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Reader comment on Ram Dass's passage ...

Suffering Leads to Grace


On Sep 18, 2014 Smita wrote:

Reading this passage marks the *3rd time* Ram Dass has shown up in something I've read...just in the last 36 hours! Important message for me, I think. :)

Several nights ago, I started reading the book "Broken Open" by Elizabeth Lesser...it's a beautiful book and I recommend it highly. Just last night I read the chapter she writes on Ram Dass. She knew him before his stroke, and also after it. In the book, she shares her experience of how Ram Dass' soul really shined through after his stroke, and his personality fell into the background; whereas before the stroke, his personality was more in charge (even though the soul was there all along). I think our soul has an opportunity to shine through even more when we embrace our pain with love and kindness, humble ourselves to it, welcome it and invite it in, see it as grace. As I see it, that's certainly what Ram Dass has done in the wake of his stroke.

I want to say a little more about this book I'm reading by Elizabeth Lesser. Not only does she so openly and vulnerably share about the pain she's experienced in her life, she tells many stories of people who allowed themselves to feel pain in a way that brought them closer to their hearts. And how life opens so beautifully when we do this, bringing us closer to our own humanity. She also tells stories of people who have pretended that everything in their life was fine, even when it wasn't, and how they almost (or actually) lost their lives as a result.

Recently, in my own life, I've been experiencing these waves of suffering once again. It caught me by surprise...sort of like, "oh, you're back?" And for a while I've just wanted it to go away. Luckily, I remembered from past experiences that I will contract and suffer even more if I turn away from it. So I've noticed that I have 2 options. I can fall asleep to the pain and numb myself to it. Or, I can stay vibrantly alive and awake to it, turn towards it, allow myself to feel completely, and let it break my heart wide open. I've tried both ways, and I've found that the latter way is much more energizing and life-affirming. Right now, I see this as the most important work I can do.

"And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." ~Anais Nin


On Sep 23, 2014 Jackie wrote:

 thankyou Smita. this book has come up a few times lately and I am now going to read it. the words you quote from Anais Nin are on my wall, beautfully lit by fairy lights! Today I awoke feeling lost and struggling. I accept those feelings as a call from my heart - stay with this, it is all part of your journey. Unfold..x

 
On Sep 23, 2014 Annette wrote:

 Smita...........thank you for the reminder.  I needed that.  It's as if instead of merely experiencing the suffering and 'enjoying' the pity party, simultaneously one can observe oneself outside of her/his self.  Doing this puts things into a different perspective and for me, will also connect me to others that suffer without feeling too self-centered about it all.  Robert Frost said, "the best way out is always through" and I've taken that to  heart so I don't need to find escape by drowning my sorrows in booze/drugs.  And speaking of Anais Nin.......I've had this quote of hers attached to all my emails for years: "We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are."  Thanks for your words this morning.

 

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