How to rise above suffering

rise above suffering

In seeking to understand my own sense of “broken-ness” I can often recognize that same suffering in others. I feel a great deal of compassion for that pain and, in the past, I have sought to alleviate the discomfort of others (and my own) in ways that have fostered an avoidance of suffering. If it hurts too much just don’t do it! Run, hide, resist, justify (insert your own avoidance strategy of choice)!

It is only now I am beginning to understand the great value of suffering – the tender beauty of it. It is ironic that I studied Buddhism for a number of years and this very concept was drilled into me over and over. It is only now, over a decade and much suffering later, I can see a glimpse of this great truth. I still wish we could circumvent some of that suffering but I understand we develop some of our finest qualities in the face of it. In moving through the suffering with compassion and tenderness.

There are rich lessons to be learnt if one is aware enough to see past the surface of their misfortune. There are opportunities to rise – to do something differently. To develop a depth and complexity to our character that we didn’t know was waiting in the wings all along.

The practice is to find the humility to let go of our own sense of injustice, or righteousness, or victimhood – to become brave enough to be the person we are most proud of – regardless of the difficulties we find ourselves facing. That is why I choose to see suffering as an opportunity. To hold myself and others accountable to rise – to be our best, especially in the face of suffering.

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

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