“By trying to handle all suffering through willpower, denial, medication, or even therapy, we have forgotten something that should be so obvious: We do not handle suffering: suffering handles us.” Richard Rohr
The deepest and most impactful learnings in life come neither from books nor gurus.
I have discovered that, every now and then, I sense very clear view of my most hidden, secret, sometimes painful, and sometimes embarrassing self. I call these times Windows to the Soul.
Opening Your Window
For me, windows to the soul usually last no more than a couple days or maybe even a couple of weeks. These windows most likely begin to open in the aftermath of a major failure or, as Richard Rohr puts it, in times of suffering. Horrible times. Times we wish would just disappear.
But they don’t disappear—even when we have perfected the skill of “denial.” Pain and suffering will ultimately demand our full attention. When we are receptive, they make for the very best opportunity to see and feel the truest version of ourselves.
Wisdom Begins with Genuine Self-Understanding
Such is the journey I have travelled… all my life! But in the last three years it has become my primary journey—an attempt to gain a clear view of my “self” that blocks me from freedom and clarity. The mystics are teaching me that deep self-knowledge and understanding top the list of measures for knowing both the depths of the Divine and the paths of other people.
All which leads me back to the Windows of the Soul. Have you ever experienced a painful time that, in the end, you came out stronger because of the intense vision of the broken you? Yes, broken, but certainly not irreparable.
Windows Will Close
If you are in this place now, please take advantage of what you may learn. Remember, the window doesn’t stay open for long. Use it and may your suffering “handle you” with grace, mercy, and unparalleled insight.
“We only learn to walk when we risk falling down… This is the beginning of wisdom.” Krista Tippett.
Windows to Your Soul
Painful But Essential
Photo courtesy of Oralleff at istockphoto