Types of suffering (3)

The 3 main types of suffering and the reason behind our suffering (a guide)

In this article, you will read about the 3 main types of suffering, the reasons behind our suffering, and whether “desire” the cause of our pain. 

What is suffering?

All spiritual leaders have been saying for centuries that the purpose of our life is joy, that happiness is our natural state of being.

Yet there is so much suffering on earth and in our lives that it is hard for us to believe in being able to experience life with grace and ease, in peace, as long as our attention is always drawn to all these traumatic events happening around us or even to us.

What are the 3 main types of suffering?

We mainly suffer when we feel negative emotions because our existence does not satisfy us and our desires are not fulfilled (so we feel betrayed, judged, disappointed, abused, abandoned, mistreated, not loved enough, etc.)

We suffer when we empathize with other people who are going through hard times (wars, cataclysms, crimes, abuses, death,…) and…

…there is another kind of suffering that has more to do with physical pain about which we will talk about on another occasion.

If we observe from a distance, with detachment, the first two types of suffering, we will clearly feel that the anguish, the struggle and the torment involved in the suffering are in fact the result of the way we personally interpreted a certain event.

Suffering is caused by what we have added over the event already manifested, that is, our thoughts, interpretations, beliefs and previous experience.

Buddha said:

  “It is your resistance to ‘what is’ that causes your suffering

Thus, suffering can be defined as the result of focusing on what we do not want or want to avoid, instead of pursuing our joy.

At this moment I can almost hear many of you shouting at me: “Are you sane? My child is dying/my marriage is going downhill/my health is so precarious and the only advice you can give me right now is to follow my joy ???

I understand your frustration and anger but try to accept that there is always a purpose and a meaning to everything that is happening to you right now.

The only question is: “Are you ready and dare to take the red pill, to go down deep into the rabbit’s lair to understand what is happening to you and more than that, to understand the reason behind it?”

Is suffering really necessary?

Suffering is not necessary for our existence but we believe this because it is imprinted in our genes and culture.

We are deeply programmed to believe that suffering is part of what it means to be human beings. 

Starting with our evening TV news and the great Greek tragedies to current soap operas and pop songs, we are bombarded daily with examples of heroes who went through great suffering before they were acclaimed by people (be they teenagers or third age) suffering from unshared love and who only after shedding a river of tears and tearing a row of clothes, also came to be loved by someone who really understands them. 

We think it’s something very special to suffer from love, for example. However, suffering means not following your joy, it is a result of focusing on the things we do NOT want.

Imagine lifting a stick from the ground. It is impossible to lift only one end of it if you want to take it from there.

If you want that stick, it has to have both ends raised off the ground.

Now imagine that at one end you have all the things you want and at the other end everything you don’t want, the things you fear or want to avoid.

What I want you to understand is that any subject is actually… two topics: what we want and what we don’t want.

So whenever you think of a certain situation there are two vibrational realities that you can experience. The secret is to keep active the one you want to manifest.

For example, you want more money. The positive vibration on this subject would be: “I want to evolve, to expand, I want the money for what they can offer me, for the feeling I have when I think about what I can do with them, for how wonderful I will feel, for the fulfilment that it can bring ». 

The negative vibration would be: «I need this money to pay my rent and I need it until the end of the month, I have to get rid of this unpleasant and poorly paid job, I want to be free, I don’t want to feel poor ». 

The first example of thinking and feeling opens you to the Universe, allows you to focus on what you really want, to feel like a real creator, while the second example contracts you, makes you feel small, desperate, a helpless victim, it focuses on the lack of money and of course, the Law of Attraction will bring you exactly what you project: more shortcomings.

Your outer world is a reflection of your inner world.

We are becoming more and more aware that we are creating our own reality and that in fact, everything around us is a huge mirror.

We experienced everything we set out to do and signed in the contract of the soul, but also every thought and emotion we ever issued in the Universe in this existence… or in our multiple existences.

It is also true that certain patterns of thinking are very old and are passed down from generation to generation until they reach us.

Once we managed to clear a certain pattern of thinking, we healed the entire genealogical line.

That is why certain patterns are harder to cure than others because we do both the work of our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents but also of children, grandchildren, and so on.

Well, in order to develop this “muscle” (read: vibration, inner power, alignment, higher consciousness, awareness) we need to work it, that on any muscle; and how can we do it other than face (often repeatedly) great trials, with a very obvious contrast?

Contrast is the things we do not want and have the potential to make us suffer. The main idea that I would like you to understand and accept is that:

Suffering is not necessary! The contrast, on the other hand, is!

This is the main confusion we make when we think about life’s trials.

We have been taught that it is normal to suffer but in fact, it is normal to face the contrast, the trials that life brings in our way.

Without contrast there is no evolution, there is no going forward. Our power but also our responsibility lies in the way we react to the contrast!

All things are essentially neutral, they only have the meaning we attribute to them.

So, you can consider that a certain event hurts you, makes you suffer, deprives you of what you want to achieve or vice versa, you can consider that it is something that “raises the bar” for you to notice that thing, to become aware of that hidden aspect of you, so that you can heal it, to align it with your Higher Self. 

But it is your choice, you are so strong as to give meaning to your experience, whether you accept it or not, apply it or not, the universal truth remains the same: it is your choice!

Henry Ford said:

Whether you think you can or you can’t, in both cases you’re right.

Contrast is necessary because it is the only way we can figure out what we like and what we don’t like, who we are and who we are not… and that leads us to the real reason we are here, experiencing life automatically and everything the contrast: to know ourselves better and in this way, through us, the Source Himself knows itself.

You will never stop experimenting. You will never stop expanding on yourself and implicitly the whole Universe; and you do this with every desire for more, better, or something different.

Many initiates in the past believed that our suffering came exactly from our desires, so they pleaded to get rid of desires.

Is desire the cause of our suffering?

The problem is, you can’t stop making wishes.

Whenever you are missing something or you are dissatisfied with the current situation, you will launch fireworks in the air: you notice that you have no money so you want money, you no longer like the car you drive, the house you live in, your partner who you are, the reason you get out of bed in the morning, so you always want something else. 

And I’m not just talking about the “big” desires but also the “small” ones that you express consciously or unconsciously in every second of life: when you stand in a line and you want it to go faster, you don’t like vegetables so you dream of a hot pizza, you don’t like rainy days so you want sunny days… everything! 

So it is not the desires themselves that cause suffering, but what we think about that desire, the attachment of our mind to the desired result, what we put above that desire, our limiting beliefs: I do not deserve this, I am not enough…, I am not able and so on. Our mind makes us suffer, not the desire itself.

Conclusions about the types of suffering

In this article, you read about the 3 main types of suffering, the reasons behind our suffering, and whether “desire” is the cause of our pain. 

We consider that there are 3 main types of suffering: 

  • We mainly suffer when we feel negative emotions because our existence does not satisfy us and our desires are not fulfilled (so we feel betrayed, judged, disappointed, abused, abandoned, mistreated, not loved enough, etc.)
  • We suffer when we empathize with other people who are going through hard times (wars, cataclysms, crimes, abuses, death,…)
  • The third kind of suffering has more to do with physical pain. 

In conclusion, suffering is not necessary for our existence but we believe this because it is imprinted in our genes and culture. We are deeply programmed to believe that suffering is part of what it means to be human beings. 

Please do not hesitate to leave a comment, or to share your experience with the 3 types of suffering, in a comment below. 

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

FAQ about types of suffering

What are the different types of suffering?

There are many types of suffering, among them are suffering caused because of physical pain, caused by our negative emotions or suffering for other people that we care about or relate to. 

What are the causes of suffering?

Some of the causes of suffering are our expectations on how things are supposed to be, on what we are supposed to receive, give, live, etc. 

What is the purpose of human suffering?

There is no actual purpose of human suffering, but many people and life coaches agree that suffering makes us stronger, more confident in our abilities, makes us develop better coping skills, and makes us appreciate more what we have. 

What is suffering?

Suffering is an emotion that we feel when we think life is unfair to us; when we have lost someone or something of value to us, when we miss someone, when we are grieving, and the examples could go on and on, as suffering is a very individual feeling.

Does suffering make you stronger?

In the end, yes, suffering makes you stronger, because only when we are going through some rough times we develop the best coping skills, we learn gratitude and how to ask for help from others, how to better take care of ourselves, how to practice compassion.

Further reading

Walking with God through Pain and Suffering,  by Timothy Keller  

Suffering: Gospel Hope When Life Doesn’t Make Sense, by Paul David Tripp 

Boundless Awareness: A Loving Path to Spiritual Awakening and Freedom from Suffering, by Michael Rodriguez 

Coping Mechanism, by M. Kistulot 

References

Real Strength: Build Your Resilience and Bounce Back from Anything, by Psychologies Magazine  

Suffering Is Never for Nothing, by Elisabeth Elliot 

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