Into the Flame – On The Brightside – What is Suffering?

A Recap from our night at Vivo, if you want part 2 live (Why do we suffer?) come along to our next night at Vivo.


We go through life and we find that we get told “The grass will be greener on the other side” but where is this magical other side or brightside? I think all of us at some point have been through a period in our lives where we struggle, that point might be now, it might be later, who knows but it is inevitable that at some point we have to go through suffering. I’m going to show you an interview of a man who has suffered a lot in his life. He is the lead singer from Gang of Youths, also, please note that there is a bit of swearing so if you have an issue with it, feel free to just read the run down.

(For those who want the link it is here –

The Run down: David Le’aupepe is a man who has been through a lot of suffering. He struggled a lot with alcohol, suicide and a failed marriage. He started writing music originally for his wife who was very sick with cancer. He also put his music online and someone found him, making the band a reality. Dave came to a point when his marriage failed and he lost “The Want” (The want to do anything, the want to live) and he was going to commit suicide, but he got a call from his manager who attributes to saving his life who then found him and talked him out of it. He then went into rehab where he met a women who told him “suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem” which he took as, “My life is a temporary problem” which he took a lot of hope in as he thought his life was something to be improved upon. Dave finishes off by describing his career as falling down hard but as he started to get back up, everyone started clapping. pexels-photo-66100

Suffering is something that we humans have to go through, all of us will have to endure suffering during our lives, no matter what we do. Dave, knew this better than most. He was going to commit suicide, he lost his faith, he had alcohol issues. He really was on the end of his rope. Something I wanted to come back to from the video, was when Dave said “suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem”.  The reason I come back to that specifically, is because often times, when we are suffering we don’t realize it is a temporary issue. We can make silly decisions that effect our long term when in reality there are far better solutions. Now, due to the size of this issue, we are not going to be able to cover the idea of suffering in its entirety in one session so we are going back to the basics, what is suffering?

Lets start with what is suffering. We all know what suffering is, we all knows there is different degrees of suffering. If someone is slightly uncomfortable right now in their chair, that can be regarded as a form of suffering. However, if someone just lost a parent yesterday, that is also a form of suffering.

So coming back to it, we all know what suffering is, but how do we quantify it. If a child loses their favourite toy and I accidently drop my burrito as I walk home, who suffers more? I guess you can take in factors like, how long has the child had that toy for, was it and expensive toy OR Was I really hungry, how much do I like burritos. Its hard to compare these things.

Let’s switch it to something more serious. If I lose my father, and so does (point out Ash) Ash, who suffers more? We both have good relationships with our fathers and it would be very hard to see who suffers more. In reality, no one should do this, no one says, oh I suffer more because ect ect. So how can we determine how much we are suffering and how can we express this to others?

What I want you to do, when you can, is to think of a story, a song, a video or something along these lines that expresses your version of suffering to the rest of us. Whether you want the video to relate to a specific experience you had regarding how you suffered, or if you want to find something that relates to your idea of suffering as a whole. Its completely up to you! Suffering is something that is so personal, which means what you find may be completely different to me or anyone else. There is no wrong or right answers, just as long as what you find be a story that relates to you!

The reason I ask you to do this, is to better understand your own suffering. It is a limited way in which we can quantify it enough so we have points of reference in regards to understanding our own suffering. When we suffer, we instantly want to escape that, its a survival instinct. Sometimes this is the right thing to do, if we are being attacked, we want to run away, this is what we should do! However, if we are suffering because of some emotional issue, sometimes the healthiest thing to do is to meet it head on and combat it. But before we combat it, it might be a good idea for us to understand what we are up against. We do this because maybe its an issue we cant face on our own, we might need outside help, but either way, we should try to understand it as well as we can.

I wanna go back to Dave, the lead singer for Gang Of Youths. After all he has been through, he wrote a song about life and suffering and I want to share with you the song and in particular the end of the song.

Say yes to sun! Say yes to pain!
Say yes to sticking with a city through a thousand days of rain!
Say yes to grace! Say no to spite!
Say yes to this! Say yes to you!
Say yes to me! Say yes to love!
Say yes to life!
Say, say yes to life!

(For those who want to listen to the song in its entireity, here is the link - – Please note that there is swearing in the song)

Now the reason I picked that song was because he talks about all the hard things he has to go through. We all need to go through hard things in life, it is unfortunately a fundamental fact of life. In life we say yes to Love and no to spite, but in doing this we have to say yes to sticking with a city through a thousand day of rain. Because in the end if we say yes to life we are also unfortunately saying yes to pain.

Thanks to everyone who came and shared so powerfully, great stuff!  I would also like to thank Youcat as well as the formation I received from the Passionist Youth Retreat Team which helped me crack open this big question.


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