Suffering is a fundamental component of life on Earth. The physical world, unlike the subtle plane, is a hell. That’s why it was created to allow the possibility of suffering.
So why did God allow this suffering? Why did He create so many sources of hardship on Earth that no one living can avoid them?
The answer lies in the fact that suffering is necessary for the soul to become wise. As the saying goes, “Out of harm’s way comes wisdom.” Suffering makes a person more sober and strengthens their spirit. It helps to develop a special energy that works miracles.
For example, on the path of a fakir, a person simply maintains a very complex and painful body position, such as standing with raised arms, and through constant voluntary efforts, achieves enlightenment.
Many monks do the same, subjecting themselves to fasting, chains, cold, and the like, and thus reaching spiritual heights because to continue such actions, one must constantly exert their will.
And suffering makes a person more awakened and whole. Often, in order to intensify their prayer and obtain what they ask for from God, people subjected themselves to torment, moving toward a holy place by crawling, on their knees, or in other ways. Often, these were the sick who thirsted for healing, and for them, such movement was genuine torture. But often, it yielded results. And having reached the Place of Power, they received healing or what they desired.
However, most of the suffering experienced by people is foolish and unnecessary. This suffering arises from negative emotions created by imagination, which one can do without and which lead to one’s goal by a very long path.
What sufferings are beneficial?
First and foremost, it is the pangs of conscience, a sorrowful state resulting from contemplating one’s own flaws and shortcomings, repentance for sins, shame stemming from an awareness of one’s inadequacy, and everything that hinders personal development. In other words, all those emotions that provide impetus for growth and make one ponder the meaning of existence. It could even include fear of God, although that’s closer to a negative emotion.
But an ordinary person wants to escape from the pangs of conscience, yet immediately indulges in resentment or anger, which cause no less suffering but help them blame everyone around, even God, but not themselves.
Yet the essence of development lies in self-blame, not in blaming others, in taking responsibility for one’s own life rather than lamenting circumstances supposedly hindering progress and the like.
Sufferings related to overcoming harmful habits, laziness, various prejudices, fears, and attachments are also beneficial. The path to development, the path to freedom, lies in precisely overcoming these chains.
Strive to create a daily spiritual practice of conscious suffering. Firstly, recall situations in which you have sinned, hurt someone, stolen, oppressed, been angry, and the like. Try to feel the shame, conscience, sorrow over these actions, repent for your sins, recognize that you haven’t used all situations for your development, and acknowledge any degradation, and so on. The key is to feel the emotional pain from this, not to hide from your conscience or make excuses.
To make suffering central to all aspects, add in rigorous training, stretching, cold exposure, and other physical hardships. It’s highly beneficial if accompanied by fasting. This way, you will experience the taste of real, not imaginary, development and thereby avoid much more foolish and meaningless suffering. “Blessed are the obstacles, for by them we grow.”
You should embrace difficulties that come your way as opportunities for growth and not be enticed by pleasures that can be detrimental. Often, the pursuit of pleasure blinds a person to reality and eventually causes the greatest suffering. Chasing pleasure is akin to gambling, where the more a person identifies with it, the more they lose in the end.
The terrible scourge of humanity is the desire for mechanical rest, which means a senseless, irresponsible, and lazy state in which a person does not seek to discover new things, perform spiritual practices, achieve spiritual goals, create, explore themselves, and the like. This state of degeneration turns them into a “vegetable,” placing them on the same level as animals.
To continue developing, one must make extraordinary efforts and strive to do what is difficult, requiring effort and willpower. However, humans also need spiritual peace, for example, when they are boiling with negative emotions, to relax and enter a state of tranquility. This would be a significant achievement.
It is very harmful for everything that generates harmful tranquility. This includes overeating, alcohol consumption, drugs, television, and the like, which robs a person of the strength that could lead them to development. Therefore, it is necessary to lead oneself and others out of this harmful state in order to make more spiritual efforts.