Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Necessity of Tragedy

I have yet to meet a person who enjoys losing things that matter to them - rather most people cling to the things they care about, be they people, possessions, homes or other buildings, careers, cars, animals, even a way of life.

Something happens to us when we feel like we have it good, or feel like things are on the upswing or going well. When we feel better and happier, we tend to forget all about the fight to get there. We forget the bad days, the bad moods, feeling broken down, the tears, the anger, the struggle. We relax, a bit, and we can become complacent.

In terms of spirituality, complacency may as well be death. We aren't striving, we aren't working, we aren't learning, and we aren't growing. We're floating along the the comfortable space that we have found. This rest is of course a necessary part of life... but so is the struggle.

It is we who determine what sorts of struggles we'll encounter in our lives, so to look over at someone else and say "wow, they have it so much easier because they aren't dealing with ________________________" is both unfair and silly. Sure, they may not be suffering what you are suffering but that does not mean they don't feel the same exact way about you because of what they are suffering.

Human viewpoints are narrow by nature. Our scope focuses on our own lives, and then peripherally picks up what is happening around us. We see other people, but we are incapable of understanding them the way that we understand ourselves. In our daily lives, we often forget this. To us, they don't look like they are having any problems but to them they could feel stuck in the center of a tornado.

Not knowing, understanding or talking to someone leads to a lack of understanding about them. It is rare that someone will tell you everything that they are thinking and feeling. In fact, it is so rare it may not happen at all. It becomes nearly impossible to really understand anyone else, so we go on thinking that our problems are the worst things ever, and isn't that person over there lucky they don't have to deal with them.

Rather than wasting energy on feeling bad about what has happened in our lives, we could look for the opportunity.

Every event in our lives offers some opportunity. We have two options. Pursue it or ignore it.

Most of the time, the opportunities that arise are immediately dismissed. We consider it for less than a split second, come up with an excuse as to why it's not worthwhile, and continue on our way. Other times, opportunities loom so large that we actually have to sit down and consider them for a while. Even then, we often opt out and continue on with our lives.

But these events are not just opportunities. They are messages. The universe is reaching out to you and saying "Hey! There's something here that you could learn from. This is something you need! Come take a look." Your path is paved as you walk it. The stones under your feet were laid just before you took a step. If you miss one opportunity, it will probably be thrown back into your path again, and again, and again wearing different disguises but ultimately wanting the same thing from you.

It won't go away, and you can either lock yourself away in your house hiding from the change an opportunity brings, or you can step out, and when it appears you can embrace it and hang on tight for the journey ahead.

Every tragedy bears an opportunity. We are often so overcome by stress or grief that we have trouble seeing it, and sometimes later we look back and understand it better.

You can stay open to the opportunities ahead of you, and the best way to do so is to release the obligations with which you bind yourself. Things like routines and habits become excuses for us to avoid change, as well as unpaid bills, too many possessions, and being too adapted to creature comforts. Work on releasing these bonds and when the next opportunity comes up, you may reach for an excuse and not find one.

Then your only option is to take the opportunity and see where it leads!

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