Do We Have to Suffer?

By J.T. Ramelis

“Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional” – Dalai Lama

“I come that they may have life, and have it abundantly” – Jesus Christ

So many people think that suffering is good, or that they need to suffer to get ahead in life or have good health. If Jesus told His followers that He came to give life more abundantly, why do we punish ourselves and think God requires it? If you are of the Christian faith and observe Lent, this Lent resolve to do something positive for yourself or others that gives life and happiness, instead of focusing on your own denial and suffering.

The Buddha observed after enlightenment that life involves suffering and the cause of that suffering is craving and ignorance. We ignorantly think that we are separate ego-centered beings and we always want more of something or something else to please that ego and the need for specialness.

All the great wisdom traditions teach liberation from the bondage of greed and desire. All teach concern and love for fellow human beings. A Course in Miracles teaches that your salvation is connected to that of others. Most yogis agree that even past bad karma isn’t a rigid sentence of suffering, it can be neutralized by righteous spiritual living and grace.

There is going to be some pain involved in this life, as the Dalai Lama points out. We can transcend it and minimize it though by correct living, correct thinking and action, and by recognizing our interconnectedness with all other beings. We don’t have to suffer. God, the universe, and fellow creatures have no need of our suffering and there are many healers to help us. Just look at all the advertisers and columnists in this Body Mind Spirit Guide, offering to help you.

Life is going to challenge you. Some challenges are going to be painful but suffering is not to be confused with challenges. When life challenges us we can break out of bad habits, take ourselves to new limits, and grow spiritually, mentally, and physically. Our biggest challenges are often other people, frequently those closest to us. Accepting challenges can help us transcend suffering.

Let us live life abundantly and joyously, there is no need to suffer. As a person thinks, so shall they be, is taught by the great masters and reaffirmed by modern positive psychology. You become your repetitive thoughts. Think positive, think abundance, transcend the pain, and end the suffering, there is no need for it.

Live life to its fullest and share that love and abundance with others. Healing and peace be with you.

J.T. Ramelis is an Interfaith/Inter-Spiritual Advocate, Spiritual Coach, Healing and Peace Ministries. He teaches a “Wisdom Circle” at the University of Michigan, Lifelong Learning Ann Arbor, examining the spiritual interconnectedness of the world’s great spiritual traditions and is a guest speaker. Call or text: 906-287-0538.

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