A few years ago one of my dear friends His Holiness Sridhar Swami Maharaj departed from this world. He had a very, very difficult disease, and physically he suffered for many years. But do you know his name amongst those who knew him closely?—the Jolly Swami. He was always laughing. He was always making everyone happy. This is positive attitude.
He told me on many occasions, “Pain may be inevitable but suffering is optional.” It is our free choice, whether we want to suffer or not, though the experience of pain may not be a choice. Even though physically the pain might be hurting, we can find deep fulfillment in the gratitude of having been purified, or we can simply suffer. Everything is a matter of choice—what our mood is and how we are going to interpret a particular situation.
By Radhanath Swami