polish a stone

Polish a Stone, Polish a Soul

“In order to polish a stone, one needs to chip and grind it. The same is true for a human being. Polishing, suffering, is necessary so that one may awaken.

“It is difficult for people to become aware. They need to be boxed into a corner in order to awaken. Every time the consciousness falls asleep, suffering comes to awaken it. After that comes rejuvenation and uplift. Suffering will uplift you. Be joyful that you suffer so that you may bear fruit.

“God will transform the suffering of people into precious stones that will be placed as a wreath upon their heads. In the future, people’s suffering will adorn their heads.

“When Nature puts someone in restraints, she has his best interests in mind and has, as her goal, the awakening of the hidden forces within. All suffering, constraint, and trials in one’s life aim to awaken the higher consciousness within. When Nature imposes sorrow, we feel wronged toward it. When a mother puts her child in the tub to bathe him or her, the baby cries and thinks that this is something bad. The child does not understand that the mother means to do well for her baby. …

“As a result of suffering one’s way of thinking is gradually set right. When the thinking is set wright, the consciousness awakens.” ~Biensa Douno

Polish a Stone or Gem

The main image used to illustrate this post shows an opal that has not been polished and one that has. That polished stone is clearly a valuable gem, while the unpolished stone looks to most of us like an ordinary rock of little value. Cutting and polishing can do that for a stone. In the case of valuable melts like silver and gold, they are purified by heading them until they melt, at which point the pure metal can be separated from other minerals in the ore. Humans generally need a similar kind of polishing, cutting, or purifying process to help them awaken to their true selves.

A different, yet related idea is that of the geode. These appear to most of us to be ordinary, often rather ugly, rocks, until split open. Then the crystals hidden within are revealed. There is hidden greatness in many of us and we need something to crack our shells so it can come out.

Becoming Aware

It certainly is difficult for people to become aware and awakened. We have sunk very deeply into matter and that makes it hard for us to see the spiritual, or even the need to be spiritual. It is like trying to see the sun rising on the horizon when you are at the bottom of a twenty-foot deep hole (seven meters). And while “polishing” and “grinding” of some types will encourage people to start developing their spiritual Self, it doesn’t awaken by itself. Suffering may be necessary to help us become aware, but by itself, it does not make us aware.

Transform Into Precious Stones

Yes, polishing, cutting, and curing people with certain types of “suffering” or obstacles does help transform them into precious stones, which is to say the spiritually awakened. But as already mentioned, that alone never does the job. You need to turn to the light of the Spiritual Sun for the final steps of the process. If suffering alone did it, we would have many millions of spiritual adepts in the world, but we actually only have a few.

Nature can Polish a Stone

Sometimes it is Nature rather than other humans who cause the suffering that polishes us into gems. We may be born with a physical defect. We might be struck by lightning. There are many possibilities. The results are much the same as with any other suffering. Many will just complain about it forever. A few will try to change their path in life and become true gems of humanity.

Polish a Stone Until it Shines

One thing Douno doesn’t mention in the section quoted above is that sometimes a person who has been through obstacles and has turned to spiritual development may give up before reaching the goal. If you know someone like that, you should encourage them to continue, to get back on the horse, as the old saying goes. If you are a person who gave up on spiritual growth thinking you were getting nowhere, look to the image below. It shows someone who has been digging for a great treasure but finally gives up having failed to find it. He doesn’t see that he was almost at his goal when he gave up. Don’t be like him. Don’t be a polished stone that becomes dull and ordinary again. And when you have reached the goal, start to polish a stone by helping others develop. The world can use more polished gems and fewer rough rocks.

digging for treasure

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obstacles, virtue overcomes obstacles

Obstacles and Stepping Stones

“Sometimes, the very activity which one self has rejected as an impediment becomes for another the channel of spiritual perception. I have mentioned the Cure D’Ars, who, among other inhibitions, refused to allow himself to smell a rose. Yet St. Francis preached to the flowers and ordered a plot to be set aside for their cultivation when the convent garden was made, ‘in order that all who saw them might remember the Eternal Sweetness.’ So, too, we are told, of his spiritual daughter, St. Douceline, that ‘out of doors one day with her sisters, she heard a bird’s note. What a lovely song!’ she said:and the song drew her straight way to God. … ‘To look on trees, water, and flowers,’ says St. Teresa of her own beginnings of contemplation, ‘helped her to recollect the presence of God’.” ~Evelyn Underhill

Steps or Obstacles

Ms. Underhill makes a good point. We are not all the same. What functions as an obstacle for one may be a stepping stone to awakening for another. He difference is in how you react to the thing. While St. Francis and Sat. Teresa could enjoy the beauty and sweet scent of flowers without becoming attached, Cure D’Ars felt he could not. And he may have been correct. We don’t all get attached to the same things. I’m sure if St. Francis found himself getting too attached to the flowers in his garden, he would have rejected them as well.

The point is, with a few exceptions, we can’t assume that the same thing is always an obstacle to spiritual growth, while another is an aid. We know, for example, that crystals can aid in spiritual growth. But some people can become so obsessed with collecting them, and locating rare ones, that they become an attachment and a hindrance. Continue reading “Obstacles and Stepping Stones”

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helpful temptations

Helpful Temptations and Obstacles

“To men that are just and upright, temptations become helps. Job, a man of discernment, was victorious in temptations. Sickness came upon him, and he complained not; … his body failed and his strength departed, but his will was not weakened. … So Joseph from the house of bondage was made to rule as king of Egypt. They of the company of Ananias and Daniel delivered others from bondage.

“See then, O thou are wise, the power that freedom possesses; that noting can injure it unless the will is weakened. … Seek thou not here repose, for this is a world of toil. And if thou canst wisely discern, change thou not time for time that which abides for that which abides not; that which ceases not for that which ceases; nor truth for lying. … Collect thy mind, let it not wander among varieties which profit not.” ~St. Ephraim the Syrian

Helpful Temptations

An excellent runner who is used to running on a clear track will not do well if suddenly put into a hurdle race. Likewise, one who has always ran on flat ground, will get winded quickly running up a mountain. Even worse, the guy who sits on the sidelines watching the runners will not become a good runner at all. For that reason, some people need a wolf to chase them so they will start to run. Some need hurdles and mountains to climb to really build strength in their legs.

We usually think of temptations as something that seems to be good, but often isn’t. The ice cream that gets us off of our healthy diet. The movie of TV that gets us to skip our workout to watch it. But temptations can also be unpleasant things. An illness that makes us stay in bed, even when bed rest isn’t the best solution. A minor injury that gives us an excuse to quite exercising. Most of all, physical problems that cause us to skip our spiritual exercises. But resisting such temptations make us grow strong. That’s why they are helpful temptations.

Power of Freedom

The Power of Freedom has many aspects. The one of concern here is the freedom to choose what is right rather than what is easy. Sometimes, that choice can be painful. It may take us away from things we would rather be doing. But we have the freedom to ignore our own thoughts, or the dark ones whispering in our ears, when we know they are leading us astray. Continue reading “Helpful Temptations and Obstacles”

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