18 August 2014

Gibran's Sorrow and Acceptance

Earlier this summer I wrote two posts (here and here) that took inspiration from a verse written by Khalil Gibran:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was
oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Photo by William Marsh
Since those posts, I've been reflecting about how it can be, that sorrow and pain carve into us a space which can also be filled with joy. I know for myself it doesn't happen automatically. And looking at the final sentence of the verse above, neither did Gibran consider the joy part automatic.

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being...
It happens, sorrow does. Disappointment, fear, physical pain, illness, depression and all sorrowful emotions come to us simply because we are alive. Anyone reading this post has intimate knowledge of life's hurts, and religions have spilled lots of ink and blood to try to prove reasons for them -- Christianity's original sin, Buddhism's maya, come to mind. Gibran acknowledges we share this human condition but attempts no reasoning or story, no intellectual device to explain it. What he does is accept it. This is a truth of life, that we will sorrow.

I have found no more realistic and practical reason for discarding old habits that keep me kicking against inevitabilities in life. (For more on my thoughts about life's pain and acceptance, read this post.) It is energy spent in futility and expended at the expense of the constructive emotions and actions that grow out of simple acceptance. Because acceptance like this is not passive, it's creative.

And that will be the topic of my next post.

Thank you for reading this post. You can leave a comment below or email me at carold.marsh@gmail.com.

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