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Forum – “Approaches to Suffering” Humanist Association of Toronto

The Humanist Association of Toronto

Every Saturday we meet to discuss a topic decided upon the previous week. These are topics of humanist interest, from a humanist perspective.

This week’s topic is “Approaches to Suffering”
Below is a series of quotations on suffering for us to contemplate and consider. The source of each has been footnoted below.
The fuller writeup is available at:

“Suffering is the reaction of the mind to conditions in the body and the outside world” [1]

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” [2]

“Pain is a relatively objective, physical phenomenon; suffering is our psychological resistance to what happens. Events may create physical pain, but they do not in themselves create suffering. Resistance creates suffering. Stress happens when your mind resists what is… The only problem in your life is your mind’s resistance to life as it unfolds. ” [3]

“We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it to the full.” [4]

“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.” [5]

“Most of your suffering is self-created. It is created out of resistance to what is. It is created from an interpretation of what is. It comes from a thought – an interpretation – not from the situation. [6]

“Suffering can become a huge motivating force for change.” [7]

“In intense suffering the world disappears and each of us is alone with his self. Suffering is the university of egocentrism.” [8] [1]― Yuval Noah Harari
[2]― anonymous
[3]― Dan Millman
[4]― Marcel Proust
[5]― Albert Schweitzer
[6]― Eckhart Tolle
[7]― Eckhart Tolle
[8]― Milan Kundera, Immortality

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