Alchemy and Suffering

The Philosopher’s Secret Fire

by Patrick Harpur

Page 32:  “Besides, it is doubtful whether voluntary disciplines can ever do more than prepare the way for initiation – which, like the shaman’s call, is, finally, involuntary.  We cannot will to die to ourselves.”

Page 33:  “There are the experiences we must not seek to cure or get over, so that we can return to the persons we were.”

Page 34:  “Love is less reliable than loss as the generator of transformation because it is easily confused with attachment, wish, desire, and so may be unreal without our knowing it.  The reasons for our suffering in loss may be equally unreal or deluded, but at least the suffering itself is real.  ‘A cry of pain is always irreducible'”