The cure for pain is in the pain.

September 10, 2016

Some weeks ago, I had major surgery. I have been recovering since, and that recovery has included a great deal of physical pain. The surgery itself was a success; after my recovery, I expect to have a knee that is much more functional that the one that was replaced.

Extreme physical pain is a new experience for me. I did not expect it, and was unprepared. Even though I had excellent medical care and a variety of medications, I found it hard to endure the pain of the first ten days and nights.

Like every life challenge, it was an opportunity too. I believe it deepened my compassion as I thought of the millions of people who must endure such pain without the medical and personal support I am privileged to have.

So gratitude has been interwoven with pain and trying to keep my spirits up. Through the years I have spent deeply immersed in Rumi, I have learned more and more to find gratitude embedded in every challenge.

I offer these you these lovely words by Rumi:

Inside, you are sweet beyond telling. There is a sun in everyone.

I become a mirror that cannot close its eyes to your longing,

my eyes wet with yours in the early light,

my mind every moment giving birth,

always conceiving, always in the ninth month….

 

Another aspect of this experience has been the extraordinary kindness that has been shown to me by my partner, family members and some close friends. Even my young physical therapist has shown me such gentleness and kindness.

Dorianne Laux says:

For the Sake of Strangers

No matter what the grief, its weight,
we are obliged to carry it.
We rise and gather momentum, the dull strength
that pushes us through crowds.

And then the young boy gives me directions
so avidly. A woman holds the glass door open,
waits patiently for my empty body to pass through.

All day it continues, each kindness
reaching toward another–a stranger
singing to no one as I pass on the path, trees
offering their blossoms, a retarded child
who lifts his almond eyes and smiles.

Somehow, they always find me, seem even
to be waiting…
.

A cousin I love has these words on her answering machine:

“Make it a good day for someone.” May we all heed and practice this wisdom.


“Let the beauty we love, be what we do.”

April 3, 2015

Dear Visitor,

Reviewing the statistics for this blog, I’ve found that more than 83,000 have visited since I began it. You–visitors from many states and countries–are my community, my fellow travelers on this journey of developing our spiritual lives as deeply as we can, and of trying to make a difference on this planet through our compassion and commitment to service.

I write this on Good Friday and the first day of Passover. Ramadan is six weeks away. So many worshipers, singing different verses of the same song. And of the many who do not identify with any organized religion, most are seekers too. As Rumi said, “I see the same altar in temple, mosque and cathedral.”

Here are some of Rumi’s lessons for us all:

• We are here on earth for the purpose of soul-growth.

• We are capable of profound joy and compassion in virtually every circumstance.

• Pain and loss can be the gateway to our greatest joy.

The last point touches me in a new way as I–like many of you–face a serious health challenge.

Rumi also says:

Lo, I am with you always.

You promised that, and when I realized it was true,

My soul flared up.

Remember and be back with the Friend.

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Please visit me at my website: http://www.coupleswisdom.com

Blessings to all!

 


When Love Calls

May 2, 2013

 

When Love Calls You, Follow Him

Gibran says:

When love beckons to you,  follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep….
.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.

Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.

To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

I first read these words many years ago. They touch me still, but the interpretation I give them now has deepened.

In a most fortunate meeting with a wise person I know, I was reminded  that love’s deeper task is finding the Beloved of the Soul. Instead of the endless, futile search for perfection in a partner, we must look deeper. A workshop I did years ago with Stanislov Grof was called The Mystical Quest. Such lasting grace came to me from that event! I learned that I have an infinite Source of joy inside me. I can access it in a second at any time, regardless of circumstances.

Rumi says:

Lo I am with you always.
You promised that, and when i realized it was true
my soul flared up.

Any unhappiness comes from forgetting.

Remember, and be back with the Friend.

The wise ones of every path agree: infinite peace and joy cannot result from anything we may achieve, buy or be given. Through grace, that joy is available to all of us through inner discovery. “An intense inner life,” as Mother Teresa put it, is the path.

“Ask and you shall receive,” but we must ask.

A thousand thanks to Stan Grof whose work has clarified the journey for so many.

Blessings to you, dear visitor.

Please see the Poetry and Inspiration page at www.coupleswisdom.com for some of Rumi’s other gifts to us all.


27 Random Acts of Kindness

January 5, 2013

Naomi Shihab Nye says:

KINDNESS

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes any sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and send you out in the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend
.

Some of those who mourn the children and women lost recently at Sandy Hook school in Connecticut are suggesting a unique memorial each of us can participate in: do a kindness for each of the 27 lost lives.

I think it’s a wonderful idea–a chance to turn horror into good. You can see an original song I wrote about this tragedy on YouTube at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EucitjMtvwk

To sustain us in such times, perhaps, Mother Teresa said, “Love is a fruit in season at all times. Anyone may gather it and no limit is set. [We gather it through] an intense inner life.”

Blessings to you dear visitor. May you gather fruit today.

===============================

You may post a response here, or email me at drlee@coupleswisdom.com


The Importance of Kindness

April 26, 2012

Naomi Shihab Nye says:

KINDNESS

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes any sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and send you out in the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend
.

What could me more important than approaching all the inhabitants of this world in a spirit of kindness? In the last year, I’ve faced conflict with relatives and friends that mean everything to me. Our minds’ ability to create problems and justify our own actions is truly remarkable. What’s even more surprising  to me is to watch myself repeating certain crucial patterns over and over again.

It’s as if I hadn’t learned that being right does not lead to happiness. I forget (again!) that I have blind spots, and am capable of saying hurtful things to people I love without even anticipating the effect of my words. I forget that treating someone I love in a disrespectful manner may diminish that person’s capacity to experience the joy that is like a “….fruit in season at all times….”* I forget that if I do something that diminishes another’s joy, I do the same to myself.

On the external stage, I forget that when I lapse into disrespecting those with different political views, I become another voice for division in a polarized country. Today’s poet teaches us that kindness is always a choice that will contribute to healing, to peace, and to joy.

*Mother Teresa said, “Love is a fruit in season at all times. Anyone may gather it and no limit is set. [We gather it through] an intense inner life.”

Blessings to you dear visitor. May you gather fruit today.

===============================

You may post a response here, or email me at drlee@coupleswisdom.com. Also visit my Advice Blog while you’re there.


The Only Thing That Makes Sense

February 9, 2010

Naomi Shihab  Nye says:
KINDNESS

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.


What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.


How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes any sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and send you out in the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

Such a profound but simple message! Nye offers us a template which can help us to answer most couple conflicts, as well as most familial, political and even international dilemmas. Every religious path urges us to look beyond our personal interests and point of view into ” the region of kindness.”

Sometimes it does seem that this is possible only for those who have known sorrow as “the other deepest thing.” It’s those who have experienced loss who can best empathize with others’ losses. The man or woman who has sat at the bedside of a dying parent most easily understands the profound nature of such an experience when others have it.

In my parenting groups, people who have leaned over backwards to be supportive parents sometimes express dismay when their own children show tendencies toward selfishness rather than kindness. A teenager or adult who has never suffered a serious loss can seem unable to empathize and be kind toward those less fortunate. Adult children who have grown up as the center of their parents’ world may feel their parents should always serve them. When the time comes for reciprocity, the privileged ones may resist.

Most of us have a hard time empathizing with those whose experience is outwardly very different. Understanding that the dead Indian in the white poncho had plans and feelings as important as our own may require us to experience pain and loss. For good or ill, life usually provides this in its time. Then kindness becomes “the only thing that makes sense any more.”

======================================

Blessings to you dear visitor. Your thoughts are more than welcome. Please post them here, or email me at drvlee1234@aol.com.


Kindness

January 1, 2009

Naomi Nye says:

Before you know what kindness really is

you must lose things,

feel the future dissolve in a moment

like salt in a weakened broth.

What you held in your hand,

what you counted and carefully saved,

all this must go so you know

how desolate the landscape can be

between the regions of kindness.

How you ride and ride

thinking the bus will never stop,

the passengers eating maize and chicken

will stare out the window forever.

Before  you learn the tender gravity of kindness,

you  must travel where the Indian in a white poncho

lies dead by the side of the road.

You must see how this could be you

and how he too was someone

who journeyed through the night with plans

and the simple breath

that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,

you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.

You must wake up with sorrow.

You  must speak to it till your voice

catches the thread of all sorrows

and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,

only kindness that ties  your shoes

and sends you out in the day to mail letters and

purchase bread,

only kindness that raises its head

from the crowd of the world to say

it is I you have been looking for,

and then goes with you everywhere

like a shadow or a friend.

_________________________________

On this first day of the the new year, may we celebrate its limitless possibilities. Commit this year’s goals to paper, dear visitor, and share them with a trusted other.

• May we commit to kindness to every other person and to ourselves.

• With Rumi, may we learn to see the beauty in every rock and flower and human face. May we learn to celebrate our pain and our losses.

• With Jesus, may we fully know that forgiveness (70 x 70 if need be) is the the best way to enhance our precious, short lives.

• With Buddha, may we wish happiness to all beings.

• On this day and every day, may we be blessed with opportunities to serve others. Suffering is all around us, dear friends, as are diamonds in the mud.

__________________________

Please respond or offer your own post by email: drvlee1234@aol.com