Life has its summers and its winters. When the light is fading for a period, it seems like it might never return. Everything in our life seems to grow colder, less merciful. Even just staying right where we are, without advancing an inch, seems to take a Herculean effort.
According to Buddhist teaching, life is suffering, and it is at these times of personal hardship that we feel it the most. For one person, it may be extreme financial hardship and threat of homelessness. For another, it may be the loss of a loved one.
Someone else may lose their job and see their career come to a permanent end. For someone else, it may be the unbearable bleakness of rejection by that longed-for sweetheart.
Yet, we would do well at these times to recall the words of Napoleon Hill: “Every adversity carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit”. If you are experiencing such a bleak period at present, take these words to heart and repeat them often, making an affirmation of them. They are the truth, and they will manifest the truth they speak of in your life, if you take them into your heart and believe them.
Life is always set to test us, for it is only in being tested that we can grow stronger. We may wish the test had not come, but if it had not, then we could not learn the lesson that it brings in its wake. There is no such thing as “failure”, if you refuse to permit its presence. There is only “temporary defeat”. Of course, it never looks that way whilst you are in the midst of it.
A good approach is to take the position of an “inverse paranoid”. In other words, no matter what happens, believe that life is secretly conspiring to do you good, but is just pretending to do you ill. Adopt the attitude of the multi-millionaire businessman, W. Clement Stone, who would always respond “That’s good!”, no matter what calamity befell him.
Truly, by taking this attitude, you are being no less “realistic” than the person who approaches the situation with gloom and pessimism. What you see is what you get, since your thoughts attract to themselves situations and events of similar character.
Hence, by taking the relentlessly positive approach, you condition your mind to be in the very best state to get you out of the temporary mess you seem to be in. Moreover, by focusing on what you want, and not dwelling on what you do not want, you cause that miracle mind of yours to go to work to manifest it in your reality.
It is the same with striving to reach a desired objective. The great marketing expert, Gary Halbert, once said that between where you are now, and where you want to get to, there are a finite number of mistakes to be made. You don’t know how many there are in advance, but once you get to your goal and look back, you will. Therefore, resolve to make those mistakes as fast as possible! That way, you will get to your goal all the quicker.
It makes sense if you think about it. Too many people are discouraged if they are beset with difficulties, or if what they strive for does not arrive as fast as they would like. Yet, it is only in persisting through adversity, and never giving up, that we develop our character and become the person we would wish to be.
If you are coping with loss of a loved one, there is still a lesson to be learned. You might dwell upon the temporary nature of life, and this might give you a new sense of urgency to live to the full, to prize every moment, and to value the ones you love even more. You may even gain a perspective on the reality of your own inevitable physical death. Alternatively, you may come to the realization (only a theory up to this point in your life) that your loved one really does live on, but has merely changed form.
Loss of a job can give you the opportunity (better described as the long-awaited kick up the backside) you have needed to start a new business, and do what you always dreamed of. Financial hardship may teach you the lesson to resolve to never again be poor, to do what it takes to be wealthy, and to examine the deep-seated negative beliefs about money and yourself that have brought you to this point in life.
Whatever happens that seems adverse, there is always a valuable benefit to be gained, such that if you treat the opportunity properly, you will gain something so valuable that you would not wish to have missed the experience of it all. Adopt the “Mystery School” approach to life. In ancient Mystery Schools, initiates were taught deep truths about life through mythological stories and dramas. However, they also came to regard their very lives in similar manner, as valuable teaching experiences. Consider your life as a specific curriculum in a school of education, set in motion by a higher power. Try to discern what the lesson and benefit is in this current challenge you face. See the good in it and act on it.
Life is full of hardship and pain. Yet, it is also full of opportunity at the same time. In times of old, a blacksmith’s arm only became strong through meeting continual and strong resistance. In like manner, you can only become strong and develop to the full through meeting resistance and overcoming it.
Remember these ideas the next time winter enters your life. Remember too, that like all cycles, this too shall pass, and summer shall surely return.
Copyright Asoka Selvarajah. All Rights Reserved.