“Suffering can be a path to awakening when we engage it with receptivity to the gifts it holds rather than simply attempt to endure it. One of those gifts is that suffering has unique capacity to help us soften and release attachments and move toward a life of non-attachment. Simone Weil said that suffering that does not detach us is wasted suffering. Don’t waste suffering. It’s always a shame to have to repeat lessons because we don’t get their point but suffering is a particularly bad lesson to be slow to get.” David Benner
“Real holiness doesn’t feel like holiness; it just feels like you’re dying. It feels like you’re losing it. And you are! Every time you love someone, you have agreed for a part of you to die. You will soon be asked to let go of some part of your false self, which you foolishly thought was permanent, important, and essential! You know God is doing this in you and with you when you can somehow smile and trust that what you lost was something you did not need anyway. In fact, it got in the way of what was real.” Richard Rohr
“… in the middle of the pain there is some hidden gift. I, more and more in my life, have discovered that the gifts of life are often hidden in the places that hurt most.” Henri Nouwen
“Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered.” Hebrews 5:8
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Can you imagine embracing suffering that comes your way as a giver of “gifts?” Can you remember to look for such a gift when you’re in those “places that hurt most?”
- Has suffering in your life caused you to loosen your grip on things? Has it changed your perspective about what is “permanent, important, and essential?”
- When it “feels like you’re dying” or “losing it”, can you trust God to be at work for your good in the very thing that is “killing” you?
Abba, your Son suffered that he might know me. Help me to embrace the gifts of suffering that I might know him. I know I’m going to want to run from it like the disciples ran from the garden. Strengthen me.
For More: Spirituality and the Awakening Self by David G. Benner
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