A great opportunity is hidden inside every difficult situation. Necessity is an extremely strong catalyst for development. It comes to wake us up. It’s a GIFT we must learn to recognize and appreciate.
My mother conveyed love for knowledge to me. In desperate deepest moments, words of several masters I’ve got the opportunity to meet during my life encouraged and supported me, exactly as the loving nurse’s arms lulling his baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. Nietzsche has been one of the thinkers who impressed me most.
There, I imagine to talk with him in difficult moments, to commend his ingenuity, perspicacity, depth of thought, refined sense of humor. I see him imperturbable, sharing the same contemplative behavior of a Buddhist monk looking at human events from above, as an eagle.
He is present to himself, living here and now. As a snake naturally descending in the bowels of the Earth, he is able to penetrate into the mystery of existence at a glance, piercing the surface and arriving directly to the vibrant heart of things.
During one of ours dialogues, he told me he imagines difficulties as a box full of darkness with an egg of light hidden inside.
He encourages me to go to the heart of things, not allowing human desperation to overwhelm me, and to suffer with dignity. He reminds me that human beings have the power to be competent even in the most difficult situations.
The secret is to assume the eagle perspective, in making sure that emotions can be the necessary fuel to make a heroic quest, instead of being an obstacle.
There are three possible paths in front of a trouble. We can choose to bask in the complaint, with the unaware purpose to show ourselves as victims in the eyes of others so that they feel sorry for us, or we can choose the accusation path. The third path is the most difficult to walk on, but it’s the only one that will let us enjoy an exceptional view once arrived at the top. Creativity is an extremely effective way to bypass the hurdle.
Mulan is a masterpiece of the Walt Disney Production. It tells the story of a girl who dislikes to be a submissive bride. She decides to dress like a man and to go to war replacing her father, old and sick. During a very harsh training, one of the tasks to pass is to climb up a pole bringing two weights that symbolize discipline and strength, the two necessary ingredients to achieve a goal. The early attempts miserably fail but, just when she’s ready to surrender, she has an intuition. She ties together the two weights so that she can have her hands free, compensating her lack of strength by genius. She turns her vulnerability into her strength.
There. I think that when old solutions are unable to solve new problems, it’s necessary to use inspiration.
The state of suffering, sickness, a catastrophe, as events out of ordinary, impose a gap in the normal way of being.
In these moments we are put in front of our fears, vulnerabilities, weaknesses. We remember we are alive only to work, shop and pay bills. We may realize our dissatisfaction, unhappiness, and that our real needs are not satisfied. Perhaps we finally acknowledge that we’re no more emotionally involved with our partner, that we’re working below our potential, that we have no more affinity with friends we go hanging around with because we have become too different. We may realize that we didn’t fully live our life, that we let routine anesthetize us, that we just followed other people’s beaten tracks without having really had the courage to follow our own tendencies.
Then an accident arrives, an important mourning, a social crisis. A wake-up call that obliges us to realize the situation has taken a dramatic turn. Something must be done at once before it’s too late.
Can we really say that these ills are so bad that there is not some good in it, if they help us to differentiate between superfluous and essential, if they enable us to relativize daily trifles very often considered too much important while at meantime we forget the immensity we belong to and we often absentmindedly benefit from?
When is an ill not considered an opportunity to make a change? When we add neurotic suffering to necessary and physiologic suffering, which is strictly connected to the human condition. The necessary suffering is the one that cannot be avoided, not even all united religious traditions would be able to prevent it. The necessary suffering is the one we feel when we break a leg, when we suffer injustice, when our beloved partner cheats us, when we get sick. The neurotic suffering is the one we bring to ourselves when we let emotions, guilty feelings, and fears dominate ourselves and, mostly, when we go on complaining.
An often mentioned but seldom understood maxim, linked to the Buddhist tradition, says that our worse enemy can’t hurt us so deeply as our uncontrolled thoughts.
Only during a storm a sailor can push his limits and become a capable navigator. Difficulties are essential; they make us strong and temper us. Without them we’d go soft.
Losing our head during difficult situations increase danger and make us lose sight of the opportunity inside the trouble.
Trust, calmness, safety during uncertain, uncommon, and less defined situations are essential, but there is something even more important.
It’s necessary to educate ourselves to see the COLLATERAL BEAUTY. It is even inside the ugliest drama, in the most destructive tragedy, just like the heat of the sun that will never stop shining to make life possible, even during a hurricane. It’s hidden, but it is there.
It’s crucial for us to learn to discern new opportunities inside suffering. Let’s cultivate love for life, humanity, and all living creatures, instead of drama.
The joy of Being, despite all.
Iolanda Della Monica
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