Lv 5

Is there any value to suffering?

"Pain teaches a most counterintuitive thing—that we must go down before we even know what up is. In terms of the ego, most religions teach in some way that we all must “die before we die, and then we will not be afraid of dying.” Suffering of some sort seems to be the only thing strong enough to destabilize our arrogance and our ignorance. I would define suffering very simply as “whenever you are not in control.”

If religion cannot find a meaning for human suffering, humanity is in major trouble. All healthy religion shows you what to do with your pain. Great religion shows you what to do with the absurd, the tragic, the nonsensical, the unjust.

If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it.

If there isn’t some way to find some deeper meaning to our suffering, to find that God is somewhere in it, and can even use it for good, we will normally close up and close down. The natural movement of the ego is to protect itself so as not to be hurt again. The soul just wants meaning, and then it can live." - Fr. Richard Rohr

2 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Suffering has opened vistas for me even though it isn't fun. Like, when my sister died, something valuable opened.

  • 9 years ago

    I look at suffering (or pain if you like) as something on a spectrum of human sensation and emotion where me must at least begin to approach suffering in order to experience life's higher pleasures.

    This is why I don't like Epicureanism. If this is the one and only life you will ever have, would you rather suffer for the privilege of moments of extraordinay pleasure or would you rather experience no such thing for the sake of reasonable happiness throughout you life?

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