Suffering is responsible for every accomplishment, happiness, and transcendent experience imaginable. The suffering of boredom, lack of success, or lack of quality of life drives us to do the things we do. Almost every spiritual system that currently exists revolves around reducing suffering. We are constantly trying to reconcile the fact that our entire reality is shaped by suffering but at the same time try to avoid it as much as possible. Our success at life really revolves around our pain tolerance for life in general. The lower our tolerance for suffering the greater our drive will be to try to escape it.
We don’t usually think in these terms, instead suffering is considered wholly evil. The world tells you that if you’re not happy there is something wrong with you and you should get the problem “fixed” through any means possible. This is not to say I don’t believe that people can have true biological sicknesses that can make them depressed but mental illness doesn’t seem to be declining. The people that manage to break free of restraint though monetary gain will often times become like fish out of water flopping around on a deck hopping from one religion to another. The others who have freedom but don’t do spiritual or religious jumping jacks instead achieve by creating a new level of personal suffering for themselves that they can beat.
Spiritual leaders of old have mislead the world. What they either don’t know or hide from the world is that suffering can be as addictive as joy. People will plunge themselves into suffering because they are drawn to it. People in perfect relationships will destroy them. People with empires will burn them to the ground. When these things happen we dismiss them, call them crazy, and then move on. Teens will often test the waters of suffering which will make them act in ways that seem completely irrational to their unfortunate parents. Since we have classified suffering as evil, people who are drawn to suffering will often times consider themselves evil and may incorrectly feel the need to do evil acts.
What we must understand is that the reason people are drawn to suffering is not because they are insane but instead it is because their lives have lost purpose and it is only through suffering that they can regain purpose. How deep they go into their personal suffering is really how far they are from their objective. We have created systems that monopolize on this in the form of religion. Humans will constantly plunge themselves into suffering drugs, violence, and criminal acts where they will then get to a breaking point where they will become “seekers”. Once they are in seeker mode the first religion to get to them with the most community support will usually be the religion they convert to. The religion will then, of course, take credit for changing that person’s life when in reality they changed their own life through self-inflicted personal suffering.
Suffering is necessary for progress but what is not helpful is when people are destructive and pull us backwards. The idea of constructive suffering needs to be explored and we need to give people the opportunity to suffer in a way that will not permanently damage them or society. We must embrace the fact that people pursuing suffering are seeking purpose and not simply dismiss them or get them to go on drugs.