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  • I had a limited amount of suffering.

  • OK, I was tortured and so on,

  • many people suffered far worse than me.

  • The Archbishop of Canterbury's special envoy, Terry Waite,

  • hasn't been seen for more than 24 hours.

  • Fears are growing that he may be held against his will in West Beirut.

  • Where he's been trying to negotiate the release of more hostages.

  • I had nothing.

  • I never saw the sun, or the sky or felt the wind on my face.

  • That's an extreme situation.

  • But from extreme situations

  • you can take something that is applicable to normal life.

  • Initially I was kept underground, in the cell, and then later on, bombed-out buildings.

  • I slept on the floor.

  • And had nothing.

  • And I just had to say,

  • "How am I going to utilise this time?"

  • "What am I going to do?"

  • I wrote a short poem about anger.

  • Because I was angry at times, and I had to learn how to master anger.

  • And the short poem reads...

  • What I was really saying is that

  • if I allow my understandable anger to get the better of me,

  • it'll destroy me.

  • And it's a natural human force, we all have it.

  • You can't obliterate it totally.

  • But take that force and utilise it constructively.

  • I used to say to myself,

  • although you're in restricted and limiting circumstances,

  • and you've no idea whether you're going to be out tomorrow,

  • whether you're going to be out in five years,

  • whether you're going to die in this place, remember one thing...

  • Not tomorrow, not yesterday, now.

  • And in this moment, don't be defeated.

  • There's no reason to feel sorry for yourself.

  • After 1,763 days in chains,

  • it's an overwhelming experience

  • to come back and receive your greetings.

  • I thought those years in captivity

  • were totally wasted.

  • At the time.

  • But looking back, they weren't.

  • Because I was forced there to use my imagination.

  • I was forced... I wrote my first book in my head.

  • The brain is like a muscle.

  • You use it, or you lose it.

  • Today, it's a great regret to me

  • that the arts, music, literature, poetry,

  • are seen as not being really necessary.

  • Because at times of life,

  • you need to have in your mind something that you can draw on.

  • Something that you can refer to.

  • Something that will fill out your life.

  • So many people are suffering from mental illness.

  • From strain, from stress,

  • from having so much

  • pressure forced on them.

  • And somehow we need, today more than ever,

  • this ability to be at peace with ourselves within.

  • I'm not sure whether ever one reaches a state of complete happiness.

  • It's an elusive term really.

  • I suppose all I can strive for

  • is to have a greater degree of inner contentment.

  • Which is in fact part of the road towards happiness.

I had a limited amount of suffering.

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Terry Waite: What being a hostage taught me about happiness | BBC Ideas

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    Summer posted on 2020/04/23
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