Is suffering a choice? Pain is inevitable but do we choose to extend the suffering due to the lack of accepting what is?

asked 04 Aug '11, 03:13

you's gravatar image



To everyone: All the answers to this question are good: Please take the time to read them all, and act accordingly and appropriately. Thanks, Jai – Jaianniah 0 secs ago

(08 Aug '11, 11:49) Jaianniah

Pain is an inevitable part of life experience, however, I do think how long we suffer is optional. At some point we all feel pain whether physical pain or emotional pain due to the loss of a loved one or a traumatic event. I think suffering is a normal response but it's when we get stuck there it becomes a problem.

If I lose a loved one I am undoubtedly going to suffer and yes I know if there was no attachment there would be no suffering but I choose to be attached to those I love (it's the only flaw I have with the buddhist teachings) when they hurt I hurt. However, if I resist and deny what's happened I keep myself stuck in a place of suffering.That's why it's so important to move through the stages of the grieving process.

When we move into a place of acceptance the physical pain may still be there or the sadness over our loss but we are no longer creating more negativity around the situation or deriving a sense of identity from the pain so the suffering abates.I think when we stay stuck in the suffering it is a way of avoiding the pain and the suffering then becomes our story...we become lost in it.

I love how Eckhart Tolle puts it...

The acceptance of suffering is a journey into death. Facing deep pain, allowing it to be, taking your atttention into it, is to enter death consciously. When you have died this death, you realize that there is no death-and there is nothing to fear. Only the ego dies. Imagine a ray of sunlight that has forgotten it is an inseperable part of the sun and deludes itself into believing it has to fight for survival and create and cling to an identity other than the sun. Would the death of this delusion not be incredibly liberating?


answered 04 Aug '11, 11:55

Michaela's gravatar image


Thanks Michael :)

(05 Aug '11, 21:15) Michaela

Acceptance - absolutely. Great Tolle quote too.

(05 Oct '13, 01:27) ele

I don't think it is the lack of accepting what is, but rather the acceptance of it, and the resignation to it, rather than the heartfelt desire to have yourself be happy and healthy again. By seeing good in it, or believing that it's normal, you just attract more of the same.


answered 04 Aug '11, 03:34

LeeAnn%201's gravatar image

LeeAnn 1

within the law of cause and effect it is feasible that some of our suffering now
is a consequence or return to natural balance that we had upset in the past,
in this case it is of a past choice we made,
other choices that we make today or make tomorrow will also be weighed within the natural order of life,
and will either set with harmony as allright or again create a future need for compensation,
we may or may not be consciously choosing,
but as of the age of reason we are responsible for the choices we make


answered 04 Aug '11, 22:02

fred's gravatar image


how aware are you of your choice and the fruit they produce in the long run? experience and enjoy.

(23 Aug '11, 21:14) white tiger

Absolutely everything you experience, you agreed to experience, not only that, you created the experience. Isnt that a kick in the ass, Eh Jai I have to admit I am giving my other Self one right now. God is Good. Love and Light


answered 04 Aug '11, 22:51

Roy's gravatar image


edited 04 Aug '11, 23:10

Thanks for the question Michael.

(04 Aug '11, 23:10) Roy

There's physical pain, which may be the result of an accident caused by negative thinking and attraction, and there's psychological pain which is always a choice caused by thinking. Either way, to prolong the pain is suffering. Thus, suffering is either an unconscious habit or once we're aware of the habit it becomes a conscious choice.

Some people choose to remain in a state of pain and suffering or to revisit that state often; so in a sense they're attached to their story of pain and suffering which is a choice. Upon closer examination you will find that those people, really, are attached to their own sense of importance and thus, their self-pity is really their self-importance masquerading as self-pity :)

On a deeper level, once one realizes the illusional nature of reality, one sees that the ego-self, which is that part of us that seeks attention from others through self-pity, is an artificial construct. Knowing this and adjusting how we view life accordingly, allows us to move through life and allows life to flow through us in a joyous manner; unhindered by pain and suffering, which, ultimately are unnecessary.


answered 05 Aug '11, 08:41

Eddie's gravatar image


edited 02 Feb '12, 23:33

"Knowing this and adjusting how we view life accordingly, allows us to move through life and allows life to flow through us in a joyous manner; unhindered by pain and suffering, which, ultimately are unnecessary."

Like your answer & your last sentence a lot.

(05 Oct '13, 01:26) ele

"suffering is necessary until we realise it was never necessary" can't remember were i read that quote;)


answered 05 Aug '11, 12:29

Satori's gravatar image


Suffering is part of the process that builds strength.

Those who suffer are blessed, because those who overcome learn the secrets of the Gods and become one of them.

Another word for a life of suffering is patience. All holy men aspire to be patient. The definition of patience is: Enduring pain, long suffering.

Think of it as, suffering is to the soul as weight lifting is to the body.


answered 02 Feb '12, 23:44

meetri's gravatar image


@meetri - interesting :)

(03 Feb '12, 00:16) blubird two

some do. how many time did i tell someone do not do that you are going to hurt your self and they do it anny way. how many people do bad choice that goes against what they want or need and suffer from it. if i can see it why does those people do not see it? and look at masochist they like to suffer it gives them a thrill. so yes some do. experience and enjoy.


answered 05 Aug '11, 03:02

white%20tiger's gravatar image

white tiger

Masochism is a mental illness; a personality disorder.

(05 Oct '13, 01:24) ele

WoW! I cannot believe some of the answers to this makes me wonder if some of our members need to go someplace and visit kids who had their legs and arms blown off by land mines. Those kids are suffering, and I cannot accept that they chose this path; it is illogical and sick to believe such a thing about a child.

There has been a lot of philosophical writing on suffering. Why do we suffer? What is the point? Is there a point? Why must I suffer when others do not? Why does God allow suffering? All these questions have been tackled by some pretty deep philosophers, and they are still going at it.

Some quotes:

But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world. --C.S. Lewis

It is not a question of God allowing or not allowing things to happen. It is part of living. Some things we do to ourselves, other things we do to each other. Our Father knows about every bird which falls to the ground, but He does not always prevent it from falling. What are we to learn from this? That our response to what happens is more important than what happens. Here is a mystery: one man’s experience drives him to curse God, while another man’s identical experience drives him to bless God. Your response to what happens is more important than what happens. –Chip Brogden

I say that trials and tests locate a person. In other words they determine where you are spiritually. They reveal the true condition of your heart. How you react under pressure is how the real you reacts.-- John Bevere

I like the last quote. Suffering reveals the sort of person you are, and even sorts out your real friends!!! I have suffered many MRSA infections, and man, do they hurt and maim you! But I have found that in my pain, I CAN be strong, I CAN be funny, and I CAN be ME!

Great question, BTW.

Blessings, Jai


answered 06 Aug '11, 16:38

Jaianniah's gravatar image


what is a kid doing on a field with mine? where are the parent and the person responsible? did they not told the kids to not go play there? who made the choice to go play there?

(23 Aug '11, 21:17) white tiger

WT, on this issue, YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. Tell you what...the next time you stub your toe, let me know, and I will ask you how you could have been so silly as to not know where the table leg was...these land mines are a deadly, old scourge that Princess Di devoted the last years of her life to banning. Their whole purpose is to rob people of their arms and legs, and they are often planted in the night, in African villages, for people to be maimed by in the addition, the old mines are still in the ground. WAKE UP!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

(24 Aug '11, 01:31) Jaianniah
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