Why is there suffering

Dear Ali

The Purpose of Life” another great topics you have touched, many many thanks for that. I think in your article, the spiritual explanation of life is very soothing and comforting. It is obviously necessary in struggled & troubled life.

But i did not get one line. You said, “We choose the level of hardship we face in this world before coming here.”

How did we do that? So, you mean that we had the authority to do that and we deliberately chose the sufferings? I can’t understand this rationally.

This sentence is bothering me since I have read it last night. Don’t you think we human are constantly fighting with God about that? If it is our choice then what would be the purpose of prayer? Why then we are so desperate to talk to God and ask for His help?


Dear Monir,

If I place a sealed box in front of you and ask you to guess what is in it, will you be able to guess it? Guessing the reality of the next word is like that. Anything we guess could be wrong. There are two ways we can know about the spiritual world and both are fairly new. One is through quantum physics and the other is from those who have actually been there and experienced it. The similarities between the two tell us we are dealing with the same reality. Quantum physics is the science of the immaterial world. The more we learn about it, the more we learn about the spiritual world.

Despite the common belief, the spiritual world is not magical. God is a mathematician, not a magician. He has built His universe, both the one we see and the one that is invisible to our eyes, with precise mathematical formulas that not even He can violate. Miracles happen, but they are not magic. They are the application of spiritual laws in the physical world and they are as rigorous and inviolable as the laws that govern the material world. There is a math behind everything. Think of your computer. It is composed of hardware and software. Both have their own engineering. The software can do magical things but there is nothing magical in its construction. It is written in precise language, with a perfect mathematical symmetry. If you remove a coma from it, it will stop working. Not even the one who wrote the software can violate it. He can change the software and change how it works but he can’t violate the principles underlying it.

How do I know these things? Through the stories of the people who have been to the other side. It is believed that 5% of Americans have had near death experience. If the percentage is the same everywhere, there could be as many as the entire population of America who has been to the other side. Thanks to YouTube, many of them are coming out and telling their story.

Although each story is different, they are compatible and together paint a consistent picture. No one sees a heaven filled with naked virgins. This is the idea that Muslims have of paradise. So clearly the other world does not match our expectation. Many Muslims actually see hell. And when they cry for help, it is Jesus who comes to save them, not Muhammad.

Why people see hell at all? Nobody believes they are deserving of hell. Atheist, Hindus, Jews and Muslims all see Jesus. Why? Jesus is a myth for some, an impostor for some, and insignificant for others. And these are not insane people who like Muhammad cannot tell the difference between hallucination and reality. They know what they saw was real, in fact more real than anything they experienced in this world.

It is these people who tell us we have been around forever. That our existence does not begin at birth and does not end at death. That we choose to come to this world, so we can experience it. That this world is a school; we don’t come here to be tested, but to learn. They tell us we are joined with each other and with the entire universe like leaves of one tree. If the twigs, the branches, the trunk and the root of the tree were invisible, you would see the leaves separate and independent from each other. Likewise, we are joined together, through our spiritual reality, but that reality is invisible to us so we see ourselves as separate. Not only all humans are joined together, we are joined to all life forms. We are only a cell in the body of this universe. We are part of the whole, just as indispensable as a cell is in the body. That is why your life does not belong to you. Like a leave on a tree, you are an important part of a whole, part of the divine plan with a job to do.

It is these people who tell us we choose the level of the difficulty we want to face in this world. Why then we don’t choose the easy life. If it is up to us why not make it as easy and as enjoyable as possible? The answer is that we can grow only through hardship.

meaning of suffering

Let us say you want to learn how to jump. You practice jumping over bars. You keep raising the bar, every time a notch higher. You choose the level of difficulty. Your goal is not jumping over the bar. If that were the goal then you should place it as low as possible. The goal is to learn how to jump higher. It does not matter whether you make it or not. What matters are the effort and the art you put into it.

This world is only a game. Its irony is that those who seem to be the winners may actually be the losers while those who appear to be the losers may be the real winners. What we see as success in this world has no bearing on the success of our soul. Money, fame, power are the measure of success in this world. If this world were the only reality, if life started at birth and ended at death, then these would be the only things that mattered. Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:25)  We must not misinterpret what Jesus said and assume that poor people are better. What he meant is that people who have everything and don’t suffer, don’t exert themselves and as the result don’t evolve spiritually.

Even the hardcore materialists don’t think these are all humans should strive for. They go after science and do charity-work. They dedicate their lives in the pursuit of something that does not benefit them personally. Why? Because at a very subconscious level, we know that we are related; that humanity is more important than each one of us individually.

From a purely materialistic point of view this is irrational. From this perspective, all that matters is that I should survive and should live comfortably. Why should I sacrifice myself for others? But unless one is a sociopath, no one thinks like that. We sacrifice ourselves for others, even if it is utterly irrational. It is because at the core, we are spiritual beings and at a subconscious level we know we are related. Even if you are an atheists and a materialist, you feel your connectedness to other people and other sentient beings. Intellectually one can be a materialist, but with the exception of sociopaths we all are driven by our spiritual instinct. Some atheists are more spiritual than many religious people. A true Muslim for example is a truly diabolic person. He does no longer qualify as a human. On the other hand many atheists are filled with love for their fellow beings and even animals. Most vegans are atheist. They are so connected with other sentient beings that they can’t bring themselves to destroy them or hurt them just to satisfy their taste buds. This requires a higher level of spiritual awareness. Most religious people are not even aware of it.

The challenges we face in this world are our opportunities to grow spiritually. Winning or losing is not the point. It is the effort that counts. Once we leave this physical world, all our successes and achievements become insignificant. The only thing we take with ourselves is the experience we gained in this world. When you strive to overcome the challenges, you grow spiritually. When you forgive those who hurt you, you grow spiritually. When you sacrifice your comfort to help others, you grow spiritually. It means you gain more consciousness. That is what we are. We are consciousness, having a physical experience.

The essence of all consciousness is the same. In essence, an ant and a human are the same. The difference is in the size of their consciousness. Take the example of knowledge, which is one element of consciousness. The only difference between the knowledge of a first grader and a university professor is in the size of their knowledge. The knowledge of the professor is not of a different kind. It is just bigger. Likewise the consciousness of a human and a cat are essentially the same. The only difference is in the size.

The whole point of coming to this world and experiencing it is to gain more consciousness and grow spiritually. At one point, we will reach a level that a human body will no longer be able to contain us. It will be too limiting for our further evolution. We then may occupy bodies of more evolved species that may exist in other planets or we may no longer need a material body at all. This material world is only one of many dimensions of reality. There are other words made with very different frequencies.

Let me make an example. All colors are the same. The only difference is in their frequency. There are colors that we can’t even see, but a bee can see.  Likewise all realities are made of the same stuff. The reason they can’t interact is because they vibrate at different frequencies.

Once you realize that this world is only a stepping stone and not an end to itself, your whole perspective on life changes. You don’t see sufferings anymore as calamity but as challenges. The goal is to strengthen our spiritual muscles. At the end it makes no difference whether you overcome the challenges or not. What matters is the effort you put into overcoming them and how much spiritual strength you gain by doing so.

What are we here to gain? We are here to gain, love, compassion, sacrifice, caring, chastity, confidence, courage, courtesy, creativity, detachment, diligence, dedication, enthusiasm,  excellence, flexibility, forgiveness, forbearance, friendliness, generosity, gentleness, gratitude, honesty, humor, hopefulness, humility, integrity, joyfulness, justice, kindness, loyalty, mercy, moderation, modesty, patience, perseverance, purity, purposefulness, responsibility, reliability, righteousness, service, sincerity, tactfulness, thankfulness, tolerance, trustworthiness, truthfulness, wisdom and the list goes on. These are spiritual qualities that we can only learn by associating with this world and facing its difficulties.

Far from being a testing ground, as the benighted Arab prophet thought, this world is an opportunity for us to grow. We should be extremely grateful to have this chance. We are lucky, very, very lucky to be here. Some souls wait thousands of years for their turn to come back and complete their evolution. Take advantage of the days or years that are left and develop the above spiritual faculties, because you never know when you’ll get another chance.

My worry is what if in my next visit I don’t learn any of the things I know now. Now I feel lucky because I came to learn the purpose of my life while I am still alive. There is so much to learn and I am no longer in my youths. It is a race against time.

As for your last question about the prayer I will answer it in another article.

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2 Responses

  1. Indian says:

    Upanishad ( Hindu scripture) states :
    As is the human body, so is the cosmic body.
    As is the human mind, so is the cosmic mind.
    As is the microcosm, so is the macrocosm.
    As is the atom, so is the universe.

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