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Sunday, December 29, 2013

How to cope with suffering?

This post is a continuation of my previous two posts : How am I coping ? and Spirituality of suffering

Where does suffering arise from? Happiness or suffering are emotions which arise from within us, from our brain. They are not external forces which are beyond our control like earth quakes or tsunami; they arise out of our thought process. Hence we have the capability to change how we think about a particular situation to avert suffering.  For example, after a long struggle of infertility treatments , I finally conceived. I carried my most precious little ones for 5 months , with so many dreams and expectations. As we are thinking that finally everything is now falling in place, we lost them to an incompetent cervix at 5 months. Now I have two ways to respond. I can tell myself, ‘this is the end of all your efforts; you will never have a baby. You are getting old and all your struggles are for nothing. You are so unlucky and you must stop thinking about a baby and get on with your life. You must have done something very wrong to endure this pain. Look around you, there are so many fertile women who have their baby without any problem, you are defective. Maybe you are not destined to have a baby. Even if you put in more efforts to have a baby , what is the guarantee that you will be successful?’ I can keep on thinking like this. Every such thought has the ability to cause enormous suffering. 

On the other hand I can choose to respond like this too, ‘What happened to you is of course very unfair and painful. You must accept the fact that life is unfair. You have fought bravely against infertility and you deserve a little one in your life. You will be a wonderful mother. You must do everything in your power to make your dreams come true. You just need to put in a little more effort. You are not alone, there are so many women who are going through what you go through and the wisest and most resilient ones do reach their dreams. Once you have your little one , all this pain will vanish. This struggle has helped you to shape yourself into a better human. It has helped you to appreciate your blessings in life. You must work patiently and bravely to bring your dreams to fruition. You must remember that there are still many ways to have a little one in your life’. This kind of positive, hopeful thinking will help to deal crisis in life a better way. It doesn’t matter what happens to us , but how we think about what happened to us matters a lot.

Even during most difficult times in life, even if we lose everything (nothing in life is permanent), the only ability which we will have our hands is to decide how to respond to a particular situation (nothing can take away that ability from us). We can become bitter, frustrated and depressed or we can become better, brave and more humane. Suffering doesn't have any meaning by itself but as humans we have the ability to make our suffering meaningful.

Desire is not the root cause of suffering. Desire is the driving force for life. Without desires life would become extinct. Desires are what gives meaning to our life. Suffering can’t be eradicated; suffering is a part and parcel of any life , just like happiness is. If happiness gives us the courage to thrive, suffering gives us the ability to accept our happiness more gracefully. Suffering is the inability to accept things as they are; suffering happens when we want things to be different than what they really are. If we are able to train our mind to accept things as they are, rather than what we wish them to be , then one can successfully reduce suffering. This kind of ‘letting go’ or ‘acceptance’ comes when the mind is adequately trained. Many religions insist on the importance of training our mind via meditation and mindful living so that suffering can be minimized.

Friends, as you can see , I am trying my level best to transcend the suffering which I am going through. I am learning how to deal with life crises. Of course it is not easy. I am having bouts of depression. I sometimes wish there was a magical wand which could bring back my little ones (my mind still craves for a different outcome). On the other hand , this experience has changed my views about life enormously. I appreciate all my blessings in life even more. I have understood the importance of a calm and concentrated mind, a mind which is indifferent to the fruits of action. I am planning to learn some meditation techniques and yoga. I am very proud of myself and my DH; we handled this difficult time pretty well. I am very, very thankful to everyone who helped me with their kind and encouraging words. We are thinking about our next course of action. We have also decided to take a break from our routine and spend some time with our loved ones. We are in the process of healing, it does take time. I wish to write a lot again and have more experiences to share. I wish you all a very happy and blessed 2014!


  1. Hi Manju,
    I cried a lot during this festive period probably because I was supposed to celebrate it with my baby in my womb. A sudden feeling of emptiness enveloped me yesterday-[I would have been 10weeks pregnant] and I bursted into tears. I couldn't believe it. I'm still recovering from the miscarriage I had 3 weeks ago,I was thinking I've recovered.
    So many thoughts still on my mind but as you said, it can make you as well to count your blessings. The bid to have kids is so glaring for all to see and know indeed that these ones are looking for it but there are other things we have which others don't have and they're dying to have it.
    My Dear Manju you're not alone. Healing will definitely come soonest. It hurts and it's only people in our shoes that will realy undertand what we are passing through.
    2014 is a blessing from God. Enjoy every bit of it and be rest assured that we'll tell the stories one day.
    Love you loads and Happy New Year to you and your Dear Husband.

  2. Happy to find you back online, dear Manju! Lots of best wishes to you for the new year.

  3. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and good wishes for the new year despite your pain. Your strength and attitude towards suffering is very inspiring. My mum also finds meditation and yoga helpful for overcoming depression.

  4. Manju, i pray to GOD for you and your DH to come out of this soon...take care of yourself and him...Really proud that you are continuing to write and keeping yourself occupied....whichever keeps you active, continue to do that...

    my wishes to both of you for good things to happen this year.....


  5. Dear Manju,

    Wish you peace and happiness this year...

    take care,

  6. Hi manju,
    Hope u r doing ok. Hugs


    1. Celia, I am fine. Thank you ! I'm in India on a break. The sun and the presence of loved ones have eased the pain a lot. Thanks a lot for checking in !


  7. Hello Manju, I still think about you quite often and, recently, even more so. It seems our trajectories have been so similar in the past, so much so that I was fearing that our recent IVF pregnancy might tumble into the same pitfalls as yours. Sadly, a few days ago, it did. Our little girl was born at 24 weeks, just barely into viability, and she's struggling in the NICU.

    I remember you once told me I should start a blog and I didn't see how I could find enough thoughts or words for it. Now, they are spilling out like a fountain, so I started one after all.

    Maybe its not the kind of thing you should be reading right now, but if you would like, it is here:

    1. Dana, my love to Ellie, the little warrior. She will survive all the odds. We will be praying for her. I could understand what you both will be going through as parents. Stay strong. One day Ellie will read the letters you are writing for her. She will be really proud of her parents.

      No, our stories will not be similar, you will see her grow up healthy and strong in front of your eyes. You will.




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