Why is there suffering in the world?
With all that’s going on these days, many people ask this question. It’s hard to think of someone you know and not be aware of something about their life that is challenging or difficult, that causes them pain, fear or sadness. You may be suffering yourself. We are constantly bombarded by images and stories of all the injustice and tragedy in the world. It seems much of life is unfair.
Shouldn’t we fight to change things? Shouldn’t we work to eradicate all the suffering in the world?
There’s another way to look at suffering. There is more at work than just what we see on the surface.
Life is not inherently unfair. There are no battles to fight or injustices to overcome. There are no evil outside forces that we need to battle. There are simply souls having experiences.
There is a meaning to suffering.
As a soul, you create many different human lives to gain wisdom and experience. To learn what it is like to be a divine being living in a human body. To experience all different manners of lives – from the most difficult, torturous lives to the easiest, most abundant life of pleasure.
Imagine this: You as a soul experience a life where you murdered someone. Your soul was desiring that experience simply to know what that was like, to know what it was like to take another person’s life. Your soul has no judgment of this as good or bad, it’s just an experience. To balance this life out and to experience the other side of this experience of killing someone, your soul will create another life where you are the victim of a murder. Your soul now feels complete in the experience of “murder,” having lived both sides of it as victim and offender. Your soul then moves on to experience a new aspect of life on earth.
This doesn’t happen in a linear fashion as described but the premise is the same. Each soul is here on their own path, experiencing their own growth and evolution. There is nothing to change or fix.
Your human self may not be aware of why there is suffering or why life is difficult for so many but there is always a soul reason behind it. There is something that the soul is getting out of having that experience. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be having it. While the human parts of ourselves can be traumatized and wounded by life, your soul can never be harmed. It takes in all our human experiences and gathers up the wisdom from our many varied lives.
This is really what karma is. It’s not a punishment for bad deeds in your past. It is a natural balancing of experiences. As a soul, you desire to feel complete in your experience of an aspect of life on earth. You want to feel what it’s like to be the victim and the offender, to be the light and the dark. You want to experience all of it.
Sometimes a soul will create a challenge in order to experience a new way of living. This is often done through a health or a relationship issue. Going through cancer is a great opportunity to appreciate the life you have and to begin truly living. Nothing does this better than being confronted with death. Having an illness like chronic fatigue syndrome is an opportunity to slow down, rest and get in touch with yourself. It’s also a chance to experience being taken care of and receiving help instead of always being the one to provide it. Not being able to find love with another person is a chance to find that love within yourself, a chance to love yourself first.
The point is this: There are no battles to fight. There is only a soul having an experience and there is a soul reason for their suffering.
Here’s another way to look at suffering:
Imagine a challenge that you overcame in your life. You may have suffered a lot, struggled and fought to come to a place of peace, acceptance and happiness. If you can’t think of anything right now, imagine what it would feel like to climb a mountain.
You set off and endure a painful, difficult climb to the top where it takes all of your strength, wisdom and determination to reach the peak. There are many times where it’s so hard that you want to turn back and give up, but you don’t. You continue on even though you are incredibly fatigued, your muscles ache and you struggle to catch your breath. Finally, after much struggle, you reach the top. You’ve made it. You have overcome incredible obstacles to reach this peak. How amazing do you feel? Wasn’t all that pain and suffering worth it to get to where you are now, to feel the awe and amazement of all you have accomplished to reach the top of this mountain? You’ve learned so much about yourself and who you are through that climb. What an incredible experience you realize you’ve had, as you reflect back on your climbing experience. You realize wouldn’t change a second of it.
This is what suffering feels like to the soul. There is always a reason behind it and it is always meaningful. Once you reach the other side of it, you are grateful for the wisdom and compassion you have gained by going through it.
When your beautiful, open heart bleeds and hurts for all the pain and suffering out there, remember this:
There is suffering in the world because it is a valuable experience for the soul. There is nothing you need to do or change. It is all in perfection.