There is a saying by Situ Rinpoche “Suffering is the broom that sweeps away the cause of suffering”. One might ask, define suffering first. I experience suffering as ignorance or lack of awareness, everytime I don’t have enough space to see things for what they are. For example, if I don’t hear from a friend for a long time I start projecting my own insecurity and thinking “oh, I might have said something to offend them last time we met” or “oh, they don’t like me anymore” and perhaps keep going to “they weren’t good friends any way” and so on and so forth creating a whole suffering that is my inability to see things for what they are – I haven’t heard from a friend for a while end of story. If I could do that there will be no suffering. But since I can’t do that at this point in my evolution suffering is the broom that allows me to see what I am doing to myself, because lets face it – it’s painful after a while to keep doing the same thing and get the same result… (some call it maddening or insanity). Over time though, enough awareness is cultivated to sweep away the cause of suffering. Going back to the example with the friend I lost touch with “I haven’t heard from my friend for a while, let me give her a call”.
We do have to realize we are suffering first, and this is where the practice of meditation comes real handy creating enough space for us to see things for what they are. So you can say that the practice of meditation is handing us the broom to do the much needed sweeping :)