Only death gets you off the Wheel.
Sorrow may be transformed into joy.
|At times we may wish
to get off the wheel but short of death, we cannot. To control the intensity of the
experiences of the wheel we must become centered. As we move towards the center, we enter
into right relationship with the that which is greater than the self. This is a move out
of our self-centered nature and into relationship with God where strength and power are
found. Even when we are centered, we continue to go through the circle of changes.
Falling, suffering, and hope continue but the happiness may be deepened into joy.
Happiness does not last but joy does. Joy is a connection to meaning that is found through
proper relationship to God and to others. Realizing that all of humanity is on the Wheel
of Life empowers us to engage in compassionate understanding and action towards others.
Knowing that we are all on the Wheel of Life gives a new sense of relationship with others
and helps us to make that move from the rim to the centering principle of life.
Saints and spiritual leaders of all ages show us what it is like to journey to the center of the wheel. Mother Theresas life is an example of how to give up happiness to find joy. Her work with the poorest of the poor who were also sick and dying was a leap into the midst of suffering. Living in the midst of such misery could not be described as happy, but appeared to bring a deep joy into her life. Through her experience of personal sacrifice and loss while steadfastly holding to hope, faith was made manifest. Love is the overall container holding all of this together. This style of living presented others with the challenge to do the same, and the Sisters of Mercy came into being and transformed lives - both of the givers and the receivers.
It is essential to psychological and spiritual growth that we fully experience life. This includes the suffering of life, which is the living through of loss and change. We must go through this suffering and not try to circumvent the experience by going around, under, or over it. In order to grow one has to confront and engage suffering. Our psychological and spiritual reality is that "brokenness" leads to "openness" and that through suffering we are opened to change. Meister Eckhardt, the Medieval mystic, said that, "Suffering is the swiftest steed that brings us to perfection." Perfection must be understood to mean wholeness and completion. If through such suffering we allow ourselves to embrace the sorrow of life then it may be transformed into the joy of meaningful relationships characterized by faith and centered in love for God, our ourselves, and our neighbors.