This was my inner version of Dante’s hell.
As I experienced the intense loneliness and sadness of these “voices” my heart opened in a new way.
An urgency arose that provoked me into action. I must do something about this suffering. The legion of voices were calling for help. I must answer!
At the same time I understood that these voices were also inside me. For I knew the world is my mirror. What I see “out there” is also within me.
Thus I recognized a forlorn child within that felt isolated, like a whipped puppy, despairing of any mercy. Yes, I was also very sad. I had reached a point in life where I had lost my way.
This pivotal moment spurred me onto a life journey of discovery, causing me to move more deeply into motives that underlie the conditions and circumstances of life.
So I decided I must enter the ministry, where I believed I could be most helpful.
But how could I with three small children and a career Air Force husband who was continually off flying missions around the world?
My answer was to plunge into a quest that included a committed study of the Bible, Unity, all the great religions, Jungian psychology, journaling, and I began meditating.
Twenty years later (and having given birth to another daughter) I entered the two year residential seminary at Unity Village and became an ordained Unity minister.
Slowly I began to understand the gift that is to be found within the suffering that I became so aware of. As Joseph Campbell has said, “Our bliss will be found at the core of our suffering.”
Who would have thought? Those voices that were crying out were actually leading me into my bliss. A slow and not easy process.
As Rumi has said, “Let your ignorance become your teacher.”
I have discovered that by not running away from suffering, but finding a way to embrace all that seems to frighten me, and simply listening with a caring heart, suffering turns into joy and life renews itself.
I recently read this quote in The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd:
“History is not just facts and events. History is also a pain in the heart and we repeat history until we are able to make another’s pain in the heart our own.” Prof. Julius Lester
This is what I call compassion — which I believe resides in our heart chakra.
Compassion develops as we join with the suffering of the other, truly caring through a heart- felt listening. Not giving advice.
Learning to listen is the first step — listening to the Great Mind, the Source of All, and then learning to deeply listen to another.
Let all advice go out the window!
Wisdom arises as we give up trying to figure things out or strategize, but simply trust the Great Unknowing. This is the Mind of God, the vast, luminous emptiness in which everything needed already exists.
Answers come as we let go of our agenda and trust.
As we spend time listening and meditating, skillful action arises. The Great Mind knows what to do. We are an integral part of this powerful creative energy and can never be alone!
This great love is our birthright — our true nature. It’s within us.
Sometimes the sadness of others makes us uncomfortable, and we try to fix them, so that we won’t suffer. We might give them many suggestions.
However this is ego based, and not true compassion.
Just being with another is sometimes all we can do.
I remember how a dear friend just sat with me the day my husband of 54 years died. My friend didn’t offer any advice, but just stayed by my side throughout the day, silently sharing my pain.
His comfort was such a kind and gentle gift to me, one I will never forget. It helped me bear the unbearable.
As Jesus said, “Where two or more are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst.” Matt. 18:20
Name refers to the true nature of something. When there is compassion between two people, the living Christ energy is right there as a healing agent. Skillful action is the result. One simply knows what to do, even if it runs contrary to what the ego dictates.
So my path has been the development of my listening skills. It seems they needed lots of development, because I was born into a fixit mode!
Listening heart to heart — without an agenda — is my deep intention.
This requires waiting, trusting the Great Unknown, and then following what has been given in the silence.
Connecting with this field of living energy that is right now breathing all life makes everything precious.
A compassionate choice changes everything. And it starts inside each of us — with intention.