The mystic Khalil Gibran’s majestic prose poetry ‘The Prophet’ is perhaps his best known work. The section dealing with pain is worth reflecting on; his words are a great reminder that pain, whether it be physical, emotional or psychological, offers a unique encounter with the divine.
The experience of pain can take us to a different dimension of life. We don’t need to oppose or resist it; instead we should embrace it no matter how counter-intuitive that prospect may seem. Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. In Gibran’s world-view, the only reason we suffer with our pain is that we fight against it, refusing to recognize its value. In truth, pain is transformational. This is of course not news to Christians – the example of the suffering servant is the motif against which Gibran constructs his prose.
Even the pain of mental illness can be transformational…………if we let it. Reflecting on our experiences of depression and mania, as well as stigma and isolation, can be cathartic, ultimately functioning as powerful stimulus for spiritual growth.
Worth reflecting on? I hope so.
Here is a short video containing the beautiful reading from ‘The Prophet’ on this very topic: