Lotus is possible only because there is some mud. Mud is not pleasant at all but it is essential in the making of a pleasant lotus, likewise, you need some mud to make a lotus like you possible.
Suffering is a thing that every being in the physical existence is aware of, be it a small insect, a giant elephant or human beings like us. It is like an uninvited guest in our lives. The more you resist it, the more impactful it becomes. The key is to suffer in the best possible way — and the best way is to welcome suffering with a garland of observation and a good-bye gesture.
When you start to figure out whatever happens to you in the moment it happens, you will understand that suffering is not friction, rather lubrication for your growth. Think about this: If night never existed, would you be able to define the day? If suffering never existed, would you be able to define happiness?
A child who has just learned to walk often falls after a few steps. That’s suffering for him, though you may define it as learning. Similarly, with every suffering you fall down, learn something new and rise again with a new perspective. Suffering is never intended to cause pain; it is about acceptance. When you accept and make a deal with the situation, suffering becomes a pathway to long-term happiness, for you have absorbed and learned everything that was there to be learned, and what now awaits is a strong foundation for the building of your happiness.
If you keep on being ignorant about learning, you are actually creating resistance and multiplying your suffering. Just soften your rigidity and see what the moment is trying to tell you. It’s probably something new.
To relate suffering to modern trends, we see most of the younger generation suffering because they have not yet figured out what love is. Most of them commit to someone else because of a social symbol in their peer group, desperation and a fear of being the only one left alone. For these reasons, they sometimes choose an unworthy partner and suffering becomes inevitable. Just hold out a little, be still and choose wisely!
Before we move further and look at the spiritual aspects of suffering, here’s a small poem for you:
The one who never withers,
Is a plant like none other
For the storm he says, try if you can
For the scorching sun, burn me if you can
For the nights darker than the dark,
I am braver than the brave
For he knows that a day brighter than the bright is yet to come,
For the one who has tasted salt can tell how sweet the sugar is!
Suffering is impermanent and an illusion. The same rain that is unpleasant to you, because you have to go somewhere, is a blessing for the farmer. In spirituality, especially in the Zen path, suffering is considered to be an important part of spiritual growth. It is considered to be a tool of nature to make you evolve to your better self. It is a tool to change your attitude towards life and align it to what you are destined to be.
From my own personal experience, for every suffering or lubrication that comes my way, I know beforehand that a new lesson is there to be learned to make me ready for “my day.” The aim I have to call it “my day” is when I will be able to bring change to the lives around me. This is what I have asked for. For this to happen my life needs to be changed so that it can bring change to others.
Nature has brought me some new lessons. Almost two years ago during some training, I used to talk about gratitude, compassion, humility and forgiveness (four aspects of Zen).
People used to ask me, “Have you read about them somewhere?” I have experienced them. The literature came a little later. This is how nature teaches us, by making us experience things. Open up and you will realize that everything, even this grand nature, is working for you.
This is not a mere philosophy. It is a way to turn your suffering into a possibility for your growth!