2017 © Eric Christopher Webb
When we are confronted with challenges and struggles, it is natural for us to become consumed with what we are forced to endure: the discomfort, the sadness, the suffering, and the hardship.
The pain blinds us. Our suffering is even amplified as we recount our woes to whoever will listen. Momentarily, it offers us relief, but in the end, we are left frustrated, unsatisfied, empty, and overwhelmed.
And even after we have endured and overcome our trials, few of us will dedicate equal time for reflection on the lessons learned or even for the celebration of the triumph. Once it’s done, it’s done and we are on to the next roadblock.
The old adage which claims that what does not kill us makes us stronger is somewhat a misnomer since it can also make us more oblivious and numb to what caused our suffering in the first place. Unfortunately, tolerance or endurance of suffering does not constitute strength or self-improvement.
In Buddhism, it is believed our suffering is based on our choices. And ironically, these choices, whether conscious or subconscious, even if we agree or disagree, were made to help us arrive at enlightenment, or our own realization of who we are. Simply put, our choices merely dictate the smoothness or rockiness of our road or journey not necessarily its final destination.
Ultimately, suffering is sometimes good, but not in the masochistic sense. Suffering forces us from our comfort zone. It forces us to see things in their starkest terms. It challenges us to do things differently or even better. It also calls our attention to a narrative or cycle we overlook, but almost religiously follow or repeat.
For example, job losses or layoffs may ultimately force us to pursue what will become successful, multi-million entrepreneurial ventures instead of seeking yet more unsatisfying, but decently paying full-time jobs.
Domestic violence becomes the final straw in a long line of emotionally-abusive relationships. We leave, seek counseling, and subsequently discover hidden, early, personal traumas which encourage us to attract abusive people to our lives. We address them, transform ourselves and finally meet the loves of our lives.
Overall, if we fail to grasp what our trials were meant to teach us or move us towards, we are destined to repeat them. While these trials may not appear the same, the reason for them will be.
In its rawest form, we continue as hamsters on wheel or as the racing hounds chasing the mechanical rabbit around the track until we find ourselves corralled once again. We free ourselves when we realize the psychology we are trapped and do something about it.
Ironically enough, the universe is not engaged in a conspiracy against us. For the most part, it wants us to become what we are meant to and reap all that it has to offer. Generally speaking, we must get out of our own way.
This, however, does not excuse the unwarranted attacks or actions others have taken against us to make our journey or lives more difficult. They, too, will eventually either learn or suffer from them as we have. And if they persist once we have triumphed, rest assured, they will have ultimately cultivated their own purgatories to reside.
The WordsByWebb blog distributes a weekly quotation and reflection every Tuesday from National Black Authors Tour bestselling author and multi-talented writer Eric Christopher Webb (E.WEBB?!) to inspire, motivate and encourage personal development of its readers. The blog also regularly shares news, updates, new poetry and excerpts of the writer’s latest work. Webb, a spoken word artist, former Washington News Correspondent for Thomson Newspapers and nationally-syndicated Soul Searching columnist, has also been featured in movies, music videos, commercials and literary documentaries on HBO, BET Weekend’s Evening of Spoken Word, BET’s Rap City, Video Jukebox, The Party Machine, The Learning Channel, Voice of America and XM Radio. He is the author of five books, including "The Garvey Protocol: Inspired By True Events," a 2013 Phillis Wheatley Book Award Finalist for First Fiction and the National Black Authors Tour bestseller, "Love Letters, Death Threats & Suicide Notes." He has also contributed to numerous anthologies, journals and magazines.
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