This episode of The Daily Evolver focuses on the deep and difficult topic of suffering. When looking at the world through an Integral evolutionary lens, we cannot ignore the immensity of pain and suffering that exists today, regardless of whether or not we believe things are getting better. While integral awareness allows us more space and perspective than ever to experience the fullness of this suffering within our own hearts, it also offers us the contemplative skills to free ourselves from its grasp. “Hurts more, bothers you less,” as Ken Wilber would say. But of course, that freedom we discover is not a means to escape suffering, but rather gives us the courage and equanimity to face it head on, the empathy to feel that as if it were our own, and the tenacity to do whatever it takes to eradicate it from our world.

From the East we see these teachings, that suffering is pain attended by resistance, basically; that there’s no pain-free option in life. We lose everything in the end, you know…our last breath…we lose everything.

Jeff and David discuss the nature of suffering from an Integral view, and explore the variety of actions that are available to us if we decide to get more involved. It’s true that we believe that the amount of suffering in the world seems to be lessening as evolution continues to slowly push humanity through higher and higher levels of development. But what do we say when we see a story in the New York Times about two small children starving in Sudan? Or when we see horrifying images of hundreds of houses burning in Colorado Springs? What is our response?

There actually may be a shift at second tier where we don’t need suffering as much in order to continue to evolve….it’s like in business we talk about creative destruction, where people go in and actually mess with what’s working so that they can make it work better.

Jeff and David talk in detail the concept of becoming more aware of evolution’s path as a way of relieving our anxiety and self-contraction, and how this can actually help show us the way to take compassionate action. Finally, we take the “death” test–what would you be willing to give your life for? How does this practice help us determine the level to which we can face the countless injustices in the world? Listen to find out!


Listen to an excerpt below. The full audio is here on