Own My Growth

Helping folks with practical tips to manage themselves better

Joy And Sorrow

Joy and sorrow

One of my favorite and soul-inspiring books is The Prophet. It is a book of 26 prose poetry fables written in English by the LebaneseAmerican poet and writer Kahlil Gibran.

The titular character in the book is Prophet AL Mustafa, who has lived in the city of Orphalese for 12 years. Just as he is about to board a ship to leave the city and go back to his hometown, the Prophet is stopped by a group of people, and they ask him to share his wisdom on different aspects of life. The 26 chapters describe his outlook on matters of love, marriage, children, giving, eating and drinking, work, joy and sorrow, houses, clothes, buying and selling, crime and punishment, laws, freedom, reason and passion, pain, self-knowledge, teaching, friendship, talking, time, good and evil, prayer, pleasure, beauty, religion, and death.

It is a book that requires some effort to read, but the ideas are deep and hidden, slowly revealing themselves as you keep reading. This is one of my go-to books on Kindle whenever I have some free time.

This evening I was reading the chapter on Joy and Sorrow while waiting to meet with a friend.

The words are so beautiful. I could not resist sharing the Prophet’s view on Joy and Sorrow below.

Joy And Sorrow Chapter VIII

Then a woman said, “Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.”

And he answered:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.

Only when you are empty are you at a standstill and balanced.

When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

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