Connection to our own suffering is connection to the fullness of life. It brings us to a profound compassion for ourselves and others. The journey of maturity is long, sensitive, and essentially spiritual. It involves responding truly and faithfully to conditions, owning our own experience honestly without being limited by it, and developing the strength and stability to bear life's troubles and the self-acceptance necessary to be able truly to love others. None of this is possible if we ignore or avoid our suffering. Connecting to our pain is connecting to our life as bodhisattvas do — in identity and solidarity with the world, sharing its joys and its sorrows even though we know they are endless.

Norman Fischer, Taking Our Places