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A crucible is a container that’s used to heat metals and other materials that require a very high temperature in order to melt. Sometimes that’s what our life seems to be: a container for us to melt within.
I notice that many people, if not all of us, on this spiritual path go through a crucible experience. It really does seem as if no one is exempt from this crucible experience.
It also seems that it’s a great purification, if we choose that. If we don’t choose it, the crucible seems to come back for further opportunity to purify.
You may know Arthur Miller’s brilliant play The Crucible, (probably one of the best plays ever written by anyone anywhere) set in the time of the Salem witch hunts, is an allegory for what was happening with McCarthyism, the blacklists and the communist “witch hunt” of the 1950s.
Miller’s play is brilliant on every level and demonstrates what it’s like to be in the midst of a roiling boil of judgement, opinion, condemnation, fear, guilt, shame, blame and emotional overwhelm. A 1996 movie version starts Daniel Day Lewis, Winona Ryder and Joan Allen – it’s worth watching, especially if you’ve never seen the play on stage.
As a Spiritual Counselor and teacher since 2000, in my observation of people, pretty much everyone goes through at least one major crucible experience where it feels like you’re being attacked from all sides. It seems like a punishment, but it’s actually come to help us.
We can take this experience as a nightmare that we’re trying to escape from or fix, but there’s another way to look at this hellish crucible in our lives that actually turns it into a golden, liberating experience for your heart and mind. It is a profound spiritual alchemy opportunity. It’s a path of liberation. And, it is for those who are more interested in living a life of Love than in looking good or being right.
To be able to rise above the experience of purification, we have to realize that the challenge is for the purpose of training our mind to focus on what we’d like, rather than what we don’t like. It’s a true challenge.
When we can stay focused in faith on what we’d like, then our life really does profoundly change, and forgiveness is the key to making this shift.
If you feel like you’re in a crucible, I invite you to practice gratitude for the purification and relax into willingness to let what doesn’t serve you go. It’s challenging, but when we can do this, the crucible may not need to be repeated! What a blessing that is.
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