I found this blog post from Jeffrey Pierce of Oldways.com to be of great help and comfort for me , I consider Jeffrey to be my ‘online’ teacher on this path. I like all of us face difficult challenges , some face major ones every now and again, and some of us face challenges on a continual basis. Is the world against us? Is God/ess mad at us? Is the Universe telling us that we are bad and doing a lousy job? Many of us take these challenges we face very personal. But the fact of the matter in my mind is that we are here for a purpose, we are here to grow , learn and mature through our challenges , that we all face, to hone our skills and develop our gifts and talents. Granted there are some things that happen to us because what we sow we reap and that is a spiritual law here in this physical world. But there is a lot of things not of our doing , but what ever the source we need to know that we are in boot camp and the going gets hard more often than not. I personally do not believe we were created just so we can have a good time and have all we want when we want it. That mindset just does not ring true with what I have experience in my life and what I have seen in the lives of those I love. Life happens and I believe that this life is school , teaching us what we need to know for the next life, which will have its own challenges .
THE SECRET OF OUR CHALLENGES
January 2, 2011
by Jeffrey Pierce
My daughter, Munin, is a talented young musician. She recently graduated to the sixth grade and her school skipped her ahead to the seventh grade advanced band where she’s second chair in her section. Getting Munin to practice is easy. The girl loves to play music and does so for hours each day. Where the challenge comes in is in teaching her that simply practicing isn’t enough.
Challenges show us where we’re weak, where our skills are lacking, and they bring our insecurities and vulnerability to the surface. Facing challenges show us that we’re strong, that our skills are still elevating, and that we become secure and confident where we once lacked both. To improve in anything, you have to push your limits. Any warrior can tell you this. Whether you’re training in a martial art, practicing for an athletic event, or trying to improve any skill, you improve by attempting what is difficult, not by staying within your comfort zone. Even when you’re engaged in something very familiar – whether it’s a piece of music, a drill in sports, or simply time on the treadmill – those who excel tell you that they still push themselves, seeking to master those simple tasks so that each crescendo, each throw, each stride is perfectly executed.
In our studies we learned that The Emerald Tablet reminds us of the concept of “As above, so below.” Simply put, physical and spiritual reality mirror each other. The concepts required on one level for transformation also hold true on the other. It’s in this parallel that we discover the secret of our challenges.
When we face challenges in our world, it’s not because we’ve done something wrong. It’s fairly common in spiritual circles to hear someone ask, “What are you doing to attract this energy?” whenever difficult moments arise on our path. The concept at the heart of that presepective is that the challenges we face are somehow our doing. Taking things a step further, it’s implied that since we attracted those challenges, that by altering our behavior or path, we can remove those challenges. In other words, a life without challenges is one where we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing. This strongly implies that the challenges we face are wrong – or that we’re doing something wrong because we’re facing them.
What if we’re facing challenges simply because we’re strong enough to do so?
Pushing your boundaries beyond your comfort zone hurts. In music, the melody falters where it typically flows. In sports, you fail in drills over and over again until you develop the ability to complete the task. In martial arts, you’re defeated and pick yourself up from the canvas time and time again.
Challenges show us where we’re weak, where our skills are lacking, and they bring our insecurities and vulnerability to the surface.
Facing challenges show us that we’re strong, that our skills are still elevating, and that we become secure and confident where we once lacked both.
Growth happens beyond our comfort zone. That does not mean the process is going to be fun. It doesn’t mean that it won’t hurt. There is no implied promise that you won’t find yourself in tears from frustration or heartbreak. All that’s promised is that you can do it – not because you already know how or already possess the strength, but because you’re capable of developing the strength, insight, and ability to overcome it. Approach your challenge like a musician, an athlete, or a martial artist who is facing a difficult drill. Break the challenge down into smaller pieces. Where is the struggle coming from? Is it technique? Timing? Perspective? Do you need to let go of something to fully embrace what’s in front of you? Instead of simply plowing ahead and taking it on all at once, break the challenge down into pieces you can work with and address each piece you identify to see if it’s the one that holds the key to overcoming the situation.
You can’t take on an army by yourself, but you can face the warrior right in front of you. The key is to approach our challenges, not as a mountain to be climbed, but as a single step to be taken. We can work with small pieces – and every challenge can be broken into pieces we’re capable of having success with.
The next time you find yourself in a rough stretch of your path, don’t get down on yourself. There is never a reason to use the phrase, “I can’t,” when you find yourself knocked on your butt by the challenges at hand. Instead, pick yourself up. Look the challenge in the eye. You may not get it the first time, or the tenth time, but you wouldn’t be facing the challenges if you didn’t already hold the potential to overcome it. Take strength in that. Your struggles aren’t because you’re weak; you’re facing them because you’re strong enough to win.
Jeffrey Pierce . http://oldways.com/