The following VISUAL ANALOGY is an addendum to two articles that I recently published on Meridian: “Do You Still Need to Suffer?”  and “How to Lift Ourselves above Suffering.”

IMAGINE – You are in a dark room where the only thing in the room is a burning candle.   It commands your complete attention.


The room represents YOU! The candle represents your suffering! Notice how you don’t see anything else BUT the suffering. That is because it has captivated your mind, and you give it your FULL attention.

At this time walk over to a window, and “open” the curtains, allowing the bright afternoon sunlight to illuminate the room. Now there is so much more to see and experience. The candle is still burning (the pain or problem is still there), but the focus at this moment is on other things. In this setting, the suffering is hardly even noticed.


This analogy represents how we can live ABOVE suffering. It’s simply a matter of focus.

When we increase the positive stimuli in our minds, we lose the vice grip that pain and suffering have on us, because the spotlight is taken off.

The question then begs asking: “How can I open the curtains in my room?”

How to “Open the Curtains”

  1. Observe Your Emotions and – REMEMBER To Choose Joy

Generally, in the dark room of suffering, things seem pretty dismal. Dark emotions overcome you.   Notice them. Label them.   For example, “I’m feeling overwhelmed,” “I feel rejected!” “I’m feeling annoyed!”   Become an observer of all that you feel. When you become an objective witness of your behavior, you begin to see yourself more clearly.

Observe that strong negative emotion often accompanies physical pain or discomfort, such as anger, discouragement, heartbreak, or frustration etc. Be aware of these depressing sentiments. Notice that you’re NOT feeling the spirit! It’s important to note that the spirit leaves when you focus on the “burning candle.”

This emotional state you create for yourself is simply the reaction to your experience; it is NOT WHO YOU ARE! It is actually possible to use these feelings as tools to let in light. Once you pinpoint what emotion or physical sensation you are feeling, you can use it as a REMINDER each time you feel it, to choose joy and light instead.

  1. FEEL Grateful For The Problem

The most profound shifts in your being occur when you can get to the point where you can be thankful for the problems or trials you are experiencing. Thank the Lord for your “candle” and the opportunity for growth. When you can come to a space where you FEEL grateful, the curtains automatically begin to open!

Once you are grateful for this problem or trial, it loses its power to drag you down. It puts you in a place where you can feel the healing and joy of God’s presence.

  1. Rethink Your Future – Let The SON In

The thing that turns almost all pain into suffering is our interpretation of what the future holds for us. “What will happen to me?” “I’ll never make it through this!” “I can’t do this anymore!” or we imagine what our future will look like with the aftermath of today’s feelings. These thoughts always produce negative feelings which exponentially exacerbate the problem.

When you find yourself pessimistically projecting yourself in the future, IMAGINE – that the Savior walks into your room.  The curtains open wide when you feel the SON! “And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings.” (D & C 88:11) He will give you the knowledge you need to make it through. He will give you joy!   He is the light of the world!  When you think of the future, always include the Lord in your projection. If He is with you, everything will be ok,- no matter what happens!

Triumph Over Suffering

When we begin to focus on the beauty and light around us instead of just the “burning candle” of our pain, suddenly our “candle” becomes much less of an issue. It is still burning, but it doesn’t have the sting that it had before.   We can learn to let go of the negative feelings and use them to remind us to be thankful. When we are passionately grateful for the opportunity to expand through experiencing the many facets of pain, we begin to feel the presence of the Lord and by so doing can have the blessing to live ABOVE suffering.

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