February 25: Introspection During Lent: Pain vs Suffering

Updated: Apr 1

Thursday of the First Week of Lent

February 25, 2021

My husband was the first person who brought to my attention the distinction between pain and suffering. With its origins in Buddhism, this perspective sees suffering associated with distress and misery occurring only when we fight pain or dwell on it. Opening my mind to this differentiation between pain and suffering has helped me a great deal on my journey to self-love, love for others, and love of God.


Pain is an unavoidable aspect of life on this earth. It is sensorial (physical) and psychological (emotional), woven into our existence. Suffering becomes a choice when we understand pain in this way. This kind of understanding required me to first understand the role of pain in my life. Pain reminds me as much of my limitations as a physical, mortal being, as it does of my blessings and my higher self, my spiritual self. Pain provides me with the source for feeling sympathy, learning empathy, and desiring to become solidary with others.


Pain becomes suffering when we let fear dwell in our hearts and cause harm to self and others, and when we reject the nature of the sea that is this earthly life, a continuous ebb and flow of pleasure and pain. Accepting pain gives us freedom.


These reflections are meant to challenge us on our journey through Lent. Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments with us.

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