Are pain and suffering punishment for our misdeeds? If you believe they are, is it because of God — or karma — or what or who?

John Cali

A good friend sent me an article she recently wrote, Wondering Why We Suffer. Here’s a short excerpt from her article:

. . . why do we suffer? What is the point in it all if not simply to learn we do it to ourselves? . . . It really isn’t ok to suffer, truly it isn’t.

In just a handful of words, she has beautifully summed up what Spirit, Seth, Abraham, and many others have said time and time again.

An article in the Washington Post on the recent Burmese cyclone talked about the country’s Buddhist majority and their belief the cyclone was due to karma — specifically, to their military leaders’ brutal suppression of Buddhist monks last year. Some Christian leaders in this country have similarly associated September 11, 2001 and Hurricane Katrina with what they call sexual immorality in New York City and New Orleans.

All this bears an uncomfortably close resemblance to the Roman Catholicism I was brought up in. We were taught we were born “tainted” with “original sin.” And part of our suffering in this lifetime was because we were born “sinners.” It didn’t seem to make much difference that, in the womb and as infants, we could hardly choose to “commit sin.”

Today, I still know folks among my family and friends who believe pain and suffering are God’s (or karma’s) way of punishing us for our misdeeds.

The Washington Post article mentioned something about karma I’d never known. It said that word is often misunderstood by Western society. The Sanskrit word for karma means “action.” It refers to the action that creates our experience (or fate), not to the experience itself.

That is much more closely aligned with my belief — as opposed to thinking we are helpless, random victims of karma, original sin, or an angry god.

Spirit

This is another of those devilish dilemmas you face as humans in physical form. It’s also a way of denying your own considerable power. Each of you, standing alone, is far more powerful than most of you imagine.

Pain and suffering are not thrust upon you by some outside force, and certainly not by God, All That Is, or whatever you call that divine energy.

While we have the greatest love and compassion for all of you, especially those among you in pain and suffering, we want to cast your pain and suffering in a different light from the way you’re used to viewing it.

We are not saying your suffering is not real. It’s about as real as anything can be. If it hurts, it’s real. If it feels good, it’s real. It’s all real, because you created it.

There are various reasons for the disasters, natural and man-made, you are witnessing on your planet today. We’re not going into those today. But we are going to tell you what you individually can do about the pain and suffering you feel in your lives.

You all probably know people in the best, most enviable circumstances who are in pain. And you know others in circumstances you consider horrible and tragic who are truly happy.

It’s not what’s happening around you that matters, it’s what’s happening within you. Happiness and healing are an inside job. You create them with your thoughts, with your focus.

As difficult an idea as this is for many of you, those people who died in the Burmese cyclone (and the Chinese earthquake) were ready to go. They have now taken up the next part of their eternal journey. And they’ve done it joyfully, despite the circumstances of their passing.

You have a choice here, friends. You can view life and death as painful and hard. Or you can view them as joyful and easy. There is absolutely nothing you have ever experienced or ever will experience that is worth distancing yourselves from your higher selves.

Your real pain is not in experiencing what life (or death) throws at you. Your real pain is in allowing yourselves to be distanced from your higher selves, from God, All That Is.

No one, fully aligned with their higher selves, can ever experience anything but joy, regardless of what’s happening in the world around them.

Suffering is a choice. Joy is a choice. You’re free to choose either.

The only true purpose of suffering is to teach you that suffering is unnecessary. It has no other purpose.