So basically, @derek-whitney, you asked if there is any purpose to suffering, and Deepak answered that suffering comes from not knowing our true nature.
I guess we all ask ourselves what the purpose of pain is whenever we encounter it. “Why oh why??” is a question I too have asked many times. I used to try to construct a meaning for any painful situation I found myself in, until I realized that any situation is a reflection of a state of consciousness. So instead of trying to create a positive story about the pain, excuse and give meaning to the pain so to say… I let go of all that and simply went deeper, to the pure consciousness having the experience. In that deepening of awareness, the painful experience showed itself as what it was- an experience that has arisen out of unconscious mental habits. With awareness, one easily lets go of the experience and that habitual choice is dissolved, allowing much more rewarding experiences.
When it comes to collective experience of pain and suffering, as I see it, the same mechanism applies. So let’s continue to deepen the awareness of the real self, beyond all people, stories and constructs!