Buddha left the walls of his castle going into the streets after being secluded throughout his upbringing and saw all the tremendous suffering that was going on around the city he had been sheltered from, then spent the rest of his life committed to bringing a end of suffering to the world. Jesus Christ wandered the hillsides and villages witnessing sufferings of devastating proportions which one day allowed him to lay down his life to relieve the sufferings the world seemed to thrust upon all living beings. Mother Teresa dedicated her life all the way to her death to relieving the horrible sufferings she saw in Calcutta as well as founding the Missionaries of Charity servicing the hurting and down-trodden in 133 cities. Ghandi witnessed the sufferings of his people in the workplace and violations of Civil Rights, then tirelessly spent his life in nonviolent protest to help relieve the suffering of those around him and his countrymen.
There are numerous organizations in the world to relieve suffering:
And the list goes on and on.
Then one can turn on the news or read news articles to see the widespread sufferings in this world – Syrian refugee crisis and massacres of masses of people, human slave/sex trafficking, proliferation of nuclear arsenals, nationalism that denies the solidarity of all humans and responsibility to the world, and wars that kill and maim the innocent while the perpetrators sit in enclosed walls that shield them from the very travesties they order.
ONE thing is UNIVERSAL – SUFFERING, it unites all peoples in a common bond. A young one is born into this world under the stress of the birth and dies under emotional, physical, or psychological stresses. Many religions, psychologist, philosophers, and enlightened individuals have tried to explain the arguments and persuasions for the goodness in suffering. SUFFERING IS NOT GOOD and is not virtuous! Try to explain the goodness of suffering to someone that has just lost a spouse or child, to the starving throngs around the world, someone in the depths of anxiety and depression that can see no way out, or is being severally abused and see how far you make the argument go. Sure, people overcome and move forward out of sufferings with forgiveness, perseverance, and courage but suffering itself is not inherently good or virtuous. I personally have dealt with depression/anxiety some in my life and can tell you it is not good but can be a living hell.
I believe that the only real thing that can be the goodness found in suffering is the human’s ability to be a part of the relieving of suffering in others as well as ourselves. “Survival of the fittest” is the enemy of the compassion and has been forced down our throats since the beginning of human existence. I am going to make a statement that I strongly believe to be one of the few Universal Truths – that all human beings are equal and there is not one anywhere that is better than anyone else in the world. It makes no difference of race, religion, varying opinions, place of birth on the earth, monetary status, or intelligence. One day when all of us return to the earth, it is all dirt in oneness. The death of a Muslim child in war is as atrocious as the death of a Christian, Russian, Chinese or Hindu child. It is amazing how the human race has placed values on the human race by all types of criteria. Politics and politicians have become the enemy of compassion while elevating the sufferings of others at the expense of their own security.
So what have you done today to step out of the ego and help alleviate the suffering of another. Or if you yourself are suffering, what have you done to be compassionate and loving to yourself instead of giving yourself a hard time for not performing better or being better? Maybe it is just to question what you believe of others or what real security is, possibly contemplating things you could do to alleviate the sufferings of others. In the end, will it matter what you have, how prestigious you are, or the great education you achieved? Of all the reading about and witnessing of people who have died, these things didn’t amount to a pile of dung. It was all about relationships and experience. Have you had a compassionate moment today in a relationship or experience? It can be as simple as a smile at someone while shopping, a kind word to one suffering or a stranger, a simple random act of kindness today. It can also mean sitting with those dying in Hospice, providing food to someone on the street in need, volunteering in the countless organizations that relieve suffering (including animal rescue centers), and giving financial resources to causes/organizations that provide comfort.
A great religious text says “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted”.
SHALL WE BE THE ONE WHO CAUSES THE SUFFERING OR THE ONE WHO COMFORTS?