Many people right now are suffering. We often view suffering as a negative — a “bad” thing. But what if it serves a noble purpose?
Thich Nhat Hanh, the Buddhist monk and peace activist, teaches that it’s naive to want to live in a world without suffering. Our suffering is what teaches us compassion and understanding. Without compassion and understanding, we can’t love.
So suffering is necessary for love.
Hanh says that community is essential, so people can hold compassion for you when your practice isn’t yet strong enough.
He offers a metaphor about pebbles in the lake:
If you throw a pebble into the lake, it will sink. But if you have a boat, you can take a lot of pebbles on the lake and they won’t sink.
The Sangha, or community, is the boat. It can help you carry your suffering.