By Fr. Anthony a. Okorie, FRC
Life on earth is full of ups and downs. Without warning, adversity may strike. Hours ago, your world may have been a peaceful cove of tranquillity, only for it now to resemble a raging storm.
Adverse conditions manifest through divergent means—the loss of a dear one, betrayal by friends, the loss of a job, ill health, financial crisis, natural disasters etc.
These problems are fundamentally the same because their resultant effects are usually distressful. None of us knows how or when adversity will come, but we all know that we will face the acid test of adversity at some point in life. How then can we handle adversity?
Coping With Adversity
Our response to adversity reveals our true nature. As mystics, we should understand that living without a challenge is not the ideal way to live. Mystical development results from an ever-persistent striving to learn from each experience that confronts us from time to time.
Adversity is not evil. It is a necessary tool for our overall growth. Today’s conquest enables us to acquire new strengths in preparation for the greater challenges ahead. We gain inner wisdom, and our vision about life is broadened.
Many great inventions or achievements have occurred after a series of trials and tribulations. “Gold is refined by fire; iron is shaped, moulded and beaten only after being intensely heated.”
If we truly want the best out of life and sincerely wish to be used by the Cosmic to accomplish great good, we must be prepared to travel the way of adversity at some point in life.
Therefore, regardless of its source or form, adversity is designed to be a turning point from which we take our greatest leap forward.
Techniques for Overcoming Adversity
Every problem has a solution. There are several techniques we can utilise to conquer or ameliorate adversity’s effects in our lives. Three beneficial techniques are relaxation, thought therapy and cosmic attunement.
Relaxation is the key that opens the door to concentration, meditation and inspiration. We can relax by taking deep or neutral breaths before any mystical exercise. Our anxieties, fears, worries and frustrations gradually disappear when we relax properly. Nothing is ever achieved in a confused state of mind. Relaxation allows the inner self to function normally. We gain inspiration, and the solutions to our problems and that of others are revealed to us.
The importance of thought therapy is evidenced by the fact that several calamities befall us due to our wrong and negative thoughts. We think ourselves into poverty and sickness. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”. Thought creates reality. We can use this universal law to our advantage by consciously changing our thought patterns towards the finer things of life. Great and noble thoughts will create a great and noble future.
Lack of proper cosmic attunement is the real cause of every difficulty. Regular attunement with the ‘Master Within’ would give us the solutions to most of our daily problems. Attunement enables us to be at one with nature’s creative, constructive forces. We become co-creators with God and the directors of our daily affairs. This communion with the consciousness within is the greatest key of the mystic.
From all the adversity you have faced so far in life, take just a small moment to reflect on what you learnt from it. When you have realised the lesson, do not dwell on the problem any longer. Whatever we focus on becomes dominant in our thoughts, and we want our dominant thoughts to be on the positive things in our lives. The following quotation from Seneca will assist us in our journey through life. “Happy is the man who can endure the highest and lowest fortune. He who has endured such vicissitudes with equanimity has deprived misfortune of its power”.