I once posted an interview of Miriam Greenspan on this book of hers entitled, “healing through the dark emotions: The wisdom of grief, fear and despair.” After reading and posting parts of that interview I bought her book after my brother died.
It’s a wonderful book and speaks to any human pain or suffering. Not just loss. Here we see the profound and universal nature of human distress, when today all people want to do is pathologize it. The great thinkers, poets and artists who express these thoughts show us that these feelings are eternally human.
So I flipped through the book and took some of my favorite quotes that Miriam Greenspan used to highlight her work:
One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious. — Carl Jung
Help us to be always hopeful
Gardeners of the spirit
Who knows that without darkness
Nothing nothing comes to birth
As without light
“The Invocation of Kali”
Blessed are the men and women
who are planted in your earth, in your garden,
who grow as your trees and flowers grow,
who transform their darkness to light.
–—The Odes of Solomon
You can hold back from the suffering of the world…but perhaps this very holding back is the one suffering that you could have avoided. —Franz Kafka
The man who fears suffering is already suffering from what he fears. — Michel de Montaigne
Your heart will give you greater counsel than all the world’s scholars. — The Talmud
For grief has darkened my eyes; my body is like a shadow. My days fade like an echo; the strings of my heart have snapped. — The Book of Job
There is nothing so whole as a broken heart. —Menachem Mendel of Kotzk
One may lay down weeping at nightfall, but at dawn there are shouts of joy. —Psalm 30:6
He hath set me in dark places as those who are dead forever. He hath a fence around me and against me, that I may not go out; He hath made my captivity heavy. Yea, and when I have cried and entreated, He hath shut out my prayer…He hath thwarted my steps…and broken me into pieces. —St. John of the Cross , The Dark Night of the Soul
There is no sun without shadow, and it is essential to know the night. —Albert Camus
Despair…is the only cure for illusion. Without despair we cannot transfer our allegiance to reality–it’s a kind of mourning period for our fantasies. Some people do not survive this despair, but no major change within a person can occur without it. —Philip Slater
I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
which shall be the darkness of God.
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing. — T.S. Elliot
In the depth of winter, I found that there was in me in invincible summer. — Albert Camus
Where does one go from a world of insanity? Somewhere on the other side of despair. — T.S. Elliot
If you see a spark, you will find it in the ashes. —Elie Wiesal
In order to experience fearlessness it is necessary to experience fear. — Chogyam Trungpa
There are many ways we have of standing outside ourselves in ignorance. Those who have learned as children to become strangers to themselves do not find this a difficult task. Habit has made it natural not to feel. To ignore the consequences of what one does in the world becomes ordinary. — Susan Griffin
There is a crack in everything, that is how the light gets in. — Leonard Cohen
If a way to the better there be, it lies in taking a full look at the worst. — Thomas Hardy
An unhealed life is a statement of our need to work together to heal the whole. It is an opportunity to refrain from turning away, separating our reality from the reality of others. — Yael Bethiem
Emotion is the chief source of becoming-conscious. There can be no transforming of darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotion. — Carl Jung