Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Fountain of sorrow

I’ve been overwhelmed by sorrow for most of December. There are several reasons for it. Initially, the song below did not feel appropriate at all because of its full first (chorus) line: “Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light”. What does light have to do with (my) sorrow?? Actually, a lot – to my surprise.

A 2008 study on The anatomy of sorrow: a spiritual, phenomenological, and neurological perspective, by (Dutch) psychiatrist dr. Ronald W. Pies, was quite helpful to see the link with light:

“There is, in short, an intentional dimension to sorrow. The priest Francisco Fernández Carvajal tells us that, “…like love, sorrow is an act of the will, not a feeling.” More than that, Fernandez insists, “Sorrow is a gift we must ask for.” ” Note LO: bold markings in quote by me.

Quote from 2008 study on “The anatomy of sorrow: a spiritual, phenomenological, and neurological perspective”

A Google search revealed two recent books that are about the gift of sorrow:

In the words of Ronald Pies: “Sorrow, a gift? This counter-intuitive perspective is nicely elucidated by the psychotherapist and former Catholic monk Thomas Moore:”

“Sorrow removes your attention from the active life and focuses it on the things that matter most. When you are going through a period of extreme loss or pain, you reflect on the people who mean the most to you instead of on personal success; and the deep design of your life, instead of distracting gadgets and entertainments. You may be more open to the beauty of your world as a relief from distress. Beauty is always present, but ordinarily you may not notice it because of your priorities or your absorption in other things.”

Quote from 2008 study on “The anatomy of sorrow: a spiritual, phenomenological, and neurological perspective”

The words of Thomas Moore (b.1940) feel valid, except for the “period of extreme loss or pain”. I do not recognize that. There’s an alternative explanation though: I’m an empath. I do feel the collective “period of extreme loss or pain”. That (also) explains why I prefer (my) solitude (eg, MJ, PT, Quora).

Thomas Moore is right: sorrow will force you to focus (again) on your choices and priorities. The (likely) outcome is count your blessings:

And give thanks to the master
That through all the disaster
We’re still here together after
Better count your blessings

Excerpt of Count Your Blessings from the album Distant Relatives (2010) by Damian Marley and Nas (eg, video)

Fountain of Sorrow (1974) by Jackson Browne
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-artist, Wiki-album, Wiki-song

[Chorus]
Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light
You’ve known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight
You’ve had to hide sometimes but now you’re all right
And it’s good to see your smiling face tonight

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.

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