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The Nature of Suffering

By Kenda-Ruth Stumpf

Suffering The experience of extreme levels of emotional, mental or physical pain, discomfort and unpleasantness.

Though we do not consciously seek or invite suffering (unless we have a negative martyr complex), it is a part of life that can foster growth if we allow it; religions across the world recognize it as a universal part of life.

  • Buddhism: The Four Noble Truths
    1. Life is suffering.
    2. The origin of suffering is attachment to desire
    3. There is a cessation to suffering
    4. The eight-fold noble path: the way out of suffering
  • Christianity: St. Paul
  • Romans 5:3b – 4
    we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.
    We can overcome suffering by surrendering to the grace of God; it is through Christ that we receive this gift.
    2 Corinthians 1:5
    For just as the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us, so also our consolation is abundant through Christ.
  • Hinduism: The Cycle of Karma
  • Sorrows and joys are earned by deeds (karma) from previous lives. Giving energy to negative or evil thoughts enables suffering. Acting with attached expectation toward your goal maintains the cycle of suffering. To resolve suffering, redirect your focus so that negativity cannot cling to the mind; a person achieves this by freeing oneself from the karmic cycle.

To me it seems that these traditions have different ways of saying the same thing: attachment causes suffering. The Eastern traditions in my example state this clearly, but it also seems clear within Christianity, for we can eventually realize an end to suffering by surrendering attachment of our egotistical selves to God.

Reaping and Sowing

As a Christian I see karma as another way of saying you reap what you sow. As a Stander you want marital reconciliation, the irony is that to achieve that big goal you need to let it go. That doesn't mean you need to change the goal, but that you need to do the actions whether you will achieve the goal or not. You know that saying...

If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it's yours forever. If it doesn't, then it was never meant to be.
That was so annoying in my early days and weeks after Bomb Drop. People thought they were explaining some essential wisdom and truth, and perhaps they were, but they were also showing their ignorance and incapability of truly understanding my pain. Sweetheart and I already had a commitment! How many times do you have to let something go for it to be yours? In my case he kept returning and going away again. But that is because what belongs to me is our shared US; Sweetheart the individual belongs to himself and God.

I probably sound like a broken record, but the message is important; it means that there are no guarantees. Paving the Way with the Unconditionals is how you should treat a person regardless of their treatment of you or others. What would Jesus do? He would love--agapé. It is that simple, and yes, I understand that simple doesn't mean it is behaviorally easy. But the concept is simple. It means Pave the Way without expecting your spouse to react or respond in the manner you desire; allow your MLCer to choose how to respond and detach from the emotional rollercoaster, let-go of the need for results and surrender control to God; let God resolve the situation. Expectation is related to control and manipulation, is it appropriate to be nice only because you want something--even when what you want is marriage and the love of your MLCer? MLCers are often manipulative, pretending to be nice so that you will do what they want, but their actions are inauthentic. If you reap false actions you will receive false actions in return.

I'm Kenda-Ruth and I believe in marriage.
Are you tired of hearing...
  • Once a cheater always a cheater?
  • You're better off without him?
  • She doesn't deserve you?
  • I guess it just wasn't meant to last?
  • Divorce is no big deal?
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