As the fifth month of 2021 draws to a close, isn’t is surprising, so much has already happened in the year, which was supposed to be the Comeback year for Life on Earth? We all had badmouthed 2020 for having been the year of doom:

  • jokes floated of how people with great plans for 2020 had seen them disappear into thin air;
  • how India got praised for the ‘strictest ever lockdown’ imposed anywhere in history;
  • We watched videos of major cities globally, dead quiet, streets deserted and all praying silently for the virus to go away;
  • We saw how healthcare workers worked hard to help hundreds, no thousands of patients fighting the deadly virus;
  • We were told how fortunate we were, to have a shelter on our head, a plate of food on the table, a digital device to keep us entertained and connected with the world and the fact that we should just be happy about that and not demand much more from life.

And then, as 2020 came to an end, we had started living normally, we were travelling, both for work and leisure, frequenting restaurants, partying, etc, it was just like we had left Corona behind us. And then came 2021.

There are many who don’t wish to sleep for fear of nightmares.

Sadly, there are many who don’t wish to wake for the same fear.
― Richelle Goodrich

2021 came with so much of hope, positivity and the expectations that we will live a normal year. But it was not to be and we got to now experience this, the more sinister and real face of the pandemic. 

At a time when we are seeing so many people go through such tough times, losing lives, facing challenges for something as basic as Oxygen, its but natural to feel pain. Pain is inevitable. As long as there is life on Earth, there will be pain. One cannot shy away from it, wish as we may. Without pain, we do not know the true meaning of happiness. But just because we get pain, do we really need to endure suffering? No, that, is optional.

He who fears he shall suffer, already suffers what he fears.
― Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

The biggest suffering one endures is of what may happen. The fear of death is far more painful than death itself. And by harbouring various versions of that fear within us, we just prolong our misery.

Richard Dawkins, the famous author wrote a great piece on suffering in his book, River Out of Eden:

The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so.

If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.

Now this article is not meant to add further misery in your life. Its to give you HOPE, it’s to make you aware that suffering is OPTIONAL. One can endure pain, and still not suffer, yes, its possible.

As runners and as an athlete, we follow a very common mantra:

No Pain: No Gain.

So just like the famous Mountain Dew advertisement puts it so nicely : Darr Ke Aagey Jeet hain. 

Once you conquer fear, once you decide to gain the ‘experience’ then you are wiser than people who did not even try. You go up several notches in maturity. And suffering as a word is far more sinister than the experience of enduring pain. Once you go into a task with the expectation that there will be pain, you would not even realise that there is anything called suffering.

Sometimes we must undergo hardships, breakups, and narcissistic wounds, which shatter the flattering image that we had of ourselves, in order to discover two truths: that we are not who we thought we were; and that the loss of a cherished pleasure is not necessarily the loss of true happiness and well-being. 
― Jean-Yves Leloup

So go on and embrace pain and detach the suffering. Look at the positives of what a painful experience does to you. What it teaches you, how it makes you stronger. And marvel at what is in store at the end of it all. Its joy, peace and happiness.

Have a Wonderful Day, Awesome Week and a Fantastic Year ahead.