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The Nature of Sacrifice and Suffering

The Nature of Sacrifice and Suffering

The Nature of Suffering and Sacrifice
“Suffering and sacrifice can teach lessons that can lead to enlightenment.”
     Suffering is a state of being which is accentuated by one's emotional state of being and / or ego. Life will present many opportunities for suffering but suffering is only as bad as you allow it to be. Suffering can be either minimized or intensified by how you react to it.
     Suffering is a part of life. It is meant to build character. In these times, it often builds bitterness, resentment and hatred. Suffering can be your greatest teacher if you know how to learn from it. It is through suffering that you learn what you don’t like and have an opportunity to make the changes that will eliminate the suffering. Listen to your suffering, analyze what is its cause and work on correcting the cause.  
     Suffering is also a state of mind. Pain can be very real but there are two types of pain, physical and mental/emotional. The mind and spirit can minimize and sometimes eliminate them both. The annals of history are filled with those who have gone into a trance state and been able to overcome physical pain. Mental and emotional pain can also be overcome. Life is filled with setbacks, disasters and accidents. Many have a certain proclivity towards wallowing in self pity. This only lengthens the time and effect of the suffering. Focusing on potential solutions instead of focusing on crying about the problem can help minimize suffering.
     In the grand scheme of things, suffering is meant to teach a lesson. Whether the lesson is meant for an individual, a group, a culture, a nation or a planet depends on the suffering. The nature of suffering is that it shall continue until the lesson is learned. Sometimes it takes a lot of repeating until the lesson is learned. Both good and bad people reap the benefits of the sunshine. Both good and bad people receive rain for their crops. Chaos and disaster befalls both the good and the bad. The difference in the aftermath of tragedy is the lesson learned or not learned.  The nature of suffering is that it shall continue until the lesson is learned. This is true for an individual, a community, a nation or a planet.
     Sacrifice is denying oneself something for the purpose of advancing forward towards a planned outcome or goal. This can work for an individual goal (like atonement or spiritual enlightenment), a familial goal (saving money for your child's college, stopping smoking so you can live long enough to see your child go to college) or a community goal (like cutting down on pollution through recycling).
     Sacrifice is also meant to build character. It also teaches lessons. Beyond this, sacrifice helps achieve goals. It has an end product which is tangible. Going without something or with less of something one day, could mean that it will be available another day. This speaks directly towards conserving resources whether they are resources of the individual or of the planet.
    While there is rarely a need for suffering (other than catharsis, building character or teaching a lesson), and suffering can be minimized by ones personal outlook, there is often a need for sacrifice. People who squander what they have over a short period of time or who act as gluttons, hoarding and pigging out on resources often end up resource-less or friendless or both. Life is a long haul. It takes sacrifice to make it to the finish line. 
People who do not sacrifice often become selfish. Communities who do not sacrifice often find themselves out of resources. Societies who do not sacrifice, rarely achieve anything worth noting. 
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