Taking the Suffering Seriously :: How It Invites Guilt

Let it go.

On Friday, I mentioned that I sensed a turn in our exploration of suffering toward some alternative perspectives. But I realized over the weekend that’s not true.

There is still more sifting to be done.

There is still more sitting in this place of taking the suffering seriously and giving it its due weight. So today, we’re continuing forward into the painful realities of suffering. 

A dear friend of mine shared an aspect of her own struggle with suffering that invites guilt:

“I think one of my biggest struggles with suffering is the idea that it’s my fault, that I’ve done something wrong,” she said. “Not that I’m being punished, but that I’ve been unwise or imperfect and done something to cause my own suffering.”

Isn’t this the truth?

I can just see so many of us working and re-working events in our minds. If I’d just done this one thing differently … if only I’d said or did this instead … if only I had all knowledge and perfect action, perhaps this suffering never would have come about, or perhaps it simply wouldn’t hurt quite so much. 

We begin to feel responsible for our suffering. And then, as my friend so attentively noticed, “Not only am I suffering, but I am bad for having caused it.” Suffering compounds suffering.

Has suffering caused such an effect in your own life?