Why do I suffer? Why also does virtue suffer? These are both common questions. Suffering, in the spiritual philosophy, means a condition of growth, and also a purification antecedent to spiritual evolution, and is not without a deep significance and purpo.se. Each new growth means the death of the preceding conditions. The seed “dies” to become a plant, and the flower “dies “to become a fruit or seed, by the laws of nature.
This process of death in the above illustration, when it takes place in the sentient being, is called suffering. But although the body and mind suffer, the spirit as the witness of the unfolding conscious ness does not suffer.
The Teacher said, “Life in God knows no suffering.” It is a psychological fact that the mind, set ·on a fixed purpose mocks at hardship and suffering. The Himalayan climbers and explorers like Shackelton are examples of this.
The nature of the soul is Bliss. When suffering comes as the consequence of an invitation sent to it by us in the past, often quite unconsciously. Let us try to treat it with indifference, and, through our knowledge of Truth, give it the hospitality of Bliss, knowing that such educative value as suffering possesses is not in the suffering itself, but in our indifference to it, and our struggles to surmount it while still in its throes.
The true attitude is to live ever, in joy as in grief or pain, in equanimity and the contemplation of Bliss which is independent of the senses.
Sacrifice of the false self must not be confounded with suffering, and service becomes unspiritual if it is regarded as suffering.
Suffering and sacrifice are transmuted to blessedness when we see them as a process leading on to the great goal, as joy-and all that comes to us-may also be.
The spiritual ideal is expressed in the following verse by an Indian Sage:
“He alone deserves to be called a wise Pundit who keeps his mind poised in gain, in loss, in heat, in cold, in pleasure and in pain.”