What is the greatest spiritual challenge?

Arianna Huffington
Health Education

The greatest spiritual challenge is to keep our hearts open while deflecting darkness and negativity. Until we can achieve this state of being, we must at least not allow painful experiences to close down our hearts permanently. Ultimately, the way we respond to the nameless, the homeless -- the “strangers” -- is the true test of our spiritual mettle, the true test of relationships as a thread through the labyrinth of our own lives.


“Don't talk to strangers!” we are taught from the moment we are able to talk. But if we do not talk to strangers, if we do not expand the circle of our affections and our caring, then we simply are not choosing to evolve. I, of course, did not send my young daughters to Central Park alone to talk to strangers. But while I taught them about caution and judgment, I also encouraged them to trust, to learn to share with strangers, as they learned to share with each other (eventually!). I preferred that they would be duped a few times than go through life mistrustful and barricaded, never taken in because they were never vulnerable.


So long as we are on a search for pain-free human relationships, or shifting responsibility for all our hurt and all our fears of abandonment, or seeking ourselves in others, we have not yet found the thread that will lead us toward our true selves. When we learn to accept ourselves -- not just our public achievements and private successes but also our failures, inadequacies, cowardice and fears -- then we will be able to embrace the strangers among us, because we will, finally, have embraced the stranger inside ourselves.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.