Wednesday, August 14, 2019

what makes us miserable

It is startling that we desperately hold on to what makes us miserable.  Our own woundedness becomes a source of perverse pleasure and fixes our identity.  We do not want to be cured, for that would mean moving into the unknown.  Often it seems we are destructively addicted to the negative.  

What we call the negative is usually the surface form of contradiction.  If we maintain our misery at this surface level, we hold off the initially threatening but ultimately redemptive and healing transfiguration that comes through engaging our inner contradiction.  We need to revalue what we consider to be negative.  Rilke used to say that difficulty is one of the greatest friends of the soul.  

Our lives would be immeasurably enriched if we could but bring the same hospitality in meeting the negative as we bring to the joyful and pleasurable.  In avoiding the negative, we only encourage it to recur... The negative threatens us so powerfully precisely because it is an invitation to an art of compassion and self-enlargement that our small thinking utterly resists.  Your vision is your home, and your home should have many mansions to shelter your wild divinity.  Such integration respects the multiplicity of selves within.  

~ John O'Donohue
from Anam Cara
photo by edmund teske