A reassuring truth for me to remember today is that suffering can bring blessings. In fact, suffering may be the fastest way for me to learn, or re-learn, the fundamental facts about reality. I often get disoriented, for days and weeks, inside the nightmare that life is a material phenomenon, filled with endless mishaps and disasters, and suffering can awaken me to the simple truth that all reality, including all power, is mental, or spiritual -- a friendly and always supportive dance. Suffering is like a noisy but useful signal that helps me rouse myself and turn away from materialism toward an awareness of the compassionate and helpful nature of the universe. Jesus understood this. When he was preparing himself for the suffering he was going to experience during the crucifixion, one of the first things he did was give thanks to this large and lavish universe that he was part of. I can imagine him, in the midst of his fears, quietly remembering that, no matter what happens, spiritual power (which some people refer to as “God”), manifested in qualities like love, kindness, patience, and courage, has no limit and no opposition, and that it will ultimately be victorious. I can imagine a refreshing, reviving peacefulness filling his heart. No doubt it’s strange to think of being thankful for suffering. Most of us want to avoid it at all costs, and we flee from it at first notice. Perhaps, though, it can be different for me today. Perhaps I can keep in mind that suffering is, surprisingly enough, an openhanded gift from the universe – a gift to remind me that all is spiritual, and all is always well.