Richard Rohr, founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation, offers this simple definition of suffering: whenever we are not in control. As a life-long recovering control freak, this one blew me away. I tend to think of suffering as something more extreme, like lots of ongoing pain or a terminal illness. With this definition, it seems I have a huge opportunity for suffering because there is so much wherein I have no control. This also brings suffering into the mental/emotional realm, not just the physical.
Take, for instance, the birth of a grandchild. I recognize what seems like an eternity of WAITING as suffering--I've been "pins and needles" anxious most of this month, and it keeps building. It's a constant effort of deep breathing, refocusing and chanting my mantra "divine timing." I have no control whatsoever.
Mr. Rohr contends that it is suffering, and very little else, that causes us to change. His idea of suffering deserves additional pondering...
|Happy bees at the CSU Gardens|
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