We don’t like adversity. But the greatest stories have the strongest villains, isn’t it? Our enemies are really our friends, because our achievements are only worthwhile because they were difficult. No one brags about winning silver in a two person race.
Today is day 28 of the month of #LivingDeeply. Today we shall fly. Fly to the moon. Fly across islands. And also, just a fly.
Easy choices are easy. and anyone can make them. Tough choices require mettle. More than fifty years ago, Kennedy made a speech about an impossible mission. The US was going to send a man to the moon and bring him back. Why would anyone want to do such a stupid thing? Because it’s difficult, he said.
“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organise and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”
Our enemies are teachers and friends more than our friendly teachers and friends. They teach us how to persevere. They teach us to find things inside ourselves we didn’t know we could do. They teach us to build resilience and strength. We are what we are because we have overcome what we had to overcome.
In the Ramayana, the young monkey god, Hanuman has just be reminded of his superpowers and has been given a quest involving a leap over the ocean. As he leaps, the gods think it’s best to test him- they send forth Surasa to block Hanuman. She appears as a thunderstorm across the sky, opening her mouth to invite Hanuman to be her dinner. Hanuman politely requests her to please let him pass onwards, and that she can have him for breakfast when he is returning from his quest. Surasa disagrees and says Hanuman must enter her mouth. Now Hanuman remembers he can also expand in size, so he expands himself larger than Surasa’s mouth.
Surasa laughs at this little monkey trick, and expands herself wider, a mile across. Hanuman sees this and expands to two miles across. Surasa expands to ten miles across. Hanuman eleven. Surasa 20 miles, Hanuman 25. Surasa 100 miles, Hanuman 101 miles.
At this point Hanuman shrinks down to a small fly, enters Surasa’s mouth and comes right out. Then he bows politely to her and says that since her conditions have been met, may he please continues. Surasa is pleased, and blesses him for the journey ahead.
We all have these escalating problems that seem to pile up on each other. We must learn to persist, and we must learn to be humble, and we must learn to be big when we have to, and small when we need to. Above all, we must treat our adversaries and adversities with respect, because they bring out the best in us, and make us what we are.
PC: By Francesca – https://www.flickr.com/photos/fra1982/2878400192/in/album-72157607417917911/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40351725