Friday, February 17, 2012

Why Do We Suffer?

Recently, I was listening to a talk show on the radio, at least, I think it was on the radio, and they were talking about "Why we choose to suffer." I took notes on the talk and if I remember who I was listening to, I will add it to my blog. But, for now, I do want to write about the idea of suffering since many people seek out therapy to end suffering.  For instance, a relationship is causing you pain, a job turns out to be a disappointment, you feel stuck and unhappy with your life or some other experience is causing you to suffer. In life, we want to avoid suffering and pain and we want to embrace pleasure and doubt about it, if you had to choose, most likely it would be the pleasure chest! So, is suffering a choice we make, just like sadness, anger, frustration, joy, etc., or is it an unavoidable experience of being human?

Lets say, suffering is unavoidable, then what?  Well here's where the talk got interesting. What can we learn about ourselves during times of suffering? It is a perfect time to learn to have compassion for ourselves, especially for people who have a difficult time being kind and gentle t with themselves. Suffering can have us feeling incredibly alone and aloneness triggers all kinds of feelings for most people. I'm a big believer in the idea of curiosity....being curious about ourselves, our reactions, our triggers and our feelings can lead us down a road to a greater sense of awareness about ourselves. What would happen if you actually sat with suffering as though it were something you could hold in your hands? OK, so here is where the creativity comes in.  Imagine when you are in a place of suffering that you are holding it in your hands, looking at it, feeling it, and smelling it. What color is it? What shape, texture, size, smell and other characteristic does it take on? If you drew it, how much of the page would it take up? Would it be jagged, smooth, or sharp? You might also explore where in your body you experience your suffering? Get to know your suffering? What triggers it? Loss might be one instigator. Move close to your suffering. Take care of it. Get to know it, respect it and have compassion for it. This way, when it does surface, you do not have to fear it or allow it to scare you; you can be with it and walk beside it.

Until next time...