Monday, August 11, 2008

Adversity As Teacher

Adversity As Our Teacher

The Loss of A loved One
By Ed Komarek
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One of the most difficult lessons we all must learn is inherent in the loss of a loved one. I guess that this is such a difficult lesson because it takes some very basic knowledge of life and living to be able to learn from this lesson. Many people end up devastated or damaged for life because they are unable understand this kind adversity. We have been programmed to inherently consider the loss of a loved one as a bad thing, an adverse experience that harms rather than helps us evolve.

We either become stronger through adversity or we become crushed by it. Adversity is a powerful and profound teacher but only those who have become strong through self understanding can profit rather than be crushed by this severe teacher. With a proper understanding of life one is able to personally benefit from adversity rather than be crushed by it.

To be able to profit from the loss of a loved one we must first be willing to consider and ask questions like: Why is this happening to me? Why this very difficult lesson now? What can I do to transform my admittedly destructive response to adversity into something positive? Is this something I am willing to allow myself to do for my own personal growth and development?

If we can say get ourselves to answering these questions in the affirmative then we are on a path toward greater learning and enlightment. We can then ask another set of questions to be answered in the affirmative. Why do I suffer? What is the root cause of suffering?
For those that have had some experience with eastern teachings like Buddhism the answer is attachment causes suffering. More correctly the inability to detach from people and things causes suffering. Therefore the remedy is to practice detachment.

This can best be explained by using a movie analogy. When we first come into a theater we are aware of the theater and the seats and that we are about to watch a movie. If the movie is good we soon lose consciousness of ourselves, the theater, other people etc. and begin to participate in the movie as reality. For all intents and purposes just as with a good book we have had our consciousness moved from one reality to another. We may become so involved in the movie that we become overwhelmed and participate in the emotions and thought of the lead character. In a sense we become that character until the show ends.

There are few of us who at certain points during the movie pull back and ask the question: What is this character and movie teaching? Why am I here? What am I trying to learn from this? What is the lesson? Instead most of us become captured and owned by the drama into which we have become immersed. It is only after the movie is ended that we begin to think once again think and feel for ourselves and contemplate what we have just experienced. Only when the dream or movie is ended to we experience detachment, reflection and learning from the experience.

It’s important to understand that it is possible to wake up, detach and reflect on the experiences being presented by life as they occur. We can do this to free ourselves from any suffering we may find ourselves in and substitute a harmful reaction with a positive one. If we can stand back and get perspective we can then make an effort to change the negative reaction to the experience and sometimes even the experience itself. Most people often become overwhelmed by the experiences being presented to them in life and loose their free will and control over their mind and emotions, just as do the people in the movie theater.

Waking up in life or detaching from life from time to time can allow us control over our negative reactions such as to the loss of a loved one and even transform other relationships that we still have through this loss. We can come to appreciate what we still have rather than suffer a loss for what we no longer have. In fact by remaining stuck in suffering we shut ourselves off from our social environment making life difficult not only for ourselves but for others as well.

So the lesson being presented by life through the loss of a loved one is to learn to let go of the departed so as to love and embrace those entering into your life. If you study life carefully you can see it’s like you are on a moving train with an endless set of experiences and lessons entering into and leaving your field of view. You may even come to consider the possibility that life is a sophisticated virtual reality program, an allegory, a story that teaches. Nothing is really lost and everything is to be gained from a proper positive attitude toward life and living.