanks for your regards for my friend.

      Kindly,
      Bill

  29. This is so true. So many times people want to wallow in self pity instead of learning and moving forward. People tend to focus on the negative a situation instead of the receiving the lesson that the bad situation has to offer. Great post…
    Jay recently posted…By: BallNChainzMy Profile

    • Hi Jay,
      Yes, there are those that are the pity seekers, but those that take responsibility for their lives and avoid drama come out better in the long run.
      It simply is a much healthier perspective to adopt. It is human nature to focus on the negative and get caught in the downward spiral. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts. Thank you!

      Bill

  30. Bill I’m happy to hear your friend is on the road to recovery. I remember a time when I seriously felt like I was helpless in my suffering. I didn’t see a way out until I decided to let God take the lead and trust my faith. Now I don’t see myself as in a space of suffering, I do have situations or “storm” as I call them. I do feel that I have enough faith to help me get through those storms.
    Niekka McDonald recently posted…The Difference a Decade MakesMy Profile

    • Hi Niekka,
      Thanks very much. I feel better for his chances now, even though it will take more time for his recovery.
      Yes, I identify with that feeling you’re describing. So often, we overlook the fact that we are not alone, or that the suffering will pass. It seems like it drains all of your attention, energy and focus just getting through sometimes. Yes, I think your faith is well placed. God can calm storms.

      Kind Regards,
      Bill

  31. I like to keep my glass half full, however there are times when it is hard to even see that you have a glass. When we suffer it is hard to see outside of ourselves and our situation. I find this is when seeking the comfort and advice of others can help us get to the light at the end of the tunnel.
    Michelle Dettorre recently posted…Coleslaw, minus the mayo & a virtual BBQMy Profile

    • Welcome Michelle,
      I know the feeling, and I agree with you. When we lose perspective, it’s hard to see something any other way. But just knowing that we have other options to explore keeps hope alive. I believe there is always an answer, and they usually come with a lesson attached. Yes, having a support system in place definitely helps, especially when those in it are compassionate listeners. Thanks for contributing!

      Kindly,
      Bill

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