Where Does My Suffering Come From

by Jan 30, 2021

Suffering is inbuilt in the human experience. Despite our privileged or marginalized positioning, each of us will suffer from time to time. The evolutionary purpose of suffering is to unpack the deepest mysteries of our consciousness, become human, soften our hearts, and deepen our presence, love, and connection with All That Is. 

However, endless and persisting suffering can do the opposite. It can harden our outlook, disconnect, and dissociate from the experience of love and life. Seemingly endless suffering asks us to go on a treasure hunt into our subconscious and unconscious aspects to liberate what torments us. These journeys will be painful and full of landmines. But they will bring the necessary healing, liberation, and growth we need to make something beautiful of our lives. 

In this blog, we highlight the three main origins of suffering to help you navigate your healing journey and know what to look for when choosing a healing professional for support. 

Archaic Suffering

When life’s difficulties or self-destructive impulses don’t make sense or persist despite trying everything or are similar to our families, the cause is most likely archaic. This is ancient suffering from our ancestors, our paternal and maternal bloodline, our soul lineage, our birth country’s historical suffering, and our souls’ unfinished business. All passed down to us through our DNA. This is the non-optional heritage that is part of the human experience. Nobody did anything wrong, but when parents consciously work on these issues, they increase freedom for their children. 

I remember exploring alcohol addiction for someone. In our process, a connection between this person’s rejection of life with his father’s grief of untimely losing his father emerged. Suddenly he saw the addiction in a new light and felt the possibility of saying no to alcohol.  You can see that the forces behind such challenges are outside the conventional therapies domain (like talk therapy) and usually remain unchecked by the power of our thoughts. Shamanic indigenous medicine and systemic family constellations are best suited to organize this level of consciousness. 

Present Suffering

Present suffering is two-fold. It’s everything painful that we go through in life – the abuse, abandonment, loneliness, traumas, failures, racism, sexism, illness, poverty…the list is endless. And then the impact it leaves on us. The actual underlying roots of these challenges can be archaic, but the impact is current. Depending upon the situation, a trusted adviser, friend, specialized healing professional, or institutional support is required. Sometimes all of the above. But the real danger in these situations comes from the impact of the trauma on our brains, thinking, decision making, and perceptions. That’s what complicates reaching out for support and taking it in. The earlier the suffering started in life, the more significant the impact. 

Most people fail to understand that we need to address this impact of trauma to build the inner strength and spaciousness to actually do the deep healing work. Otherwise, we are continually walking in brain fog and struggling with the belief in the possibility of a better life. I remember working with someone who had changed a few therapists because each felt that she wasn’t ready for change. The real problem was that her brain was so foggy from the impact of her troubled childhood that she was checked out. We first addressed this impact, which slowly helped her stay present in the sessions. If you find yourself not making enough progress in your healing journey, try working with a trauma-informed professional who can suggest direct techniques to manage this impact before opening the painful event.

Future Suffering

Every life has an evolutionary arc and a destiny to become who we were born to be. There is a quiet inner voice that is continuously guiding us towards that north star. If we stray too far away from our evolutionary track, something shifts abruptly to bring us back on course. This can show up as sudden death of relationships, careers, and life plans. Or they can linger as constant unhappiness or challenges in a particular path. They are all signs that what we are doing does not align with who we are here to be. Despite the pain, this is an intervention from Grace. These issues are a privilege and here to prevent us from leading a life of imitation and desperation. 

Couple of years ago, I experienced a sudden breakdown with a male spiritual teacher. Before I could make sense of what happened, I had to leave the entire tribe. It turns out my destiny was to come face to face with my wild sacred divine feminine, which would not have revealed itself to me in patriarchal spirituality.  So even when the cause of such issues looks external, the truth is inward. It’s tricky to discern if our suffering is a call from the future and not some unresolved past trauma. This is where someone who has seen life and has a transpersonal spiritual background would greatly help.

Lastly, there is a shared aspect of collective suffering for all of us, but that is a topic for another time. For now, I hope this breakdown makes it a little bit easier to identify where your challenges fall and make informed decisions.