I have had to experience so much stupidity, so many vices, so much error, so much nausea, disillusionment and sorrow, just in order to become a child again and begin anew. I had to experience despair, I had to sink to the greatest mental depths, to thoughts of suicide, in order to experience Grace.
I have experienced a great deal of sin in my body and soul that I needed; I needed lust, the desire for possessions, vanity, and the most shameful despair in order to learn how to surrender all resistance, love the world, and stop comparing it to some kind of world that I imagined or wished for—a perfection that I had dreamed up. I had to learn how to leave the world as it is, to love it, and to enjoy being a part of it.
You know quite well, deep within you, that there is only a single magic, a single power, a single salvation…and that is called loving. Well, then, love your suffering. Do not resist it, do not flee from it. It is your aversion that hurts, nothing else.
There was no duty for enlightened people, none, none except this: to seek themselves, to become certain of themselves, to grope forward along their own path, wherever it might lead. — I was deeply affected by that, and for me that was the profit from experience. I had often played with images of the future, I had dreamt roles that might be meant for me, as a poet, perhaps, or as a prophet, or as a painter, or whatever else. That was all meaningless. I didn’t exist to write poetry, to preach sermons, to paint pictures; neither I nor anyone else existed for that purpose. All of that merely happened to a person along the way. Everyone had only one true vocation: to find themselves.
We must become so alone, so utterly alone, that we withdraw into our innermost self. It is a way of bitter suffering. But then our solitude is overcome, we are no longer alone, for we find that our innermost self is the spirit, that it is God, the indivisible. And suddenly we find ourselves in the midst of the world, yet undisturbed by its multiplicity, for our innermost soul we know ourselves to be one with all being.