Recently, I was asked what could I do to help with being in the process of healing and grief from the recent event that has taken place in my life. I responded that I could look for ways to find faith. At that time I can say that I was feeling real low in the faith department.
I was given several books, out the blue, that related to someone’s experience about faith. None of the books that I read really hit home for me. One of the books that I read was a story of a girl that escaped the Rwanda Genocide called, “Led by Faith”. It was a very impactful book, but didn’t t speak to my story and what I was looking for. I have received emails where others mentioned Nelson Mandela and his plight. A good story but I have read several books by him and it didn’t t seem to be what I was looking for in terms of finding a little more faith.
One day out of the blue I get an email from someone very dear and important to me asking me if I had ever read the book Mans Search for Meaning by Dr. Victor Frankl. I replied that I had, and that it was a very good book that I wouldn’t mind reading again. This person had no idea that I was looking for ways to find more faith so I will say that this is an example of the Law of Attraction. The person responds that someone had bought me the book and that I would be getting it in the mail. I was actually excited to get the book again while actually looking for a message.
When I got the book the forward to the book, it is a recent edition, was profound in discussing Dr. Frankl’s purpose for this book. I want to write a little bit of what caught my attention, inspired me and gave me more hope and faith than I have had in a long time.
First, it is important to know that Dr. Frankl’s doctrine of logo therapy is “curing the soul by leading it to find meaning in life.”
Dr. Frankl believed that life is not primarily a quest for pleasure or power, but a quest for meaning.
In the words of Nietzsche: “He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How.” This seems to be his theme as he goes on to describe the prisoners that gave up on life. Of those that gave up on live are those who had lost all hopes for a future, they were inevitably the first to die. They died less from the lack of food or medicine rather than from the lack of hope, lack of something to live for. By contrast Dr. Frankl kept himself alive and kept hope alive by summoning the thoughts of his wife and the prospect of seeing her again, and by dreaming of lecturing after the war about the psychological lessons to be learned from the Auschwitz experience.
Dr. Frankl saw three possible sources for meaning: in work, in love, and in courage during difficult times. Suffering in and of itself is meaningless; we give our suffering meaning by the way in which we respond to it. Dr. Frankl writes that a person,” may remain brave, dignified and unselfish in the bitter fight for self preservation, or he may forget his human dignity he becomes no more that an animal.” He says that only a few prisoners of the Nazis were able to to the former “but even one such example is sufficient proof that man’s inner strength may raise him above his outward fate.”
Profound words spoken by a man that was beaten and tortured. It is further mention that “Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you respond to the situation. You cannot control what happens in life, but you can always control what you will feel and to about what happens to you.”
Upon reading these few pages of the opening of the book it became clear to me that in the end it is I who have the control over what ultimately happens to me. I can be bitter and resentful or I can continually look for ways to find hope, faith and gratitude. I have always known this and have even applied it in certain cases but I have never had to apply this concept of logo therapy at this level. Looking for ways to cure my soul while in a bitter battle to maintain sanity. All of this is a journey, a quest if you like, to find that place where I can summon that inner strength at any given time and during any given situation in a dignified, respectable and healthy manner.
I can not tell you what it is like to be in a concentration camp similar to the ones that Dr. Frankl was held captive in, but I can tell you how it feels to be treated in a less than dignified and respectable manner. I can tell you that in here I am not referred to as Talib but as 11030007, at the end of the day that is who I am and everything about my existence in here is referred to by that number. It is labeled on my clothes and all the other property that I own here.
I can tell you about the modern Capos and about the struggle to stay alive amongst a group of men that are all for self. I can tell you about the mental torture that exists here and how many men succumb to it. How many men have I seen give up hope in the midst of their struggle. I have had friends literally hang up and kill themselves. As they reached the point where life had no meaning. Without meaning there is no reason to live. “He who has a WHY to live can bear almost any HOW”. This is where I was stuck at and life started to look meaningless. The big WHY is what I wrestled with and as a result of not knowing WHY I lost sight on HOW.
What I have realized in my quest for more meaning, faith and hope is that sometimes the WHY is not important, as the WHY may be outside of ones control. If that is the case do you let that stop you from forward progress? No because the WHY has to be what you have inside of you and not what others do or don’t do, we will never understand that question. My goal is to create and live my own WHY so that I can control the HOW. The HOW I respond and feel.
This is how I gained a little more faith!