I know you’ve suffered. We all have. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t begin our spiritual journey in order to heal.
Isn’t it ironic? That suffering can be our “enemy” but it’s also the mother of joy, gratitude, and especially resilience!
Throughout my life, I’ve always thought that resilience is the power that comes from persistency, non-giving up attitude and a relentless spirit to fight for what I wanted to achieve. Resilience was a measurement of my inner strength. I convinced myself that the power of resilience could only be achieved with my willpower and determination.
But it turned out that I was wrong! And it only took Life a moment to show me the lesson that I now have for a lifetime.
Let me share with you the experience:
Ten years ago I was going through a difficult period of my life. I was the main caretaker of my parents, I went through a painful break-up and I also faced hardships career-wise. Challenges and difficulties were not strangers to me, but it was a new experience because every area of my life was fallen apart at the same time.
Being a stubborn person as I was, I did everything I could to survive emotionally. I also thought that the solution was to use my willpower to fight my way through, and it was the only way for me to be resilient. I applied everything I’ve learned throughout my Zen practice to overcome the period, and yes, I breathed and breathed.
But one night, everything changed. I was standing in front of the mirror, looking at myself deeply in the eyes. I was sobbing, and thinking:
“I cannot take it anymore. I just cannot take it anymore!”
At that moment, the emotional burden caused by the sufferings was too much for me to bear. I couldn’t continue to be strong. I’ve had enough. And in my head, a new thought came:
“ I give up. I give up.”
I kept repeating the sentence while still looking at myself in the mirror. Suddenly something happened. I felt that the emotional burden was slowly being lifted up from my chest and shoulders. There was a feeling of letting go of everything. My willpower. Strength. Determination. Layer for layer, I let go of them all.
There I was, standing in front of the mirror, breathing and feeling completely naked and exposed. There was no more layer to be peeled away. What was left inside me was a feeling of something that I knew, was real.
Essence of my spirit. That which is eternal and can never be killed by anything.
A deep sense of calmness and peace came over me. But at that moment, I also felt something else.
The power of resilience. I felt its strength like never before. It was there and has always been there. But it didn’t come because I used my willpower to provoke it. It came because I’ve completely let go of everything!
And I truly mean E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G! Pain, judgment and expectation of how I should and must be. Solutions that I thought I needed. Dreams that I thought I must have etc.
At that moment, I understood another paradox of Life. In my vulnerable and naked Self where I thought I was weak because I’ve given up, I found myself being stronger than ever before.
When nothing covers my true essence, its light naturally shines through. It’s raw and flawless. And the power of resilience is nothing more than the Life Force itself; that which cannot be killed but is always transforming through times.
I no longer need my willpower to feel resilient. I only need to stay connected to my Essence and when I’m one with it, I know that I’m strong, resilient, calm and peaceful. All at once.