The Seduction of Suffering

03/04/2014 06:06pm ET | Updated May 4, 2014
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The seduction of suffering.

As human beings we subscribe to this myth.

A lot.

That if we aren't suffering in our work, in our lives -- pulling out our hair, crying over things, gnashing our teeth, throwing hissy fits, being well, dramatic -- then we aren't growing. We aren't learning.

But what if the greatest kind of learning didn't come from self-imposed suffering?

What if it instead were understood from a completely different (and more truthful) paradigm?

The truth of great learning and creativity and discovery coincides with the great truths of who we all are.

The true nature of who we all are is infinite. All-knowing. Inexhaustibly creative. Dynamic. Joyful. Playful. Adventure-seeking. Perfection.

But we're generally unable to access these truths in our artistic work and in our lives because our self-prescribed dramatic interpretation of things gets in the way of a deeper learning trying to emerge and show us the way.

Suffering, for sure, is a part of life. As Joseph Campbell says, "Nowhere are you going to be rid of suffering on this planet." But he also talks about embracing the experience of being alive.

Instead of creating drama around that which we don't know yet, or that which we haven't yet accomplished, or that which we still must learn -- what if you instead celebrated the experience of where you are?

Embraced the experience of something new? Embraced the experience of the challenge?

Embraced the experience of having fun? Embraced the experience of letting go of old paradigms?

What would our lives look like if we truly began to learn from this new perspective?

We get so caught up with the end result, the finish line, the product -- that we lose sight that the experience in life is what we're after.

Not the gold medal. Not first place.

While watching the 2014 Sochi Olympics I was reminded of something that four-time Olympic gold medalist, Missy Franklin, had to say about the experience after completing a historic double (200-meter freestyle semi-finals and the 100-meter back finals) in the 2012 London Olympic games.

"I knew tonight was definitely going to be difficult with that double but I had a blast with it. It was so much fun. It was definitely an experience!"

No suffering there.

The experience is what we're after.

Go for that.

And the gold medal will come.