PARAMAHAMSA NITHYANANDA on Is suffering necessary? ONE of the most deeply hidden reasons for suffering is that you may be enjoying it. For example, falling ill can become a source of pleasure if it gets you the attention and care you have been craving. In the same way as a seed has to rupture before a plant can grow and blossom, intense suffering can rupture your ego and leave you open and vulnerable to transformation. In Mahabharata, there is a beautiful quote by Kunti, the mother of the Pandavas. She prays to Krishna, the enlightened master, ‘Oh Krishna! Let pain and suffering come from all sides in my life. They will constantly remind me about You, my Lord.’ Suffering has tremendous potential to integrate and transform us. Start to witness your experiences without judgement. See with clarity where you are suffering at the gross and subtle levels. If you are just aware, the suffering itself can open your eyes to the unreality of suffering. It can teach you how unnecessary it is to suffer at all. This is what I call ‘necessary suffering’! Once you learn your lesson through necessary suffering, you will handle suffering in a more mature and beautiful way. One important thing we need to understand is that while pain might be inevitable, the suffering that comes from the pain is not. For example, if you get hurt, there is definitely pain, but how much you choose to suffer from that pain is really your choice. A small story: Once a man was seriously injured with multiple fractures and injuries. His friend came to visit him at the hospital. He saw the state of his injured friend and didn’t know what to say. So he asked his friend, ‘How are you feeling my friend? I guess it must be painful with all those injuries. Do you suffer a lot?’ The man replied, ‘Not much — only when I laugh.’ It is a question of attitude! Pain is inevitable, but suffering is your choice. Suffering is not a state of life. It is a state of mind. It is not an event in your life. It is your response to an event. Never curse the pain or the person, inflicting the pain on you. Instead, take the opportunity to use it as a blessing, watch objectively, and cut the root of the pain. Pain can be a great teacher if you allow it to be. If you properly research the cause and effect of pain within you, it can turn out to be the biggest turning point in your life. The Master Bodhidharma says, ‘Every suffering is a Buddha-seed.’ Suffering can propel you to become a Buddha. He says, feel grateful to suffering and pain because they create the situation for you to search for the truth. Be Blissful!