Some spiritual traditions view suffering as a test of will power and discipline — they speak of the path, the mission, initiation, facing the shadow, calling upon the inner warrior. In legends of icons from Jesus to Jim Morrison, the seeker confronts inner demons on vision quests in the vast desert or wilderness.
Karmic lessons are to be learned so that we can evolve to a higher level. Trials wear us down so we can hear the call of “soul” and begin our journey to Godhead or liberation. The dark night of the soul is said to be the precursor to the clarion call toward awakening. A bodhisattva is an enlightened being who chooses to postpone liberation to serve others, seen as the ultimate sacrifice.