The Meaning of Suffering

When we talk about meaning of life, many people start questioning the rationale behind suffering. Why would someone want to go through this kind of life where there is injustice, cruelty, crime, sickness ? I have come to understand that we may not be able to comprehend the reason for our suffering as of now. But there is a reason why we have put ourselves through it. Here are two extracts from the books I have read.

Viktor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. He was the founder of logotherapy, which is a form of existential analysis, In his extraordinary book “Man’s search for meaning” he says “Will a laboratory’s animal being tortured for finding a cure of an incurable disease ever understand why it is  going through the experience (not the exact statements)”.

The other book is “Seth Speaks” by Jane Roberts She was an American author, poet, self-proclaimed psychic, and spirit medium, who claimed to channel an energy personality who called himself “Seth.”. Seth describes the below as one of his life’s experiences.

“I was once a mother with twelve children. Ignorant in terms of education, far from beautiful, particularly in later years, with a wild temper and raucous voice. This was around Jerusalem in the sixth century. The children had many fathers. I did my best to provide for them.

My name was Marshaba. We lived wherever we could, squatting in doorways and, finally, all begging. Yet in that existence, physical life had a contrast, a sharpness greater than any I had known. A crust of bread was far more delicious to me than any piece of cake, however well frosted, had ever been in lives before. When my children laughed I was overwhelmed with delight, and despiteour privations, each morning was a triumphant surprise that we had not died in our sleep, that we had not succumbed to starvation.

I chose that life deliberately, as each of you choose each of yours, and I did so because my previous lives had left me too blase. I was too cushioned. I no longer focused with clarity upon the truly spectacular physical delights and experiences that earth can provide.

Though I yelled at my children and screamed sometimes in rage against the elements, I was struck through with the magnificence of existence, and learned more about true spirituality than I ever did as a monk. This does not mean that poverty leads to truth, or that suffering is good for the soul. Many who shared those conditions with me learned little. It does mean that each of you choose those life conditions that you have for your own purpose, knowing ahead of time where your weaknesses and strengths lie. “

 

 

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