“Whatever you do, don’t shut off your pain; accept your pain and remain vulnerable. However desperate you become, accept your pain as it is, because it is in fact trying to hand you a priceless gift: the chance of discovering, through spiritual practice, what lies behind sorrow.

“Grief,” Rumi wrote, “can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.”
—Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, chapter 19 Sogyal Rinpoche

The pain we feel can be a valuable tool. I had never thought about what lies behind my sorrow. Dirty socks? Weakness? Fear? Is it something I should avoid? As I was thrust into pain and grief, I learned in my experience empathy, perspective, and spiritual growth are three of the great things that lie behind sorrow. I am still discovering new things, but no dirty socks. What have you found lying behind your sorrow?

-Karen McCandless