Psalm 41

“You have wholly transformed his bed of suffering.” (41:4)

There is a difference between emotional or physical pain and suffering. Suffering entails pain, but not all pain needs to be understood as suffering. Pain has a physical or emotional cause. Suffering is a particular interpretation of pain. We suffer when we decide that the pain is unjust. Complaining magnifies pain into suffering, as does blaming and anger. As a rule, negative emotions magnify suffering, and positive emotions, especially laughter, reduce suffering. Quieting one’s breath through prayer or meditation, a form of embracing the pain rather than fighting with it, can also transform and reduce suffering.

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