Feb 20

Suffering (the end of?)

We have all suffered. Mental, emotional, physical, and even spiritual suffering have likely touched your life at some point. After having a back injury this week, I spent quite a bit exploring what was behind my pain. Lifting an old, heavy desk from my office to the buyer’s van had something to do with it. But I ignored the insight that the desk was too heavy. I ignored the past back injuries and went for it. And as I suffered, I asked myself, “why did I do that?”

I didn’t want to inconvenience someone else. I “should” be able to lift a desk. I didn’t want to seem like a “wuss”. I wanted to be able to do it. Those were all messages the ego self gave me to encourage me to lift that desk. However, it went much deeper than those superficial reasons. In many ways, the gift was the unrealized lesson I needed to learn from the injury. 

As I explored, I recalled the first time this pain shot through my spine following a failed ski jump in 2011.

Years later, it was re-injured at a Memorial Day parade while carrying our daughter on my shoulders. I recall judging myself for ruining the parade and wasting my family’s time as I couldn’t move for over an hour. The first time, I hated myself for being so careless going off a ski jump at 38 years old with no experience. 

Rather than mad, today I am curious. What is the lesson in this? A childhood memory surfaced: My uncle Pat was supposed to take me camping and ruined the trip. We scheduled it months out, and he even showed up with his buddy. We pitched two tents, and in the process, he cut his hand. Pat wanted to leave. He didn’t ask me but said, “I am sorry, Mark, but I need to go.” Just like that, he was gone. I cleaned up my tent and walked home. The campsite was close by, but I recall hating that he “wussed” out. Why not get a bandage and come back? It was infuriating to me. 

I experienced that same anger directed at myself when I ruined my family’s day at the parade, and ended our skiing early due to my injury. I received what I gave. I concluded my suffering was perpetuated by my holding a grudge of anger. Healing in me was needed. It is still underway, and I am learning that the truth of suffering is that people often miss the whole picture. 

Whether real or a story, the origin of Adam and Eve illustrates life without suffering and a perfect relationship with the Creator.

Their suffering stems from a schism in that relationship. The end of suffering would come with a restorative union, no more divisions. Much like Adam and Eve, the way we see, hear, speak, think, act, and perceive will all be corrected in this restored state. 

Whether you believe in a higher power or not, you likely know that schisms in you lead to suffering. Whether that is second-guessing, hating, hurting, or countless other ways to reveal what is out of alignment, the schisms within you will show up in your life. They show up to support awareness and an opportunity to heal. The suffering that shows up with this awareness focuses our attention on where healing is needed. 

Heal needing people to approve of you, and confidence will rise. 


Heal judging yourself for something you regret, and peace will return to your heart.


Heal your fear of the unknown, and trust will return to your thoughts and actions. 

I could go on and on and on, and we would discover that every suffering begins with the original schism, rejection of that union, rejection our selves. Ignored, this can surface as a rejection of, or from, someone or something else. Just as Eve and Adam rejected self and all that kept them whole with God, every schism in us can be traced to the same action. 

The good news is that there are countless teachers, stories, and lessons in all walks of life revealing how to be restored. You can find them in scripture, music, psychology, nature, books, movies, and so much more. However, the truth that is always true resides in you. So, even if all the resources available to you disappear tomorrow, innate within you is a guidance system available to lead you to your realigned and restored state of being.

The ten areas of restoration that we measure are described in a free gift offered here. Take a look and orient yourself to the ten elements of effectiveness and well-being.

If you like what you read, arrange a complimentary 20-minute call with one of our Optimal Being mentors (link in the gift) to discover how to activate the innate guidance system in you and accelerate your path to your optimal life and much less suffering.