“We have all faced moments in our lives when the pressure mounts beyond what we feel we can handle, and we find ourselves thinking that we do not have the strength to carry on. Sometimes we have just gotten through a major obstacle or illness only to find another one waiting for us the moment we finally catch our breath. Sometimes we endure one loss after another, wondering when we will get a break from life’s travails. It does not seem fair or right that life should demand more of us when we feel we have given all we can, but sometimes this is the way life works.
When we look back on our lives, we see that we have survived many trials and surmounted many obstacles, often to our own amazement. In each of those instances, we had to break through our ideas about how much we can handle and go deeper into our hidden reserves. The thought that we do not have the strength to handle what is before us can be likened to the hard surface of a frozen lake. It appears to be an impenetrable fact, but when we break through it, we find that a deep well of energy and inspiration was trapped beneath that icy barrier the whole time. Sometimes we break through by cutting a hole into our resistance with our willpower, and sometimes we melt the ice with compassion for our predicament and ourselves. Either way, each time we break through, we reach a new understanding of the strength we store within ourselves.
When we find ourselves up against that frozen barrier of thinking we cannot handle our situation, we may find that the kindest choice is to love ourselves and our resistance too. We can simply accept that we are overwhelmed, exhausted, and stretched, and we can offer ourselves loving kindness and compassion. If we can extend to ourselves the unconditional warmth of a mother’s love, before we know it, the ice will begin to break.”
Classic wisdom says there is nothing weaker than water, yet when united, it can become a titanic force. Like a tidal wave. Or a river that cuts through gorges. This is called yielding overcoming the hard.
Let’s look at it another way. Water does not overcome because it yields. It overcomes because it is relentless. It perseveres and does not give up. It is constant. Rock can block water. Rock can even hold water in a lake for thousands of years. Why can’t the yielding overcome the hard then? Because it cannot move. It cannot work its magic of being relentless.
Just as water must be able to express its true nature in a relentless way, so too must we simultaneously and relentlessly express our true natures if we are to be successful in life. Otherwise, we will find ourselves hemmed in by the hard walls of reality, and we will never be able to break through.
But how we we acquire such perseverance? We start small. As drops.
“Rummaging in our souls, we often dig up something that ought to have lain there unnoticed. ” ― Leo Tolstoy
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” ― Khalil Gibran
“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.” ― Pema Chödrön
“The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald
“The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.” ― Mother Teresa
“Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.” ― Mahatma Gandhi