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Suffering destroy every sense of false security. It makes us aware of our vulnerability and helplessness, of how fragile life is, how easily it can be damaged or lost. Suffering has a confrontational and questioning character. It brings us into stark reality of the immediate moment. Standing naked and exposed, our ordinary defenses and securities stripped from us, we can become aware of being addresses by our own consciences. By cornering us, suffering challenges us with choice. We fall into states of deep depression, despair or apathy and indifference or become bitter or angry. But we can progress beyond the initial extremely painful aspects of suffering. This very point of vulnerability or exposure, the uncanny awareness of being in the presence of something larger than ourselves, can also, if we persevere in our struggle to find the meaning of our suffering, cause us to move beyond our suffering to a discovery of meaning. The search for meaning is a spiritual quest. The quest leads us outside the circle of narrow self-concern, thereby enlarging and enriching us, giving us a sense of direction towards a future that we feel is awaiting us. To discover the meaning of suffering, is to overcome the hurdle of fear. The fear of the unknown.

(Parts taken from Frankl, V: Man search for Meaning, 1967)

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