Some Thoughts About Suffering

I’m trying to understand the meaning of suffering. I have lived life believing the meaning of life is learning to give love and learning to receive love. I believe it is important to live with positive thinking and feeling. I have believed myself to be responsible for negative things that happen to me. I try to not make that feel or look like I am blaming myself. Instead I want to see myself as having some control or power over what comes into my life as well as what does not come into my life.

I don’t believe bad things happening or good things happening is random. I do not believe we need to feel only chaos surrounding us. I try to make sense out of life because otherwise it would be way too scary. I have some questions I want to ask the Buddhist teacher I am learning from. He has taught me thus far that Buddha taught that life is about suffering. I want to know, “Suffering for the purpose of what?”

Maybe it is suffering for the purpose of contrast. When I see the incredible suffering Taylor’s family is going through initially I cannot imagine how there can be anything good to learn from it. And then, with time and process and patience, I begin to notice the way Taylor’s Mom and Dad are working together in a new way. They are supporting each other, being gentle and caring with each other. They have agreed that neither one will make a decision without both of them agreeing. When one parent has moved in a way the other has not as yet been able to, that parent has been patient and gentle and tender and open to the possibility that they might not have it right yet.

Taylor’s parents are very clearly giving and receiving love from and with each other in a beautiful, heartfelt and precious way. Out of their exceeding suffering they are trying to heal themselves and each other through love.

Does it take exceeding suffering to learn to love?   Might it be true that we need profound contrast to see what is good? Or to know what we have? Or to know what we might be able to have?

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