While pain in most cases is not a choice, suffering is. My friend, pain is a reaction to a cause. It’s not a desirable choice for any creature, but it’s a wonderful tool to alert you to what’s going wrong. That toothache is not only a reminder to fix it before it’s too late, but also an invitation to explore the causes of this pain. It’s a blessing in disguise as you become aware of the harmful soft drinks and processed sugar you’ve been including in your nourishment. This awareness creates choices for you to either treat and/ or remove the aching tooth or mask the pain with pills and continue negative habits. It also could push you to remove the cause of pain and continue on to correct your lifestyle with nourishment habits that fuel a life of ease toward your Purposehood. Pain, be it physical, psychological, or social, is always an invitation to expanded awareness and course correction. That pain you’re facing with your spouse is an invitation for both of you to explore the causes and correct them together. That will lead to a better outcome for everyone involved.
However, suffering is a choice. When you choose not to correct the causes of your pain, then you have chosen suffering. Removing the aching tooth, or masking the pain with pills without changing your eating and drinking habits will not prevent the pain from resurfacing again. Likewise, removing toxic people from your life without exploring the reasons you befriended them in the first place will for sure condemn you to repeating the mistake.
My psychiatrist friend had a patient who had been through several divorces and complained to him, “Life is full of selfish people. I am always suffering because none of the partners I end up with are any good.” He said to her, “Have you ever noticed that the common denominator among all of your partners is YOU?!”
Contrary to some beliefs, suffering is not the state of being. Struggling is. Struggling is the process that grows creators. Without challenges, would we even have the desire to create? And without struggling, would we have the desire to reflect, refine, and collaborate?
(Excerpt from the book “Purposehood: Transform Your Life, Transform the World” page 123)