………The third kind of person is found at the deepest level of life where integrity is grounded in vision and in values found only after losing the innocence of superficial hopes and dreams.
The third kind of person survives some life-changing defeat or loss and suffers a descent in life that makes them aware of the agonies and tragedies experienced by so many throughout the world. Such a descent can be quite private, as in the case of a debilitating illness or the loss of a loved one. It can also occur as part of a collective tragedy, as in the case of war, a terrorist act or a natural disaster that alters the lives of many people at once. Either way, the stricken person finds themselves in a dark night of the soul, alone with the remnants of broken dreams, lost in a darkness that erases all sense of hope.
To despair means to have lost all hope, to feel both hopeless and helpless in the face of overwhelming forces of violence, betrayal or tragic loss. Yet, if we are willing to face the darkness, a deeper level of understanding can be felt and a deeper dream of life can be found.
Because of this deeper knowledge, those who survive loss know who they are at their core; they also know the core values and ideals upon which humanity depends. They cannot be manipulated by fear or greed, cannot be shaken by threats or be pressured to act against either their own integrity or the interests of the greater good. We look to them to preserve the highest sense of human value and the deepest sense of human connectedness. In this way the third level of awareness produces the truly inspired leaders, the wounded healers, and the wise counselors who know that the ideals of humanity must be upheld precisely when the darkness and confusion around us grows.