There was an article last week in the Huffington Post celebrating folks who had achieved their weight-loss goals.
One woman, in particular, named Kendra was a full-time mother and employee who had a hard time eating and exercising while maintaining her busy schedule. Eventually, her high blood pressure and physical pain brought her to the point where her doctor told her that her life was in danger due to her obesity. At that point, she made her health a priority and managed to turn around her situation completely, ultimately losing 86 pounds.
I mention this story because it is very clear that if we want to change something in the physical world, we need to make an effort and be willing to face the challenges, even when they appear insurmountable.
The problem is that oftentimes we don’t understand spirituality in the same vein as we understand physicality.
For example, there are expressions that we use all the time about physical fitness, such as “no pain no gain,” “get out there and sweat,” or “stretch, hurt, feel it, and become stronger.” What we don’t realize is that the spiritual world works the same way: No pain, no gain. Just as in physical strength training, we have to feel it, question it, and really see if our certainty is real.
All of us can be very spiritual when things are right. But when things go wrong, it can be all too easy for us to throw over the bucket and give up. To grow spiritually and to reach the next level in our lives, we need to ask ourselves a tough question: When we reach the point where things are not what they are supposed to be, how do we react? Are we certain of our spiritual path at that point? Are we certain that there is a bigger plan and purpose to every event that takes place in our lives? Do we truly understand that all we are is the ability to climb the spiritual ladder and, in so doing, to reveal Light in the world? Every time we get hit with a situation where someone negative turns to us and says, “You can’t make it, you won’t get there,” do we throw in the towel or do we see it as an opportunity and push forward?
There is a kabbalistic story about a man who was put in charge of a kingdom while the king was away. The king’s advisors were so jealous of this man that they beat him up one afternoon while he was going about his duties in the palace. When the king returned and found his trusted friend beaten and bleeding on the ground, he asked, “What happened to you?”
The man replied, “When you left, everyone was jealous of me and they beat me to the ground.”
“How many times did they hit you?” asked the king.
“Thirty-six times,” replied the man.
At that moment, the king took out 36 gold coins and gave them to the man: one gold coin for every time the man had been hit.
When the man returned home, he was crying. When his wife, confused, asked why are you crying now?, he said, “Why didn’t they beat me more?”
The point of this parable is not, God forbid, that we should all ask to be beaten. But the story does challenge us to look at our difficulties from a different perspective and to appreciate them for what they truly are: opportunities to reveal more of our potential in this world. How many of us really seek out challenges or uncomfortable situations as golden opportunities for us to change or grow our consciousness or to motivate us to do more for ourselves and others?
This week, let’s remember that whatever is happening in our lives is actually there to bring us to the next level. The consciousness constantly in front of us must be: I don’t know why I have to take this road, but I do know that this is the road that’s going to make things better in the end.