These words saved my life fifteen years ago when I was going through a dark time. Lately, some of the old pain has resurfaced, and I've found myself battling issues I thought I'd outgrown. I'm returning to this passage from Rainer Maria Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet.
Think, dear Sir, of the world that you carry inside you, and call this thinking whatever you want to: a remembering of your childhood or a yearning toward a future of your own--only be attentive to what is arising within you, and place that above everything that you perceive around you. What is happening in your innermost self is worthy of your entire love . . . .
When we're in emotional pain, the last thing we feel like doing is paying attention to our innermost self. We want to run away to someone or something. We'll visit an addiction that gives us a temporary feel-better fix. Or, we'll make judgments about how wrong we are, how full of mistakes and problems.
Being attentive to what is within you doesn't mean judging. It's not good or bad. It just is.
What I understand, this time around, is that when my psyche and emotions are shivering with pain, I have to slow down and hold still. This is so very uncomfortable. Yet I've learned by experience that a blossoming is on the way.
I need to sit tight with who I am and what I feel. I can watch it all unfold, even as I'm bewildered and impatient. Holding everything with acceptance . . . and love.