Dear Ones —

I've spent a lot of my life searching for the light. Trying to find grace. Trying to find glory. Trying to find guidance. Trying to find my path.

Searching, searching, searching.

You look up "seeker" in the spiritual dictionary, there's a picture of me.

But back when I was going through my own dark night of the soul, searching like crazy for the light, I figured this out: That if I wanted to find light in certain circumstances, I might have to bring it there myself.

It's difficult to generate light when you're going through depression, misery, and doubt.

But it is not impossible.

I began a simple practice, of steadfastly wishing blessings upon every person I encountered. I was in living in New York City at the time, where you encounter lots of people a day, so that was a good place to practice.

When I walked down the street, I started making sure to look at every single face I passed — really look at that person — and then I would silently say to that human being, "May you know happiness. May you be free from suffering."

I'd sit on the subway and do the same thing, all the way down the car, looking at each face carefully and repeating in my head:

"May you know happiness. May you be free from suffering."

This was how I decided to bring the light. I was desperately searching for happiness and an end to my OWN suffering, but I decided to offer up grace to others, instead of always just seeking it for myself.

I couldn't tell if it was working for anyone, but over time this practice did something to change me. Depression is by its nature narcissistic: All you can think about is your own gloom and loneliness. This practice forced me to move out of myself, and made me focus on all the other people around me. When I looked at each face and offered my prayer for that person's happiness, I really meant it. And when I wished for them to be free from suffering, I REALLY meant it — because I was suffering myself, and I knew how awful it was. I would never wish that on anyone.

I was also able to feel that this is what they all wanted, too — whoever they were. To be happy. To be free from suffering.

It made me feel less alone, and it stirred a fire in my heart. It brought some light into me.

Three months into this practice, I was on the crowded subway one evening, offering up my standard silent blessings, when a young woman approached me. She said, "You're going to think this is crazy, but my two friends and I have an extra ticket to Carnegie Hall tonight, to see a piano concerto. Our fourth friend bailed on us, and we were trying to figure out what to do with the ticket. We noticed that you have such a kind face, so we decided to ask if you'd like to join us."

No joke, you guys.

I had no plans for the evening (like most recently divorced people!) so I agreed. I got off at the next stop with them, and we all went to Carnegie Hall together — something I had never done before — and I heard the most beautiful music you could imagine.

And the whole time I was in that giant gorgeous concert hall, I kept looking around at all the people in the audience…and you know what I was saying to each and every one of them:

"May you know happiness. May you be free from suffering."

This is how you find the light: YOU BRING THE LIGHT.

All my love,

via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall