Some treat suffering like some kind of currency
to be exchanged for something desirable,
something better that brings happiness
and makes us complete.
Banking on the rewards of suffering
or cloaking myself in suffering
as a way to gain sympathy
or justify my shortcomings,
can become an insurmountable obstacle
and prevent me from living an authentic life.
There is only one true flight from the world;
it is not an escape from conflict, anguish, and suffering,
but the flight from disunity and separation,
to unity and peace in love.
When I give power to suffering
and to the cause of suffering,
I lose touch with my inner self
that knows I am one with the Divine.
My inner being knows that this sacred union
can never be dissolved
although it may be obscured.
By trusting the illusion of suffering,
and my spiritual wings are clipped.
I am unable to lift off
much less soar to the heights
of ecstatic union with the Divine.
To release myself from the bond of this illusion
and the forgetfulness it causes,
I must see suffering not as a destructive power
but as a transcendent gift from the Divine.
This shift in understanding
releases me from disunity and separateness.
I try to recognize the deception that can arise with suffering,
blinding me to my capacity for an authentic experience
by blocking heart-centered responses.
Awareness can banish this illusion
and help me discover the true spiritual gift
that suffering can offer.
I strive for a way of living
in awareness of each precious, unfolding moment,
allowing me to integrate suffering into my life.
When I am able to be aware of suffering
and consciously intend to learn from it,
I am engaged in contemplative living.
I cannot be a fully contemplative being
unless I experience suffering;
and I cannot truly experience suffering
unless I am living contemplatively.
Through personal suffering
I can strengthen my contemplative stance
and discover that sharing peace and love with others
my own and that of others.
But to do so,
I must share my grief,
bring my loss
into the community of grievers
where healing takes place.
Living contemplatively shifts my perception of personal suffering,
moving me from an ego-driven I
to a soul-centered being.
Conscious suffering can strengthen my connection to the Divine
and bring clarity to my life purpose
when I am a patient, objective observer.
I do not look for reasons behind suffering;
I accept suffering as a tool for spiritual growth.
My goal is to simply recognize
that all suffering has a purpose
and that purpose is to fine-tune my highest self
and move it into greater resonance with the Divine.
When I suffer courageously, quietly, unselfishly, peacefully,
the things that wreck my outer being
only perfect me within,
and make me more truly myself.
I do not see suffering as an onerous challenge
or something to be avoided at any cost.
I work to embrace suffering with gratitude and joy,
seeing that it occurs naturally
and is integral to my spiritual growth.
When I anticipate suffering with dread,
I cloud my connection to myself and all of creation,
and the Divine.
I can become locked in solitary, abject darkness,
and endure a painful, heart-rending experience.
When I consciously and intentionally welcome suffering, however,
My eyes can be opened to a world of vibrant possibilities.
Suffering presents opportunities
to shed my ego and self-centered agendas.
Once I let go of our preconceived notions of who I ought to be,
I can move more fully into an awareness and understanding
of the profound and transforming effects
of sharing love and peace.
In the midst of suffering,
I can recognize how entering into deep relationships
with myself, others, nature, and God
can provide an environment
in which the gifts of suffering can be fully appreciated
Peace, true peace,
is only to be found through suffering,
and I must seek the light in darkness.
If I believe that all is created by God,
suffering has a divine origin
and contains a divine spark.
When I shift my perception
of the origin and the essence of suffering,
I can become aware of the peace that is possible
only when I surrender to the Divine
through which I receive the gift of suffering.
Suffering is not a punishment
for an action, thought, or utterance,
It is a natural part of life,
and a natural outcome of following the will of God.
It is through suffering that I grow
into being who I was born to be,
and cultivate compassion for myself and for others.