Korpo

Learning beyond suffering

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I recently read a forum post in another forum where a user professed the belief that suffering was the basis of learning. Maybe I would have agreed many years ago, but this post finds me at a time when I experience the exact opposite.

I find myself learning to understand the possibilities of human relationships anew through the contact with a person far away physically from myself. Only connected through the electronic media of this world we communicate, though I have to say we also seem to have nonphysical contact. While the physical distance is great, there is almost no psychological distance. Finding true acceptance in another is one of the greatest gift one can experience, it is a great expansion of my understanding of myself, of my friend and the larger whole within we dwell.

Suffering may arise when expectations get in the way. So I've been told by a friend who knows. And when I have to chose between this and holding on to my rigid expectations of how things should be, I hope I can keep releasing those expectations I hold. Because every time I did, I stepped into joyful expansion.

So, to me suffering is not the basis of learning. Maybe rather the refusal to learn is suffering, or the resistance or friction we bring to the process. I would have said so intellectually for a long time, but I feel truly blessed to have the experience to make that belief real.

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  1. CFTraveler's Avatar
    I agree with you. I think the basis of the idea that we need suffering comes from the understanding that time we spent suffering wasn't really wasted- that we needed it to grow. I agree with this only in the sense that there is no wasted time, that any interaction brings learning- but I think that honoring this idea tends to make people think that suffering is somehow noble and therefore necessary.
    .02 and MHO.
  2. IA56's Avatar
    I also agree and it needīs to take away the belief of nobelness of suffering, it is not. But as I feel it to say some of nessessary, that it has taken me too long time to dare to make changes because I also did belief about the to some extent to be selfish if I did not agree to suffer, this I know my mother did implant in me...and to respect her I did go along to suffer because it did give her some kind of calmness. I remember her calling me heartless when I did be total calm and I also did understand that to go into a neurotic fear as my mother did ...to stay calm and steady was the answere and I did try to show her, but instead of understanding me right she did accuse me being heartless, and when I did go along with her neurotic behavings she did calm down and I took over her chaos and she did understand to be the grown up...but off course she did never understand and as time did pass she was like happy to say...I am the crazy on.....and I really did be okay with that, because I did know something she never did figure out :-) and if I told her she would never believe me I have tried so I know :-)
  3. Korpo's Avatar
  4. MaryAnn's Avatar
    I think perhaps suffering is the road to acceptance, and acceptance means letting go of struggle. Not struggling naturally will leave one in a happier state. I have friends who say that when there is resistance in their path, they have found that that is an indication that they are on the right path; for me it seems the opposite, that when resistance is present I'm on the wrong path. I'm not saying there should be a lack of effort; what I'm saying is that if bad things repeatedly happen when I'm trying to go a certain direction, it has benefited me to see what other directions are being ignored.
    As for the heart connection you mention....yes, isn't it wonderful? I'm recently starting to focus much more on making those kinds of connections for myself and seem to be making some progress. I'm doing a lot more listening and observing and a whole lot less talking and I'm remembering the phrase that how someone treats you says everything about them and nothing about you.
  5. ButterflyWoman's Avatar
    Suffering can be a catalyst to being open to learning. In other words, some of us are so stubborn and ego-bound that suffering is the only thing that cracks our smug hold on that which we think of as reality (yes, voice of experience here ).

    I would say that suffering can generate opportunities for learning, sure. But suffering is not noble, it doesn't build character, none of that. Suffering is suffering, full stop. It's just that, sometimes, when we've suffered enough, we may be open to something OTHER than suffering, and that's when the learning and change starts happening.

    It's like that old joke about the man who banged his head on the wall over and over. When someone asked him why he was doing that, he said, "Because it feels so good when I stop". I think a lot of us unwittingly set ourselves up, metaphorically and metaphysically, for just such a self-beating (again, voice of experience).
  6. IA56's Avatar
    I can tell that my "suffering" is a memory trigger, and also how I have collected and bound energy, and also to find back to the happening so I have bean able to study so to speak, and it was also a catalyst as you BW say for wanting to understand and learn more...today I am only greatful because it is a storage to knowledge when digest the suffering :-)
    Updated 21st January 2013 at 03:54 PM by IA56
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