There's a crack in everything:

that's how the light gets in

There's a crack in everything - that's how the light gets in.

Ring the bells that can still ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack, a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in. [1]


Leonard Cohen’s striking lyrics help remind us that we don’t need to escape from our humanness in order to find healing and enlightenment. Quite the opposite. God in Christ meets us in our brokenness, in our failures and our wounds, and transforms them into doorways of light.

The path of meditation does not lead us away from the vulnerabilities of the human condition, but helps illuminate and guide us through them.

It is often those who have suffered most, who have met, befriended and lived the truth of their vulnerability, who have a special gift for meditation, who sense most clearly the depthless love which knows and holds all our wounds.

Some people come to meditation thinking (or hoping) that the practice can be used to look away from their wounds, that if they can bury themselves in their practice, they might be able to avoid seeing what they would rather not see and avoid meeting what they need to meet.

Occasionally people think they have failed in their practice when, after meditating faithfully for some time, they discover that they are still who they are, carrying the same vulnerabilities.

But of course, they haven’t failed at all. They have succeeded in meeting themselves. They may have failed to hold onto a false picture of what the spiritual life is about, but they have crossed an essential threshold on their journey into love - to knowing that they are loved just as they are.

One of the seeming paradoxes of meditation is how the indescribable healing and peace we discover comes to us through our wounds and vulnerability. For many people, this breaking through of grace can feel at first like a breaking down, a deconstruction of so much they had believed about themselves and the spiritual journey. What is in every sense a receiving involves a letting go, a releasing.

Most of us, to one extent or another, are deeply conditioned to hide from our vulnerabilities and brokenness. Faced with pain and apparent failure, we routinely tell ourselves painful stories about ourselves, watering deep feelings of shame. All too quickly, we judge ourselves for simply being human. But it is precisely in our humanness, our vulnerability, our woundedness, that we are shown how God enfolds and encloses us in his infinite loving embrace. And it is at these points of pain and self-judgement that the support of a loving practice community is invaluable.

Whatever we might be experiencing in our life, we can choose to grow just where we are planted. We can say “yes” to the subtle invitation in our hearts to open within the ever-present presence of God.

A few months ago, someone emailed to tell me how meditation was helping her find a completely different relationship with her life.

She wrote: “I was scared when I first came to meditation. I was longing for peace and something inside me recognised the wisdom of the practice, but I was scared of being overwhelmed if I stopped running and let everything catch up with me. I’ve spent years carrying a lot of emotional pain. And in order to try and cope, I filled my life with all sorts of activity and busyness.


“I’ve finally seen that I don’t need to run, that I can just be here. Life’s still not easy sometimes, but I know I am free. I am free to meet what I need to meet with more wisdom and compassion. If pain is here, I can just be with it, without judging, without judging myself. To finally have moments of stillness, of peace, to simply be present in the present, is so wonderful.


“I don’t know how to put this, but somehow, even in moments of pain, I know that the deepest part of who I am is love, and that this love is loving me.


“I still have baggage. But I no longer feel that I’m carrying it alone. I have the sense that I’m being carried.”

We are not healed through getting rid of our wounds, or in spite of them, but through them. As Maggie Ross writes in her wonderful book, Silence: A User’s Guide:

“In Christian theology nothing is wasted, nothing is left behind; through wounds comes healing. In the resurrection, the wounds of Christ do not disappear; they are glorified. The desert solitaries tell us that only the devil [ignorance, misperception] disguising himself as Christ has no wounds, being too vain to bear them.” [2]

The path of meditation teaches us how to meet our wounds with compassion and without judgement.

Learning to accept and indwell our vulnerability, we discover a place of deep communion, a place of solidarity and compassion for all in the silent ground of our shared humanity.


Ring the bells that can still ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack, a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in. [1]

Christian meditation - a new way of seeing for a new way of being

If you feel inspired to meditate, you’re very welcome to join one of our free online meditation sessions or read one of our practice guides.


[2] Maggie Ross, Silence: A User’s Guide, Volume 1: Process (Darton, Longman and Todd, 2014), p. 98.


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