Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Mindful Monday: Kahlil Gibran on Pain

One of my favorite passages on pain is what Kahlil Gibran writes in his classic, “The Prophet”:
sea shells.jpg

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.

And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;

And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.


And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen. (If I cut one line, it would be that one.)

It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.

Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility:

For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.

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  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Terry

    That writing by Kahlil Gabran was beautiful! (Much, but not all of your pain is self-chosen.)

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Mary Morin

    I am struck by the reality that perfection and a world without pain was God’s original plan, and what He created us for. By the freewill actions if our famous first patents, that reality was lost, although some of the effects can be softened and even altered by faith in Jesus, and by His process of the transformed mind – Romans 12:2. Knowing that He desired relation with me before the world was made, and that He knew what Adam and Eve would choose, He knew what I would suffer, and He hurts when I hurt. But He made a way for me to connect with Him even now, and to taste of Heavenly realities now, so I could overcome evil, and the world with its fallen nature. Unfortunately, most Christians don’t understand or believe this, so we aren’t much help to ourselves or anyone else, but just slogans along…

  • laurie

    hi there
    Now I remember why I love Kahlil Ghibran so much, Thanks for the poetry,
    Did you ever work thru the book, The Artists Way?
    also, thanks for the article in St Anthony Messanger this month, I continue to pray for you and the ministry that helps so many to heal from the shame of stigma of BP and other mental health issues..
    Pax Christi

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Lynn Dover

    Perhaps I have more reason than some to accept the line “All of your pain is self-chosen.” There is some trauma in my past which wouldn’t, on the surface, appear self-chosen. However, I don’t remember most of it. I have found that my memories return slowly, one at a time, when I am able to handle them. In that sense, my pain is self-chosen. I choose when and how to handle what has happened.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment SunLuver

    Therese : I’ve been reading your blog for years and have enjoyed it ; learned from it ; related to it ; gained insight from it ; been amused by it and driven to tears by it . This is the first time however that I have been annoyed by it .
    This passage may or may not , constitute great poetry . I’m not qualified to judge it’s merits as such . I am however , able to assess its merits as an accurate literary reflection of emotional pain . I find it sadly lacking in this regard . In my opinion it evidences the authors naiveté on this subject . It seems to me that he was more interested in a convenient topic for his poetry than in providing an insightful ,illuminating writing on ” pain ” . May I be so bold as to suggest that you refrain from employing this material in your future Publications as it is in my humble oponion of questionable merit .

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