𝑷𝒂𝒊𝒏𝒔 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒎𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒆𝒏𝒈𝒆𝒓𝒔. 𝑫𝒐 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒕𝒖𝒓𝒏 𝒂𝒘𝒂𝒚, 𝒇𝒐𝒐𝒍𝒊𝒔𝒉 𝒐𝒏𝒆𝒔! – Rumi
Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by life’s challenges? Lost when it comes to moving beyond pain, fear or disappointment? Confused about why we suffer and how to overcome it? In our fast-paced society, with little time and even shorter attention-spans, we are more and more losing the ability to sit with suffering or patiently observe our own distress. The goal is more to avoid discomfort at all costs, whether through distractions, pharmaceuticals, social media or any readily available pleasures. Yet, the suffering we ignore doesn’t disappear, and the questions we avoid don’t get answered.
The ancient mystic, Rumi, taught us to have faith in the power of suffering – and to embrace it, even if it is painful. Rumi understood pain as a symptom that our closed hearts are breaking open. My special guest on Thursday’s episode of Empowerment Radio is Kamla K. Kapur, author of “Rumi, Tales of the Spirit.” In her new book, Kamla collected twelve fresh and powerful tales of the timeless storyteller Rumi, which guide us through the trials of life and teach us to embrace suffering, to pray even when it feels hopeless, and ultimately, to surrender to the cosmic will.
“Traumatic events open our eyes to our blindness and our own responsibility in what happens to us. The ancient mystic, Rumi, teaches us to have faith in the power of suffering – to embrace it, painful as it always is. The pain of it is a symptom that our closed hearts are breaking open.
Here is message from her: “In 1993, my then husband, Donald Powell, committed suicide. It was the most traumatic experience of my life and made me what I am today. I can divide my life into a clear before and after. Before his suicide, though I considered myself a somewhat wise person, after his death I realized how unaware I truly was. So unaware, in fact, that it was a fight I instigated that culminated in his suicide. I was certain I had caused it. I realized, from reading the volumes of his journals after his death that Donald had been deeply scarred by his experiences in Vietnam that turned him into an alcoholic, that he had always been suicidal, and had attempted it several times before. None of this knowledge absolved me from my responsibility and role in his death.
“In our current culture, we are altogether too modern to understand or desire suffering the way the Sufis and mystics of all time embraced and rejoiced in it. Suffering, or what we call ‘stress,’ and ‘anxiety,’ Rumi advised almost eight hundred years ago, cannot be expunged. Rumi, together with other Guides from all religious traditions, gives us a perch from which to view adversity, a perspective that helps us to take advantage of it, see it in a light that makes it life-affirming instead of life-denying. From this perch we can see how our trials and ‘hard times’ are the very fuel for a series of transformations in our journey to healing, wholeness, happiness.
“Suffering’s transformative power applies not just to the big events of our lives but even to our daily vicissitudes: the broken cup teaches us to let go, an illness to rest and take care of ourselves, a loss the transience of all existence.
“Sufis venerate suffering. “What is Sufism?” someone asks a Sheikh in one of Rumi’s stories. The Sheikh replies, “To feel joy in the heart at the coming of sorrow.” Even when suffering bears no apparent fruit, Rumi says, it must be borne in the spirit of gratitude because it is both poison and antidote. Above all, by humbling and crumbling us, suffering teaches us love, temporal and divine, which is the goal of all our journeys. Whether love be earthly or divine, in the end it leads us yonder, Rumi says in his poetry and stories.
“As a result of my husband’s suicide, I am much more aware, sensitive, prone to listening, more compassionate with my current husband, Payson, and with friends and acquaintances in general. I know how tender and fragile we can all be. I know better than to think I am wise. Wisdom is a shifty thing. As soon as you think you are wise, you lose it. Socrates knew he was wise because he knew he didn’t have any answers.
“Rumi emphasizes that all suffering is a gift. Its redemptive purpose is to turn us towards the Light and Love of that supersensuous and Unseen (though everywhere evident) energy, ubiquitous presence, the highest in our natures, that many call God.”
Join me and Kamla this Thursday, November 21st at 9AM PT / 12PM ET and learn from ancient wisdom, how our trials and ‘hard times” can be the fuel for greater healing, wholeness and happiness. You may also join us on Facebook Live.