The Nature of Pain and Suffering

November 7, 2016
GIL CACHA, PhD
Pain and suffering happen when we are not aligned with our nature and purpose

The First Noble Truth of Buddhism states the truth about suffering. There is pain and suffering in life. All people experience pain and suffering. People suffer pain physically, emotionally and mentally. This seems to be the core human experience that we are challenged to overcome every day of our life.

Some school of thought teaches that suffering and pain is a punishment for our sins or the sins of our ancestors. We experience pain and suffering because of what we have said or done or of what our ancestors have said and done. While this might be true in a sense that the pain and suffering is a consequence of previous actions by us or our ancestors, these should not be seen as punishment.

For me, pain and suffering is a feedback mechanism by the universe to communicate to you that you are not anymore aligned to the purpose and plan of the universe for you. When you are going off track, you will experience pain and suffering to communicate that you are not anymore aligned and need to go back on course. If we fail to heed the signal, the pain and suffering will intensify until we have made our realization. Once we have realized and chosen to go back on track, the pain and suffering will begin to deescalate and go away. Pain and suffering will be replaced by joy and happiness.

We experience pain and suffering in our physical body as physical pain and disease. When we are not using our body properly due to lifestyle choices, our body will experience disease to communicate to us that our body is not aligned to its natural use.

We also experience pain and suffering in our emotional body as negative emotions. When we are not nurturing our emotional health and maturity, we will experience stress, worry, anxiety, anger, resentment or depression. These communicate that we are approaching life situations in an improper or unskillful way.

We also experience pain and suffering in our mental body as confusion, mental rigidity, bias, prejudice or mental laxness. When we are not disciplining our mind, our thoughts will be muddled, inaccurate, confused, unclear and irrelevant. These will lead to wrong words, choices, decisions and actions that will generate harm to us and others.

We also experience pain and suffering in our spiritual body as restlessness, boredom or frustration. When we are not living our spiritual purpose, our spirit will be restless, bored or frustrated. These communicate that we are not attuned to the spirit of God who gives joy and life.

Our pain and suffering are driven by our human needs. At the existential level, our need to survive and be secure drives pain and suffering when they are not being met. At the relational level, our need to belong and be esteemed drives pain and suffering when they are not met. At the growth level, our need to actualize ourselves and contribute to others drives pain and suffering when they are not met.

Joy and happiness is our natural state. When our needs are met, when we are aligned to nature and when we are attuned to God’s purpose and plan, we will experience peace, joy and happiness. When we lose this alignment, then we experience pain and suffering.

About the author

GIL CACHA, PhD

“To empower people and organizations for innovation, transformation and growth through Operation Excellence, Capability Development, Knowledge Management and Leadership Development.” Co-Founder of NLP Manila C.P.A., PhD in Organization Development, Certified NLP Master Practitioner.