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Session: How To Respond To Suffering
This is a Session within the Topic Suffering
 
 
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Find something good in what you disagree with.
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Goal
Understand what is true about each perspective. Decide on a pathway that you can use to respond to your own suffering in a way that transforms it.
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Perspectives & Resources
Perspectives are short paragraphs summarizing any point of view about the Topic. Explore each View and then vote on it.
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"It is always possible to suffer less by choosing evil"
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Reach the Heart of a Perspective
Topic: How to respond to suffering


It is always possible to suffer less by choosing evil

Affliction is the principal path to God...The alternative punishment is a mediocre life, and in what way is a mediocre life preferable to affliction?

It is always possible for an afflicted man to suffer less by consenting to become wicked.



 

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Addresses the root issue
Flawed, one-sided, or superficial
 
How to Explore a Perspective
Relax, focus. Take a step back and look at the Perspective from all sides. Now, zero in at the center!
 
What is the Bias?
What assumptions does it make? Whose interests does it serve?

What is your Personal Experience?
How does it make you feel? How do your experiences, privileges, and personal interests affect your understanding of it?
Now, enter the heart
▶ Say something good about what you disagree with, even if there are flaws.
▶ Find causes, not symptoms. Ask what lies at the root.
▶ Have respect for people with different views, insights, and priorities!
 
Opinion added by
Visionary Society
on February 19, 2018
 
This is the opinion of Simone Weil
"Use suffering to grasp the ultimate"
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Reach the Heart of a Perspective
Topic: How to respond to suffering


Use suffering to grasp the ultimate

Every experience opens the door into a temple of new light, although the vestibule may be dark and dismal. The pious man accepts life’s ordeals and its need of anguish, because he recognizes these as belonging to the totality of life. Such acceptance does not mean complacency or fatalistic resignation.

By foregoing beauty for goodness, power for love, grief for gratitude, by entreating the Lord for help to understand our hopes, for strength to resist our fears, we may receive a gentle sense of the holiness permeating the air.

Abraham Heschel, Man is Not Alone

 

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(Hide)

Addresses the root issue
Flawed, one-sided, or superficial
 
How to Explore a Perspective
Relax, focus. Take a step back and look at the Perspective from all sides. Now, zero in at the center!
 
What is the Bias?
What assumptions does it make? Whose interests does it serve?

What is your Personal Experience?
How does it make you feel? How do your experiences, privileges, and personal interests affect your understanding of it?
Now, enter the heart
▶ Say something good about what you disagree with, even if there are flaws.
▶ Find causes, not symptoms. Ask what lies at the root.
▶ Have respect for people with different views, insights, and priorities!
 
Opinion added by
Visionary Society
on February 19, 2018
 
This is the opinion of Abraham Heschel
"Suffering can end by understanding it, not avoiding it."
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Reach the Heart of a Perspective
Topic: How to respond to suffering


Suffering can end by understanding it, not avoiding it.

Suffering perverts and distorts the mind. Suffering is not the way of truth, to reality, to God, or whatever name you like to give it. We have tried to ennoble suffering, saying it is inevitable, it is necessary, it brings understanding, and all the rest of it. But the truth is that the more intensely you suffer, the more eager you are to escape, to create an illusion, to find a way out. So it seems to me that a sane, healthy mind must understand suffering, and be utterly free from it. And is it possible?

 

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(Hide)

Addresses the root issue
Flawed, one-sided, or superficial
 
How to Explore a Perspective
Relax, focus. Take a step back and look at the Perspective from all sides. Now, zero in at the center!
 
What is the Bias?
What assumptions does it make? Whose interests does it serve?

What is your Personal Experience?
How does it make you feel? How do your experiences, privileges, and personal interests affect your understanding of it?
Now, enter the heart
▶ Say something good about what you disagree with, even if there are flaws.
▶ Find causes, not symptoms. Ask what lies at the root.
▶ Have respect for people with different views, insights, and priorities!
 
Opinion added by
Visionary Society
on February 19, 2018
 
This is the opinion of J. Krishnamurti
 
Would you like to add a Perspective or Resource to this Topic? Go to the Topic development page!
 
Recommended Resources (Review before voting)
 
 

Jordan Peterson - Life is suffering, so get your act together!
 
 
 

Sadhguru on The Source of All Suffering
 
 
 

Eckhart Tolle, The End Of Suffering
Most suffering is self-created, out of resistance to ‘what is’. Suffering is a wonderful teacher. It deepens you, eroding the ego. End suffering by being present. Accept this moment as it is.
 
 
 
Other Resources
 
Text: Suffering can cease by understanding it
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Suffering can cease by understanding it

Sorrow increases by avoiding it (Krishnamurti)
“If you wish to be free from sorrow, you must stop running away and be aware of it without judgment, without choice; you must observe it, learn about it, know all the intimate intricacies of it.” Krishnamurti, Commentaries on Living, Third Series, Sorrow from self-pity, 303

Suffering from self-pity makes you dull and stupid (Krishnamurti)
"If you cry out of self-pity your tears have no meaning because you are concerned about yourself. If you are crying because you are bereft of one in whom you have invested a great deal of affection, it was not really affection. When you cry for your brother who dies cry for him. It is very easy to cry for yourself because he is gone. Apparently you are crying because your heart is touched, but it is not touched for him, it is only touched by self-pity and self-pity makes you hard, encloses you, makes you dull and stupid." Krishnamurti, Freedom from the Known, 84

Suffering is not the way to God (Krishnamurti)
Suffering perverts and distorts the mind. Suffering is not the way of truth, to reality, to God, or whatever name you like to give it. We have tried to ennoble suffering, saying it is inevitable, it is necessary, it brings understanding, and all the rest of it. But the truth is that the more intensely you suffer, the more eager you are to escape, to create an illusion, to find a way out. So it seems to me that a sane, healthy mind must understand suffering, and be utterly free from it. And is it possible? - Krishnamurti, The Collected Works vol XII, p 176

Satisfaction is a drug
“Please listen. You condemn the state you are in; your mind is opposing it. Discontent is a flame that must be kept burning brightly, and not be smothered by some interest or activity that is pursued as a reaction from the pain of it. Discontent is painful only when it is resisted. A man who is merely satisfied, without understanding the full significance of discontent, is asleep; he is not sensitive to the whole movement of life. Satisfaction is a drug, and it is comparatively easy to find.” “Contentment and discontent are like the two sides of one coin. To be free from the ache of discontent, the mind must cease to seek contentment.” Krishnamurti, ‘The flame of discontent.’ Commentaries on Living, Third Series, 75-7

Hold it as a precious jewel
Can one remain with that pain? Can I look at that pain, hold it, hold it as a precious jewel not escape, not suppress, not rationalize it, not seek the cause of it, but hold it as a vessel holds water? Hold this thing called sorrow, the pain, that is, I have lost my son and I am lonely, not to escape from that loneliness, not to suppress it, not to intellectually rationalize it, but to look at that loneliness, understand the depth of it, the nature of it. - Krishnamurti, Mind Without Measure, p 57


J. Krishnamurti


 
 
Activities
Reflect on your own relation to the issue (experiences, biases, interests, etc, before making a conclusion).
How have you suffered? How have you dealt with it?
What does suffering feel like? Where do you feel it? Where does it come from?
Is suffering required for spiritual growth? Why? (Compare some points of view.)
Have you made moral compromises that made your life easier?
Conclusion
Ask the impossible question!
What is true and relevant about the varying perspectives? How can you respond to suffering at a deep level?
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