Why Do Bad Things Happen?

Looking at the reasons for suffering from a spiritual perspective.

Why do bad things happen?
Wondering why bad things happen is something that most people have pondered. Life is full of both bad and good experiences. But what's the point of the suffering and hurt caused by bad experiences? Why is it that, even if you strive to be a good person, bad things still befall you? Why would a loving creator allow people to suffer? Of course, like most philosophical questions, this has no definitive answer, but, looking at the question in a spiritual way provides some explanations.
The 'bad things' that befall you can vary greatly in seriousness. At the less drastic end of the spectrum are: your car breaking down, small DIY mishap, falling out with a friend, relationship problems. More serious: losing your job, divorce, serious money problems, an accident, an illness, being the victim of crime. To the extreme: war, famine, natural disasters, death. No matter how great or small the bad event is, it can still result in the feeling that life is not going well, or that life is unfair.
At the worst end of the scale, the bad things affect large numbers of people at the same time (war, famine, natural disasters), while the rest are concerned with personal tragedies (accident, illness). To understand why these bad things happen, you need to look at the causes. People have free will to make their own choices. Unfortunately this means that bad choices will sometimes be made and that these bad choices can affect not just the person making the decision but other people, too. So if you are sending a text message while driving, causing you to lose concentration and hit a tree, the damage to your vehicle, and possibly yourself, is caused by your bad choice. However if you hit another person through your carelessness, then your free will bad choice has lead to their suffering. This seems unfair. But it is the price of having free will and choice.
Minimise your risk
Although the actions of other people are beyond your control, there are certain steps you can take to avoid bad situations.
Be Aware
Being mindful of your actions is essential to avoid rushing into making bad choices. Stop and pause to consider whether what you are about to do might harm you or others. Never act thoughtlessly. Be aware of those around you; don't assume that they will act with care. Be prepared, as much as you can, to avoid bad situations.
Take Responsibility
Your choices will affect your future and those of other people. Don't be passive; act! If change needs to be made, do it now. The present is the most important time.
Think positive
Don't live your life in the fear that something bad might happen. Positivity attracts good things. Live with optimism. Many of the smaller mishaps should be put into perspective - cars can be fixed, friendships mended or new ones formed. If you don't allow small mishaps to drag you down, then it will feel as if you are living a happier life - and this will become your reality.
Release righteous anger
If the worst happens and you suffer a serious loss, go through the grieving process and do whatever you can to make it right and seek justice. But for the sake of your physical, mental and spiritual health, you must let go of the corrosive sense of being wronged. Either your choice, someone else's choice, chance, or a combination of the three have brought you to this point, but if you remain stuck in your grief, anger and helplessness you will wither. It's one of the most difficult things in life to be able to move on from a personal tragedy. It is a huge soul lesson.
Why me?
All actions have consequences. Karma is the spiritual notion that you reap what you sow. Karma is nothing to do with retribution, it is merely the consequence of your action. Often, if you're really honest with yourself, bad things are precipitated by your own carelessness, bad behaviour or bad choices. It's harsh, but facing up to this lesson is essential if you are to grow spiritually and not become stuck in anger.
Another idea worth considering is: what type of things do you consider to be 'bad' and 'good'? If your idea of 'bad things happening to you' is being unable to have all the material things you desire, then you'll probably never feel like life is good enough.
However, there are clearly certain cases when you are not responsible for the bad event and you are a victim of other people's bad choices or chance. In these cases, people suffer through no fault if their own, and this is hard to understand.
In wider spiritual terms, tragedies can eventually be seen a lesson for the future, so past mistakes are never repeated. The horror that most people feel on seeing innocent people suffer often spurs them on, into action against the negative forces. So good eventually comes from bad.
On a personal level, it's your reaction to bad things that matters. If you move past the bad event - eventually - then you will come out the other side stronger, with new knowledge and having matured spiritually.
On a lighter note, things that initially seem to be bad, such as being made redundant, can turn out to have a silver lining, if you seize the opportunity rather than wallowing in self pity. Think of bad events like this as a literal push to change from the universe and use the enforced change to create the career of your dreams.


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