Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dealing with Adversity

Dealing with Adversity

We have all heard the term "turn your lemons into lemonade". The difficulty of doing so is the tricky part. A particular verse in the Gita comes to mind - "A person who is not disturbed by happiness and distress and is steady in both is certainly eligible for liberation." This verse touches on a consideration we ignore in our determined pursuit of happiness. We tend to think that it is all about being steady in distress, not being overcome by the negatives and the setbacks in life. In actuality the key to dealing with adversity and distress is in how we deal with happiness and the good times.

As counter-intuitive as this may sound it is actually easier to turn our setbacks into victories than to turn our victories into resounding successes. We have also heard the phrase "nothing fails like success". This is true. This is particularly why the Gita extols us to "be steady" even in happiness and not be sidetracked and overwhelmed by our experiences of happiness.

The Gita tells us that our experiences of both happiness and distress are like our experiences of winter and summer, they will come and go. The key is to remain unfazed by both experiences so that we can achieve success in our spiritual journey and over the long run. We must learn to enjoy and appreciate our experiences of happiness without being attached to them. In doing so we are more able to endure and move through the inevitable experiences of distress also without identifying with those experiences and thus becoming emotionally and spiritually incapacitated.

It is how we deal with our experience of happiness that tells how we will deal our experience of distress. Remember: "A person who is not disturbed [influenced, controlled] by distress AND happiness is certainly eligible for liberation."

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