Our souls are expanded by experiencing difficulty. Whether one calls it the soul, the heart, the mind, or the spirit, humans grow as they encounter the trials of life.
Long before Freud, Jung, or any other psychologist, Rainer Maria Rilke, poet, said;
“That is at bottom the only courage that is demanded of us: to have courage for the most strange, the most singular and the most inexplicable that we may encounter.”
He wrote this in a letter to a young man in 1904.
Poets by nature reflect on many things in life. My journey in this world has shown me the suffering of others and the difficulties they face.
I have worked in countries where children die of curable diseases because rumor are spread about vaccines being some kind of western poison. In some countries, like India for example, a visit to to the doctor is incomplete if they do not leave with medicine — most commonly antibiotics. This is tragic as we become immune to them and we can die of sepsis because of the immunity. That is a terrible death.
Seeing such mysterious beliefs and so much poverty, has caused great sadness. I embrace it because I am human and thus have compassion. Sometimes, all we can do is sit and experience sadness or grief, hurt, or rejection. This is the expansion of our soul.
When we do this, we begin to know ourselves
This increases our empathy for others. We gain insight to the human condition beyond our own. We become better humans. Better poets.
We do not need to hold hold onto these feelings forever. We heal, we are heard, mostly, and we can find solace in nature, gardening, walking, or making things. Knowing ourselves.
But our souls are expanded. Enriched. We gain wisdom from our experiences as well as our education and reading. We learn to make sense of our lives and the world around us. We have self-knowledge, and therefore we are of more value to the world, even though many may walk away from our growth.
Published in Know Thyself, Heal Thyself