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The Jewels of Life

"We all carry it within us;

supreme strength,

the fullness of wisdom,

unquenchable joy.

It is never thwarted

and cannot be destroyed.

But it is hidden deep,

which is what makes life

a problem."----Huston Smith, religious studies scholar

Joy, wisdom, and strength. It is what all of my clients yearn for, strive for, despair over not having. Yes, it can be problematic that these jewels may be "deep" within us. But I believe that the fact that those jewels ARE within all of us makes enjoying those jewels possible!

Much of my psychotherapy work is helping my clients find their own jewels of steady strength, a wise outlook, and shining joy. I don't find these jewels are so much "hidden" as they are buried, or abandoned, or undiscovered. We can help each other excavate these jewels within us.

For example, even great strength can be buried at times under grief, trauma, and loss. We all need a helper, a companion, or a soul sister/brother to help us heal from these deep wounds. What to do if those resources are not available? This is when we should consider seeking the expertise of a qualified psychotherapist. As we heal, our strength is burnished in the refining heat of that process. Burnishing occurs on a given surface (usually metal) if the contact stress sliding on the surface exceeds the strength of the surface it presses upon. What results is a stronger, more lustrous, smooth surface. Likewise, the burnishing process of healing from pain can reveal and fortify our hidden strength.

Similarly, we all benefit from a mentor or a guide. Observing a mentor's choices, conduct, and speech can help us cultivate our own wise eye. Spending time in quiet reflection and stillness helps us to integrate the observations of our mentor with our own innate intuition. This intuition is our "third eye" as it is known in yoga philosophy, or our "sixth sense." This is our inner knowing, our gut instinct. A guide can support us in growing our confidence to trust our third eye, the seat of our own wisdom.

The natural world waits for us to turn to it for joy. Spending time enveloped in the presence of nature helps us to experience joy. Experiencing joy brings a soft smile to our face and an open heart. What is joy? Delight in breathing in the tranquility of a grove of trees, feeling pleasure in the warmth of the sun on our faces, soothed by the sound of water rippling along a stream bed, and gladness in watching an animal in its unselfconscious state. The natural world grounds us, and reminds us that we are not alone. We are connected to the earth and everything on it. When we feel stuck, the rhythm of the natural world reminds us that eventually nothing stays the same, and every day is a fresh opportunity to look for joy.

We are meant to help each other. It is one of the reasons we are born. With help, it is not a problem that these jewels may be deep within us. With help, we can find our strength, cultivate our wisdom, and feel the joy we were created to experience.

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