In Rainer Maria Rilke's masterpiece, Letter To A Young Poet I have come across a letter that I have been compelled to read over and over. It is as if there is a deep truth within this letter that must become part of me. This particular letter of advice is about our experience of being sad.
When we feel sad and out of sorts we generally do what we can to change our mood if at all possible. We believe that something dreadful is wrong with us and in order to get past it we look for a diversion. But what if our deep sadness was not something to push away. What if we allowed ourselves to sink down into it alone. What if it was actually evidence of something important that was happening deep with in us towards our greater beauty? What if this sorrow was evidence of a deep and needed change coming from our deep within taking us to a greater embodiment of our true selves?
Consider these lines from letter #8;
"Were it possible for us to see further than our knowledge reaches, and yet a little way beyond the outworks of our divining, perhaps we would endure our sadnesses with greater confidence than our joys. For they are the moments when something new has entered into us, something unknown; our feelings grow mute in shy perplexity, everything in us withdraws, a stillness comes, and the new, which no one knows, stands in the midst of it and is silent.
I believe that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension that we find paralyzing because we no longer hear our surprised feelings living. Because we are alone with the alien thing that has entered into our self; because everything intimate and accustomed is for an instant taken away; because we stand in the middle of a transition where we cannot remain standing."