Part two of today’s musings, breaking down Kahlil Gibran’s passage about Pain.
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.
This first part, in contemplation, is talking about how pain brings understanding, acceptance, and joy. Without pain, we would never grow, learn, or move forward. The last part of this passage strikes me hard even as I read it now…if we could merely remember that every day is a miracle we would accept the pain that comes from life because we know that joy must come at some point. But it is the most difficult thing to “watch with serenity through the winters of your grief”.
Much of your pain is self-chosen.
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity:
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.
This second passage is equally powerful. I know I personally inflict a lot of pain and suffering on myself. I over think things, I let my emotions get away from me, and I wear my heart on my sleeve. And yet, I have learned a lot from every heartache. I know the difference between love and…other things. I draw a hard line in the sand around my heart now and only let certain people close, and still no one so close that they could casually hurt me in some way. Because that has happened, where I was hurt because some silly girl paid me attention and was being friendly and I thought it was more. And then there is life, which knocks us around and throws us down. But our physician is always ready to help us heal again. Sometimes it is slow, and sometimes wounds never quite heal completely…but the good doc always gets you on your feet again.
Well, thank you for reading. These are of course, merely my thoughts and opinions and you are welcome to disagree. If you have anything you would like to share with me feel free to post here or on Today’s Musings, Part 1
Well as this is my first post, I am going to dive right in to what I was thinking about today and why I wanted to create a blog in the first place. The last “official” blog I had (not counting the random angst filled posts on myspace) was when I was going through a very rough time. Then when my dad passed away a few years ago I started writing in a personal journal on my hard drive…which I have since lost access to. But since I find writing to be a very cathartic experience I decided to create this place on the web and see how it goes.
So now that is all out of the way, the rest of the post today is going to be a bit…well…depressing I guess. It’s just that time of year for me since it is around the anniversary of my dad’s death. However, I would like to share something with you all that helped me a lot when I was going through the grieving process and my thoughts on each part of it.
It is two separate passages from Kahlil Gibran’s the Prophet, and as I go I will break them down.
You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
Isn’t the secret of death something we all look for? Not just people who are grieving a lost loved one but everyone in their heart fears death to some extent. And yet he says the secret of death is found in the heart of life, and that you cannot have good without bad, light without darkness, or life without death. And the imagery of the river and sea make me think of our life’s path and then the final destination. I once had a philosophical discussion where I tried to use the analogy of God as the ocean to explain how we are connected to Him. To see echoes of this same wisdom here is certainly interesting…and is that not what happens after death? We are absorbed into the infinite. I think everyone must believe that whether atheist or theist.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?
Here he points out that even our fear shows we desire what is beyond this life. We are so concentrated on our fear that we cannot see beyond it when in reality what lies beyond is glorious. Are we not often nervous and fearful in our lives and yet in the moment of decision when you are forced into the situation in which you are nervous you find yourself imbued with a terrible clarity of vision and purpose if your will is strong enough to overcome your fear. I think facing death is much the same, truly facing it, and knowing when your end is coming. It seems like as the end approaches it is the people who will go on living that are trembling and fearful and the person who is dying is calm and collected.
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.
And this final part is a simple statement that most Christians, and indeed most theists believe: Death is only the beginning.
Since this post is very long see Today’s Musings Part 2 for the rest.