I have been working on a talk that I will be giving in before a synagogue group in November. The topic is OVERCOMING ADVERSITY and it is a tremendously relevant as well as challenging topic for me.
It clearly will tap into much that I have written and spoken about regarding happiness, sadness and healing. It will also confront the issue of suffering and redemption. Clearly, how we confront the difficulties within our own lives will determine our level of serenity and happiness.
To experience painful situations is natural, the degree of suffering that follows involves our choice as how to process these experiences.
It brings me to the issue of overcoming adversity–do we ever truly overcome the difficulties we face ? It may very well be that we do not.
Overcoming may not be possible because we are not capable of rising above any experience that we have. Particularly painful and difficult experiences leave an indelible mark upon our minds and hearts.
A better term, I believe, is transformation. Adversity allows us to transform ourselves. We are not capable of denying our feelings or escaping from our dark emotions when we suffer. To attempt to do so can only lead to addictions and future suffering.
Accepting the reality of suffering and learning from it is transformation. When we move through adversity, when we struggle to heal ourselves, we learn that we can survive events and circumstances we would not have deemed possible.
Suffering may be the most powerful teacher of compassion for others. If our own adversity allows us to open our hearts to the pain of others then we can truly regard adversity as a spiritual gift of healing.