It’s one of the toughest questions most people face: What’s the best way to deal with suffering?
It’s not an easy question to answer. Some of us will try to fight against the suffering and tell ourselves that we’re fine. Others find it hard to ignore the pain because it’s too much to bear.
But echoing advice from Viktor Frankl, Buddhism and the Stoics, Zen Master Osho has a different approach.
Osho says that we first need to accept our suffering, rather than run away from it:
“If you choose to become a victim; you will suffer. If you become aware of this totality of the opposites and the way life functions, you don’t choose – the first thing. And when you don’t choose there is no need to cling, there is no meaning in clinging. When suffering comes you enjoy the suffering, and when happiness comes you enjoy the happiness. When the guest is at home you enjoy him, when he has gone you enjoy the suffering, the absence, the pain. I say enjoy both. This is the path of wisdom: enjoy both, don’t choose. Whatsoever falls upon you, accept it. It is your fate, it is how life is, and nothing can be done about it. If you take this attitude, there is no choosing. You have become choiceless. And when you are choiceless, you will become aware of yourself, because now you are not worried about what happens, so you not outgoing. You are not worried about what is happening around you. Whatsoever happens you will enjoy it, you will live it, you will go through it, you will experience it, and you will gain something out of it, because every experience is an expansion of consciousness.”
Osho goes onto say that suffering gives us depth. It’s through suffering that we expand our consciousness. Without suffering, happiness would be meaningless:
“If there is really no suffering you will be poor for it, because suffering gives you depth. A man who has not suffered will always remain on the surface. Suffering gives you depth. Really, if there is no suffering you will be saltless. You will be nothing, just a boring phenomenon. Suffering gives you tone, a keenness. A quality comes to you which only suffering can give, which no happiness can give. A man who has remained always in happiness, in comfort, who has not suffering, will not have any tone. He will be just a lump of being. There cannot be any depth. Really, there cannot be any heart. The heart is created through suffering; through pain you evolve.”
However, Osho also says that someone who’s constantly suffering without any happiness will also lose their hope:
“No hope in the eyes. He will settle down to his pessimistic existence. There will be no struggle, no adventure. He will not move. He will be simply a stagnant pool of consciousness, and a stagnant pool of consciousness is not conscious – by and by he will become unconscious. That’s why if there is too much pain you fall unconscious. So just happiness will be of much help, because there will be no challenge. Just pain will not be much growth, because there will be nothing to struggle, to hope, to dream; there will be no fantasy.”
According to Osho, we need to allow the highs and lows in life to truly evolve our consciousness:
“Both are needed, and life exists between both as a very delicate tension, a subtle tension. If you understand this, then you don’t choose. Then you know how life functions, how life is. This is the way, this is the way of life – it moves through happiness, it moves through suffering and gives you tone, and gives you meaning, and gives you depth. So both are good. I say both are good. I don’t say choose between the two – I say both are good, don’t choose. Rather, enjoy both; rather, allow both to happiness. Be open without any resistance. Don’t cling to one and don’t resist the other. “
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