Many of us have heard this since we were kids, heard it from elders and from teachers. Why would suffering make us into better people?
I recently had a visit from a friend who was going through a difficult time, with both a career change and personal problems. Through watching him over the few weeks he was here, I observed that he became deeply involved in the teachings of Buddhism, and absorbed information from a tremendous amount of books, analyzing his condition and thinking about how to change it.
It’s a simple observation: When times are hard, we work to change them. We become more observant, we are more willing to try things to get out of our condition.
When we aren’t suffering, we forget to look around us and find ways to improve our lives, or fix things that are currently wrong.
The lesson from this:
The most important time to think about where we are in our lives is not when our lives are going badly, but when they are going well, because that is the time we are most likely to forget.