Facing Adversity in our Life Cycle

Facing Adversity in our Life Cycle

QUESTION: I feel so frustrated at the moment with my career. Just when things are going smoothly – good relationships, lots of creativity and good results, I seem to come up against some snag that slows things down. Sometimes it’s a difficult relationship with a new colleague, at other times my personal health gets in the way. Why can’t things just go smoothly? Why all these ups and downs?


ANSWER: Both your life and fate seem to go in cycles. I cannot say how long each cycle lasts, it may be several years or several months, but one thing is certain – there are times when everything goes well and times when things do not go smoothly. I believe it is in the times of adversity when something truly wonderful is born. At the turning points in your life, inevitably you experience a lack of harmony with your environment and the people around you, and you suffer. But if I were asked whether it would be better for you not to have to go through these times, I would have to say no, because these times of hardship are when marvelous things begin.

Looking at life in this way, you will realize that there is no need to fear adversity. In times of adversity, your soul receives the greatest nourishment and you are able to learn the most important lessons.

This can be likened to the time when the bamboo makes a new joint. It grows eight to twelve inches steadily, until it reaches the point where it needs to create a joint to strengthen the shaft and allow it to grow taller. 

I imagine this must be a painful time for the bamboo.
It probably wishes it could just continue growing smoothly in the same way it has, without stopping to make the joint. It may dream of how wonderful it would be to grow thirty or even sixty feet without interruption. However, it must stop every eight to twelve inches to create a joint to support its growth. I am sure it must experience a feeling of resistance and stagnation when this happens; it must wonder why it is no longer able to grow as it pleases, why it has to suffer such an interruption.

It must be a painful time for the bamboo, because although it wants to continue growing, it has to stop to produce a joint. I imagine it suffers confusion, feeling as if it has come up against a barrier, but soon the energy wells up inside and the joint is created. Once the joint is formed, the bamboo can grow normally again until it is time to make another one.The process of creating these joints may be very painful for the plant, but it is because of the joints that it is able to keep growing taller continuously, although it may not realize it.The joints provide the foundation for its growth. 

What it comes down to is that fate and luck run in cycles.There are times when things go well and times when nothing works out, times of opportunity and times of adversity, which are the periods when you grow and produce joints.Times of adversity are the joints in your life, and after you have created a strong joint, you can advance to the next step.

Look back over your past and consider when you were able to learn the most. I am sure you suffered at times; you may have been hurt by the words of others, you may have had difficulties in your business, even gone bankrupt or suffered illness. However, after an interval of five or ten years, looking back on those experiences, you will realize that they were the times that provided you with your sweetest memories. So when you find life unbearable, tell yourself that you are in the middle of creating a joint before you move forward to the next stage on the path of growth.

Excerpt from Invincible Thinking