Meaning and Suffering

Posted on June 13, 2013

My experiences as a psychotherapist and spiritual counselor have made it evident to me that we all seek to discern a deeper meaning in our human existence by connecting with a higher spiritual sense of life, on personal and collective levels. There are universal questions and concerns that invariably emerge for all of us. Who am I? What is my purpose? What fuels my quest for meaning in life? What makes life meaningful? What meaning does God and faith embody for me?

The late psychoanalyst Carl Jung wrote in his autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections:

“the world into which we are born is brutal and cruel, and at the same time one of divine beauty. Which element we think outweighs the other, whether meaninglessness or meaning, is a matter of temperament. If meaninglessness were absolutely preponderant, the meaningfulness of life would vanish to an increasing degree with each step in our development. But that is- or seems to me- not the case. Probably as in all metaphysical questions, both are true: Life is-or has- meaning and meaninglessness. I cherish the anxious hope that meaning will preponderate and will the battle.”

This is a powerful message to consider as I grapple on a personal level with the meaning of suffering in my life and the lives of those I encounter as a psychotherapist, and simply as a fellow human being.

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Source material from Psychology Tomorrow