I don't recommend suffering. But I suspect that certain parts of my own personal suffering—my "hell"—may have helped me, in the long run.
I feel vulnerable telling you this story. But sharing one's vulnerability builds strength, which is something we need these days. So here goes.
When I was five years old, I had surgery on my eyes. In post-op, the doctors applied thick layers of gauzy bandages to help my eyes heal. It was as though I had dozed off in my bed one night, and woke up the next morning blind. Literally.
Or this: imagine being stuck in a pitch black movie theatre, with no "Exit" sign in sight.
Now imagine the shy little five year old girl this was happening to (thank you, mommy in heaven, for staying by my side through those dark nights. I would have gone completely bonkers without you).
Wrapped tightly in white bandages, so the light could not penetrate and my baby blues would heal from the surgery, inner vision began to roll.
Realistic, vivid scenes. On a ginormous, colorful screen.
But you know the oddest part?
After my eyes healed, the doctors carefully peeled back layer after layer of bandage and I still had inner vision. It has never gone away.
The inner world is a mysterious place.
How it reveals itself, as far as I can tell, is largely beyond our control. You can't simply close your eyes and command your inner movie theatre to spring to life. Nor can you run away, to avoid what you see inside.
Meditation practices may help cultivate the capacity to look within. But inner vision, in my experience, cannot be forced—or turned off.
It's a gift.
To be clear: I have no special powers; I'm not some sort of "priestess" or “psychic” and I make no claim to fame.
I merely am describing an operation I had on my eyes when I was five years old, and what happened after that. If you're still reading—well, thanks for listening.
Now I wonder what is true for you. Has any part of your personal suffering—your "hell"—helped you, in the long run? Let me know, post a comment below.