“To love is human. To feel pain is human.
Yet to still love despite the pain is pure angel.”
We continued our month-long look at poetry for our MLUC Meditation Group I on the theme of pain and suffering with an interview of Joanna Macy including several Rilke Poems. You can also read about our sessions on Intimacy, Vulnerability and Beauty.
Suffering = Pain * Resistance
The formula above reminds us that we can feel pain, unpleasant and negative emotions, but still experience joy and contentment. It is only when we resist and react that the pain is literally multiplied into suffering. We can incline ourselves towards joy by allowing for our emotions, holding them lightly and letting them come and go on their own time.
One fierce way to work with suffering is called Tonglen. Pema Chodron is a leading advocate of this practice in the United States. You can try it out below:
Listed below are some of the poems and readings that were shared:
- The Well of Grief by David Whyte
- A Brief For The Defense by Jack Gilbert – “We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness“
- Righteous Sunday by our own Greg Gaul
- Still I Rise by Maya Angelou – “But still, like air, I’ll rise“
- Out, Out – by Robert Frost
- Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow by William Shakespeare (Macceth)
- On Pain by Kahlil Gibran – “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses
- Rilke as read and translated by Joanna Macy:
“The sweetness and delights of the resting-place are in proportion to
the pain endured on the Journey. Only when you suffer the pangs and
tribulations of exile will you truly enjoy your homecoming.”
We will continue on Sunday, September 2 at 8:30 a.m. as we work with the poetry of beauty featuring John O’Donohue. Click here to join us and bring your favorite poem on the topic. Each week will include a short talk and will invite participants to bring and share their own favorite poems on the week’s topic.