Resolution #9 – Make Use of Your Suffering

Following up on my earlier post about 16 resolutions, or thoughts to live by, inspired by this article at Brainpickings.org. Here is the ninth by Simone Weil, a 1942 entry from her book First and Last Notebooks.

The way to make use of physical pain. When suffering no matter what degree of pain, when almost the entire soul is inwardly crying “Make it stop, I can bear no more,” a part of the soul, even though it be an infinitesimally small part, should say: “I consent that this should continue throughout the whole of time, if the divine wisdom so ordains.” The soul is then split in two. For the physically sentient part of the soul is — at least sometimes — unable to consent to pain. This splitting in two of the soul is a second pain, a spiritual one, and even sharper than the physical pain that causes it.

A similar use can be made of hunger, fatigue, fear, and of everything that imperatively constrains the sentient part of the soul to cry: I can bear no more! Make it stop! There should be something in us that answers: I consent that it should continue up to the moment of death, or that it should not even finish then, but continue for ever. Then it is that the soul is as if divided by a two-edged sword.

To make use in this way of the sufferings that chance inflicts upon us is better than inflicting discipline upon oneself.

Of course no one wants hard times and suffering, but I think we grow the most during the hard times. It helps us learn compassion, understanding, and we can try to practice maintaining our inner peace in the face of storms. If we can embrace the positive side of pain we will suffer less and gain more than if we fight against it.

What is that saying? Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional? I think that is where she is going with this.

Simone Weil (February 3, 1909–August 24, 1943)

simoneweil4

Simone Weil was born in Paris, and she was a teacher and political activist. There is more information about here in this Wikipedia article.

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About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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8 Responses to Resolution #9 – Make Use of Your Suffering

  1. Yes, this is intriguing … going with the flow ~ even if that flow be pain …

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    • I think a lot of pain comes from resisting and fighting against what is happening, so if we can work with it instead, it will be better for us. But, certainly much easier said than done!

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  2. John R Garland says:

    Love your posts about living in Panama.
    The other stuff, resolutions etc, not so much.
    The net is full of that stuff, really just want to hear more about living in Panama, good, bad and ugly.
    Thanks,
    John and Teresa

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    • I went in a different direction this year. I was trying to post what would be useful to the point it was feeling like a job, and I don’t want a job at this point in my life. I decided to post about whatever interests me instead and now I’m enjoying my blog a lot more. Feel free to click on by anything that doesn’t interest you, or read back through the 800+ posts I have written in the past.

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      • John R Garland says:

        Kris,
        Love your Panama information and experiences living there.
        Like I am vicariously living there through your eyes.

        What makes me lose interest, when a blogger gets sidetracked and starts inserting other materials. Have quit looking at lot of sites because of that.
        It is not just you, lot of sites lose sight of what they started out doing and morph into something else.
        The worst is when they start trying to sell something.
        Why have stopped looking at International Living info.
        Still read magazine, just ignore their emails.
        Took me long time to figure out they are selling seminars and then steer people to properties
        they have vested interest in. That to me is deceitful at the very least.
        Take my advice with grain of salt, sure there are thousands of people who enjoy what ever you post.
        Just think you shine when discussing what is happening where you live.
        I am 72, retired from State of Alaska and still have a very busy life as a Airbnb super host and so have to manage my time very wisely. Why have only handful of sites that I even have time to look at.
        Warm regards,
        John R

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        • No problem. We all do what works best for us. Don’t worry though, I won’t be selling anything. Yes it is true that International Living is a business so anything from them should be taken with that in mind. I probably won’t be posting much at all in the next few months since I’m about to take off on an extended bicycle trip but I will be back eventually.

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  3. Sunni Morris says:

    Kris,

    Writing about what interests you should come first. That’s why we have blogs. It is a job when you have to post within a certain subject area. Sometimes we’re not feeling it and there’s no article to write right then. I do understand. I find it all interesting.

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