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  • Writer's picturePaper Paladin

Why Worldview Matters with Suffering

Worldview is the way we make sense of the world that we see and interact with every day.

When we hold our physical reality paramount, suffering is only a physical problem to solve.

My worldview is that humans are more than just a physical body. We are also mind and soul.

The Swiss-American psychiatrist, Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, in her book On Death and Dying (which was based on several years experience with terminally ill patients), observed that grief could be broken into 5 stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

When suffering enters our lives, we’re acutely aware of the reality that we’re more than just a physical body. We feel anger, frustration, and sadness just as Kübler-Ross documented. As I mentioned in an earlier post, it is these crisis moments that have us internally or externally crying out "Why?"

The emotional and spiritual realities to suffering are as important as the physical. We need to be acknowledging our fears and feelings, not relegating them to some lesser reality.

David Kessler has continued Elizabeth Kübler-Ross' research and has documented a 6th stage of grief: finding meaning.

A worldview that holds physical, emotional and spiritual realities together is compassionate. It makes time and space for feelings, for exploring fears, and through these finds meaning in the journey of suffering.

And what about you?

In your daily life, do you:

1. Focus on solving physical problems (resisting the suffering or trying to manage it), or

2. Surrender to the process of how the suffering can work on you?

Various people in my life have been admonishing me to be more aware. So, I will pass along the same admonishment to you: notice, notice, notice.

Take time during your day to notice your reactions to simple discomforts like having to wait in line or not having a chance to speak. What do you notice when others experience these same unwanted sufferings?

Can you sense or feel the resistance in those moments?

When do you feel surrender or peace?

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