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 Spiritual > Yogananda

The Right Attitude Toward Suffering

By Paramahansa Yogananda

             There are two kinds of seekers: those who are like the baby monkey and those who are like the kitten. The baby monkey clings to the mother; but when she jumps, it may fall off. The little kitten s carried about by the mother cat, content wherever she places it. The kitten has complete trust in its mother. I am more like that; I give all responsibility to the Divine Mother. But to maintain that attitude takes great will. Under all circumstances—health or sickness, riches or poverty, sunshine or gray clouds—your feeling must remain unruffled. Even when you are in the coal bin of suffering you don’t wonder why the Mother placed you there. You have faith that She knows best. Sometimes and apparent disaster turns into a blessing for you.

             When the Golden Lotus Temple went,* I at first thought it was a terrible catastrophe; but it turned out otherwise, because it made me go on to found other temples and ashram centers.

             Gloom is but the shade of Divine Mother’s hand outstretched caressingly. Don’t forget that. Sometimes, when the Mother is going to caress you, a shadow is caused by her Hand before it touches you. So when trouble comes, don’t think that She is punishing you; Her hand overshadowing you holds some blessing as it reaches out to bring you nearer to Her.

             Suffering is a good teacher to those who are quick and willing to learn from it. But it becomes a tyrant to those who resist and resent. Suffering can teach us almost everything. Its lessons urge us to develop discrimination, self-control, non-attachment, morality, and transcendent spiritual consciousness. For example, a stomachache tells us not to eat too much and to watch what we eat. The pain from loss of possessions or loved ones reminds us of the temporal nature of all things in this world of delusion. The consequences of wrong actions impel us to exercise discrimination. Why not learn through wisdom? Then you won’t subject yourself to unnecessary painful discipline from the hard taskmaster of suffering.

* The first Self-Realization Fellowship Temple, dedicated in 1938 on the grounds of the SRF Hermitage in Encinitas, was on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This temple was lost to the gradual erosion of the shoreline; it was later replaced by another SRF temple in Encinitas.