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Shared Wisdom: Kahlil Gibran


I know that I have mentioned several times in previous postings that Max Lucado is my favorite spiritual author.  However, there is one book written by another author that is probably my all-time favorite book: The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.

He was born in 1883 near Mount Lebanon and was a philosopher, poet, and artist.  His family emigrated to the USA in 1895, but his mother sent him back to Beirut in 1898 to study.  Gibran then returned to the USA in 1902 where he remained until his death in 1931.  His writings have been translated into more than twenty languages and his art work has been exhibited around the world.

Inside the front cover of my copy of The Prophet, George Russell wrote: “I do not think the East has spoken with so beautiful a voice since the Gitanjali of Rabindranath Tagore as in The Prophet of Kahlil Gibran ………….. I have not seen …. a book more beautiful in its thought, and when reading it I understand better than ever before what Socrates meant in the Banquet when he spoke of the beauty of thought which exercises a deeper enchantment than the beauty of form………. I could quote from every page, and from every page I could find some beautiful and liberating thought.”

I am in complete agreement with this last line written by Russell.  I received my copy of The Prophet in 1980 as a gift from a friend named Peter just as I was beginning my own path of spiritual and personal growth.  Over the years I have used many quotations from the slim volume (114 pages) as offerings to friends on special occasions.  Today I choose to share with you page 61, in which Gibran speaks of Pain.

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.

And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy; 

And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.

And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen.

It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.

Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility:

For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,

And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.”   

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