By Balance Spirituality Coach Katrina Cavanough
Why do we suffer is one of the most asked questions as we go though life, probably next to “Who am I and why am I here? Whether we are bearing witness to tragedy on a global scale or living our own painful experience it is inevitable at some time that this question will rise up within us.
Working as a therapist and social worker for the past 21 years has meant that I have sat alongside thousands of people who were in various states of emotional pain. In those moments my job is to help people come to know their own natural capacity and strength to find a state of peace and happiness within themselves.
There have been many times when I have said to my spiritual team – “Why? “ and they have shared some understandings.
Understanding from the soul’s perspective of why we suffer does not mean that we will no longer experience sad life events. They will still come. They can however be experienced more softly when we truly understand the purpose of life.
Why is suffering included in the life experience?
My spiritual friends tell me that your soul is here to know what it feels like to express itself across all circumstances. During both happy times and occasions when life is beyond tolerable. One of the reasons we are all here is to create an opportunity for your soul to know the full expression of itself in every given moment. This includes all of life’s experiences; even the difficult ones.
The greatest strength is felt when we can be compassionate towards ourselves even in times of suffering. Life s actually about knowing all aspects of ourselves. And this includes the type of strength that can only come after one has suffered.
I understand from my spiritual friends that the key to allowing your soul to fully express itself is compassion. Compassion towards others of course, but most importantly compassion toward yourself. The access point to compassion is awareness. Awareness of both your thoughts and feelings as you experience your day to day life.
Once we understand this concept it offers each of us an opportunity to soften our experience of suffering. And each time we are faced with a challenging time in our life and we experience it from a perspective of kindness towards ourselves and others; we are liberated into a place of great emotional freedom and peace.
How to soften your suffering experience?
Each time you experience a painful life event you are presented with an opportunity to view the way you respond to the event either through a lens of understanding or down the barrel of some harsh self criticism.
Please note the subtle difference here. It is not about viewing whatever is causing you pain from a compassionate view point. It is all about the thoughts and feelings that you have about yourself as you critique the way you are responding to what has happened.
Each time you are faced with suffering, your soul wants to express itself fully. It wants you to know your true essence. That’s is a state of complete compassion and understanding. There are three simple steps that anyone can apply to their everyday life to soften their experience of suffering.
1. Live in awareness of the thoughts and feelings you have about toward yourself. Observe them and notice how close or far away are they to a state of compassion?
2. Incorporate the following statement into your every day inner and outer dialogue. “Based on what I know so far, my response/ feelings/ thoughts – are completely understandable. “
3. Take a moment each day to breathe deeply, close your eyes and repeat a simple mantra – “I am naturally compassionate toward myself and others.”
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Katrina Cavanough is a woman who ‘knows’. Her ability to connect to the past, present and future has allowed her to offer insights, healing and inspiration to thousands of people as a grief and trauma therapist, a life strategist and a spirituality coach. She believes we all have the power to tap into with our inner wisdom in order to create lives full of happiness, wealth and health. Learn more about her online course here.