Suffering is optional. Success is inevitable, with time. Which will you choose today?Click to tweet
It seems to be a common belief, for some reason, that suffering is noble, or even inevitable.
Why? I have no idea. It seems to be something to do with the motif of the suffering hero. In many religions, suffering is correlated with holiness.
For example, in Hinduism, thousands of ascetics give up the material world and live in self-imposed poverty. The same has occurred for centuries in Christian monasteries in the west.
Perhaps the greatest example of this equivalence between suffering and holiness, or worthiness, is in Christianity. Jesus is believed to have gone through the greatest suffering, and it's seen as virtuous to join him in that suffering.
I think the reason is two-fold:
Firstly, the ego tends to believe that good can only come through struggle. We hold up examples in society of those who have only succeeded after triumphing over great suffering. Our movies and books are full of such examples, too. So, it's no wonder that this idea extends into our mythology.
The ego believes that it is possible for us to lack success, and so we have to prove ourselves to become worthy of that success. And so, it follows, the more we suffer, the worthier we are.
Secondly, I think there's a psychological component to it. Studies show that the parts of the world where there is the most suffering, also tends to be where faith is most prevalent. Check out this article for more on that.
Why? When we suffer, we look for an answer. Religions provide that answer (see point #1 above), so it becomes a coping mechanism. “I'm suffering, but that's actually a good thing.” In some weird way, it gives us meaning.
And because of this dependency on religion as an answer to suffering, religions have to provide that answer by making suffering a virtue. It's a cycle that feeds upon itself: those who suffer turn to religion for an answer to their suffering, and so because religion must play this role, it must make suffering a virtue, which encourages people to turn to religion even more in times of suffering.
But, what if there was a different answer?
What if spirituality (not religion) could give us hope for success? And not only hope, but the very tools to enable us to succeed?
I believe the old paradigm of suffering is over. Spirituality today needs to give us hope, not in the afterlife, but in our current life.
It needs to teach us how to be successful, both spiritually and materially.
We must stop separating the spiritual from the material, as though one is superior to the other. And instead, we must see it all as one, and that if we open to our true Essence, then material success is inevitable.
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As long as you are not pursuing your life's vision, you will remain unfulfilled. We are here for the very purpose of fulfilling that which we came to accomplish.
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