In preparation for my talk on OVERCOMING ADVERSITY I came to realize that there are some
real positive consequences of dealing with life's difficulties.
We need to begin with an assumption, the premise that adversity is not a consequence of punishment nor should we regard ourselves as victims. Either attitude merely worsens the experience of facing what is a universal human experience. If we can see ourselves as 'spiritual beings having a human experience' [part of the quote from the late French Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin] we can regard such encounters with adversity as testing grounds for the soul.
Overcoming adversity becomes a prime reason for our existence–learning to face and transform the suffering into a positive state of awareness. This is synonymous with healing.
Facing adversity can lead us to shed some of our layers of ego protection we have erected during our lifetime. We can release the false bravado, the competitive drive to be number one and recognize that HUMILITY in the face of life's challenges is a more enlightened spiritual perspective.
We can recognize that adversity challenges us to find an inner COURAGE and STRENGTH we did not know we possessed. By overcoming these challenges, we can acquire a confidence, even a form of immunity to future adversity.. We become aware that we can SURVIVE far more stress than we could have imagined.
Adversity should make us more COMPASSIONATE towards the needs of others who are also suffering. We see tremendous outpourings of loving compassion, charity and caring for others during times of large scale tragedies. Natural disasters, 9-11 and times of war reveal what is often a hidden human capacity for compassion. We rise to a higher spiritual plane during those times.
During difficult and challenging personal experiences, we recognize what is truly significant in our lives. Many of our material dreams, goals and aspirations pale in comparison to being there for a distressed loved-one, or facing our own adversity. We re-evaluate what really counts in life–love, laughter and day to day appreciation of the gift of life. GRATITUDE for what we do have, rather than greed towards what we are still 'missing' can be an gift to us as well.
Metaphysical awareness is a tool by which we reach a higher understanding of the nature of reality. It is also a method of preparing ourselves for the inevitable challenges adversity brings.