If you listen, you can connect with this voice which is underneath all the things that normally fill our senses. It is happening on a different wavelength, a different plane, but you can tune in to it if you have some patience. All the things right in front of us and all the things people are saying tend to distract us from it and sometimes we forget it is there, but our minds and souls are meant to be in a state of resonance with it. Call it the real reality, call it process, call it “what is really going on”, call it the eternal – whatever you want. It is real and it is that which our spiritual practices help us to access. Our spiritual practices are there to help us push back all the distractions and noise and tune in to reality.
You have heard it talked about that most people go through some kind of “dark night of the soul” at some point in their lives. Well I don’t know about you, but I feel like I go through some kind of depression/darkness almost monthly (if not more often) when I feel depressed and it feels like there was no way to avoid it. I just need to be depressed, something needs to die.
It is also true that rest awaits. I believe C.S. Lewis said somewhere that man has the capacity to endure suffering only as long as he has to – that once the suffering has ended, he will have the experience that he could not have possibly endured one minute more. This is the other thing that makes our suffering bearable: we know there is respite when it is finished. This day will end at some point and you will be able to sleep. This week will end in a weekend. This season of life will eventually pass. Some day, the suffering will abate. At the end of it all, there will be rest with a certain finality.
I have long been fascinated by and drawn to stories of people who have suffered greatly and yet live free. That’s why my favorite movie is The Shawshank Redemption. I heard once that Nelson Mandela was able to find a sublime level of peace in his soul while imprisoned. You have probably heard similar stories. I have even wished suffering upon myself at times because in suffering, we learn who we truly are and what really matters in life bubbles to the surface. Weird, right?