In times of great confusion, gloomy episodes, when faced with heavy burdens and despair, among the hardest things to do during those moments is to ask ourselves, what is the lesson here? Can it be, that these very situations are not random acts, but necessary parts of the puzzle we wish to solve?
Like a great tapestry depicting our lives unfolding in fine detail, each thread and dyed segment, depicts a portion of our greater journey. We see the high peaks and low valleys all woven together to create the grand tale, the thrilling adventure, which would only be worthwhile if the triumphs were complimented by the temporary defeats.
The stories of our childhood always held within them, great secrets. The hero of the adventure always faced some setback or troubling event. However, it is only through these worrisome times in which our hero discovered something new. The new skills, tools, discoveries, pathways and wisdom that our hero finds, is only presented to them when they seemingly failed. Through this perceived failure the hero becomes greater than they were when they first set out on their adventure.
All things that we encounter which we do not favor, are often the result of our intentions to change, seek new opportunities and evolve. As soon as we decide on our goal, we set into motion events beyond our understanding, which, through forcing us into submission, encourages us to become better. We are forced to learn, forced to see our situation from new angles, forced to attempt things once thought unimaginable and forced to become who we may be. A great visual example of this is, a series of video games called Dark Souls.
This trial by fire tempers us like a great sword, with it’s metal continually heated and hammered down. Folded over and over, faced with constant flames, tremendous beating and finally an ultimate quench and submersion into an instantly cooled state. This latter event is akin to our sudden revelation. This is our moment of clarity, our brief experience of enlightenment. We now experience with our senses, what was once nonexistent. It is not the same eyes that see the problem which see the solution. Who we were is no longer who we are. Our greatest of setbacks now seemingly move aside, without any effort. What beat us into submission now lies bowed at our feet.
By being constantly stretched beyond our limits, heated by frustration, hammered to our lowest point and folded by force into submission, we have prepared for our moment of ease, the moment when all the difficulties we face are extinguished by our enlightened state.
This is the process that made the ancient samurai sword world renowned for its level of refinement. Even to this day, swords which are hundreds of years old, still have the same strength, flexibility, weight and cutting ability, that held them in such high regard. These swords were known the cut down any obstacle in the path of a samurai with one or two motions. This is the ability we possess as soon as we decide to push ourselves beyond the difficulties, for this is the only process that will allow us to effortlessly pass through any obstacle. Within each troubling situation lies the catalyst for understanding. How great this tool is. Knowing that when we set out to achieve something of tremendous importance to us, our family, our friends and our community as a whole, we have called upon forces unseen to test us at every turn. These tests determine if what we ask for, we truly desire. They help us determine if we are ready to achieve such greatness and if we are not, they help us rise to the occasion and learn what we must in order to, as Thoreau so wonderfully said, “advance confidently in the direction of our dreams to live the life we have imagined”.
Whatever we may face now is only a test to determine if we are yet qualified to live the life we see for ourselves, as the best version of ourselves. Without these tests we called upon, we would remain exactly where we do not want to be. We must continue to embrace this knowing and face whatever may come, knowing that once we prevail, we will no longer be in tune with the events that led us to a state of unhappiness. What we seek, is seeking us. What we wish for is preparing us to experience our wishes fulfilled. What we do not understand today is our catalyst for our understanding of tomorrow.
Will you continue to be beat into submission by forces of seemingly endless might or embrace your darkest moments to temper your will and emerge refined, refreshed and reborn?
Most people, in their restless search for something significant to happen to them, continuously miss the insignificant, which may not be insignificant at all.
– Echkart Tolle