Pain is a Furnace

Frontispiece to 'Visions of the Daughters of Albion' c.1795 by William Blake 1757-1827Emotional pain, depression – we have all suffered from it at one time or another.

The death of relationships, the death of ideas we hold about ourselves and life, the death of loved ones, insecurities, fears, regrets.

There are times in life however when the pain becomes very intense, unbearable even.

We contemplate suicide, all the colour drains from life and we feel it is not worth living.

It seems like these feelings will never end and we are doomed to wander our whole lives in this way.

While it may not seem so at the time – such periods hold an immense opportunity for transformation and transmutation.

Indeed this is what depression is, a chrysalis. To quote once more that old alchemical saying – “all things are born from putrification” – from the “death” of other things.

In order for this to be the case I have found there are a few things which are necessary.

Number one we must break away from the stories around the pain and work with the energy, the pure raw feeling of whatever it is we are experiencing.

Number two is to see this depression, this inner pain as a fire – an inner fire which is going to burn away all the unreality in you – all that is superfluous and unnecessary.

If it burns then it is not you – you are what remains when everything unreal and fleeting has burned away.

Number three is to contain this fire within – not to spit it out on others in an attempt to distract yourself and throw your pain outwards – even if they irritate you – still it must be contained.

Just keep an outward demeanor of calm despite the inner turmoil – seek time alone if you must – contain the fire.

When the fire has done its work you will know – the sun will rise again, the leaves will grow again, brighter, richer, more alive than before.

Even in the depths of despair we must on some level know and remember the transformative opportunity it brings – even if at the time it seems like we are kidding ourselves – keep remembering this.

Life is and always has been hard. But I have found it will provide space and opportunities for you to grow and understand life and your place in it if you are prepared to plumb these inner depths and accept the challenges of your existence.

It can be helpful to know that we have all felt this in some form or another, for some reason or another, practically everybody in history has felt it.

This is much of the path – burning away the unreal – how could such a thing ever be pleasant?

Depression and inner pain – once we are out the other side so to speak – give depth and richness to life – they teach us and sculpt us into something real.

So – forget the drugs, forget the escapism. Sit and be with whatever you are feeling – hold it in your space without judgement and let it do its work.

It will be over soon – and life will be all the more rich, all the more magical for its passing.


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