This beautiful quote comes from Anam Cara, a book I hadn't met till a week ago. It was recommended to me as a book that you need to read slowly because of the poetic language and opportunity it gives you for contemplation.
When I reached this sentence it spoke to me because it's something I believe in. That the belief initially stemmed from my pain provides a more powerful teaching.
As a teenager, the outer face I carried was one that made others often feel uncomfortable. It was all too easy to interpret their reactions to me and it was something I tried, over many years to come to terms with.
Not too successfully most of the time and what it produced in me was a harder and harder veneer of indifference to the way people thought of me.
In my mind I became an outsider and while that was often an uncomfortable place to be, in the longer term it gave me an understanding of others who also felt they didn't fit in.
It's easy to take refuge in spiritual life as a bypass from pain and maybe I did turn to that for refuge sometimes. But beyond that reason, there was a stubborn belief that the inner had a more important part to play than the outer surface.
What happens of course is that when you pay attention to your heart and live from there, however painful the living, the outer becomes infused with a radiance that has nothing to do with surface beauty. I met it years ago in a Hindhu nun whose homely face shone with the inner beauty of her belief.
It was a face that Rembrandt would have painted; a face that had lived and survived.
I'm not there with that radiance and that beauty... but I know for me it's the right path.
What do you feel about the quote?