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04/02/2014 07:31 am ET | Updated Apr 02, 2014

Gary Zukav, 'The Seat Of The Soul' Author, Explains The Big Difference Between Pain And Suffering (VIDEO)

"What is the purpose of suffering?"

This is the question Oprah poses to spiritual teacher and The Seat of the Soul author Gary Zukav when the two sit down for a revealing conversation on an episode of "Super Soul Sunday."

Before answering, Zukav says we must first understand what suffering actually is. Many people may describe suffering as experiencing pain, but Zukav says this isn't entirely accurate.

"Pain is... 'She left me,'" he tells Oprah. "'My child has got cancer.' That's pain."

Suffering, while related to pain, has an important distinction.

"Pain for a worthy purpose is suffering," Zukav says. "So if you know your pain serves a purpose -- and that purpose is your spiritual growth -- that's suffering."

For examples, Zukav focuses on experiences that reside deep within the soul. "That's feeling the part of your personality that doesn't trust the universe. That's feeling the part of your personality that doesn't feel worthy. That's feeling the part of your personality that must have something or someone else in order to be valuable enough to be alive in the earth," he says. "Having the courage to do that... and to not act on it, that's suffering."

"Super Soul Sunday" airs Sundays at 11 a.m. ET on OWN.

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