Suffering -- the nature of it, how to be with it (ours or someone eles's), what attention we give it in our lives -- can be a major dilemma for most of us. We often don't know how to be with it, whether to embrace it or shun it, give it space or re-direct it. In this brief yet profound excerpt from "Reflections on Suffering", a talk given by Ram Dass in 1987, the heart of the matter is revealed, offering succint and direct teaching and wisdom on the place that suffering should have in our lives.
Now, just as I said before, if you are going to be able to deal with see somebody else’s beauty, you have to be able to acknowledge your own beauty. In a similar way, if you are going to be able to be available to someone else’s suffering, you have to be able to acknowledge your own suffering and be able to understand the nature of suffering in such a way that you have converted the quality of suffering in yourself.
Gurdjieff, the Russian philosopher said, “There is nothing that can be obtained spiritually without suffering in life, but at the same time, if you are going to proceed on the journey you must sacrifice suffering.”