“The more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt. The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the end, the one who suffers most.” – Thomas Merton
I have recently seen some people who have lost hope and who are seeking to find their hope again. Many people have recently been suffering their current feelings around hopelessness. The word hope is about the future. Hope is a feeling that lives in your chest and is invisible. You know when you have hope and when you have lost it. Your hope talks to you about a particular desire and an expectancy of a better possibility to come in the future. Without hope, there is pessimism about the future with a lack of any kind of anticipation to restore hopeful feeling in your life.
Emily Dickinson’s poem inspires as it describes the invisible nature of hope.
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
A symbolical, metaphorical, and imaginal psychological interpretation of Dickinson’s poem suggests, compares, and attaches hope, which is invisible, to a “thing.” Then this thing is compared to a bird, as if this thing hope is bird like. The bird as a symbol can represent lightness of being, soul, messenger, peace, and spiritual knowledge according to the Dictionary of Symbols. “Feathers” symbolize the freedom to alight or align oneself to something new by and with the movement of this invisible energy, hope. When the bird of hope “perches,” it has settled on and perhaps is resting on a branch as it “sings” without words. Therefore, hope always exists continuously producing a feeling, a resonance with a certain vibrational hum to it unless hope has been lost. Sometimes hope is lost or destroyed through anger, great negativity or self-sabotage, thereby, a person can abandon all hope. Hope is an energetic experience. You know when you have it, and you know when you have lost hope and actually feel hopeless.
At some time, everyone experiences metaphorically “stormy weather” where your feathery wings are deflated and there is no freedom to fly. For instance, you can recognize this emotional state when you have encountered a painful or angry feeling, and maybe suffered a stinging heartache. The glimmer of hope can begin to warm your heart. Your own warm heart is a feeling response that encourages forward movement out of tough situations into new possibilities.
The “chillest land” is a disturbing place of cold feeling, frozen in fear, with perhaps, a numbness to life. Water, “the sea” speaks about emotion and feeling; a strange feeling is seen that may be coming up to a self-consciousness from the waters of life. Yet, in the most terrorizing, menacing, and intimidating event, hope is available and doesn’t want anything except to be hope. The word yet implies thus far, up until now. However, yet is used to stress that it remains possible that something will occur in spite of the problems in the present. Hope springs eternal.
Exercise to restore hope.
Hope is free. It costs nothing, and it is available to everyone.
Sit in a quiet space and follow your breath in and out for a few minutes then allow yourself to remember a time you had hope, felt hopeful or full of hope. As you remember can you feel it at this moment in time as you call up the memory. Because the past, even though that was then and this is now, the past is contained in the present. Is there any resistance to feeling hope again and letting it live in you now? Keep remembering past times when you had hope. Each time let yourself feel it now, in the present, to enliven and restore your own hope
“I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.” ˗ T.S. Eliot