Every difficulty in life presents us with an opportunity to turn inward and to invoke our own submerged inner resources. The trials we endure can and should introduce us to our strengths. – Epictetus, Greek Stoic philosopher (55 AD 135 AD)
World renowned peak performance trainer, Jack Canfield, was once asked in an interview which book most influenced his life. He replied that Dr. Raymond Moodys book, Life After Life, made a tremendous impact in his life as an author and coach.
Canfield went on to recount how Dr. Moody studied several hundred people who had near-death experiences in which they were clinically dead for several minutes. Dr. Moody found they all experienced a similar phenomenon of this lifting out-of-body sensation traveling through a dark tunnel, and at the end of the tunnel, encountering a spiritual being of light that loved them unconditionally.
The part of the book that really struck Canfield (reading this sent shivers through my spine!) was when he recalled that, according to Dr. Moodys research, these people were asked just two questions by this loving being of light: How have you expanded your capacity to love? and What wisdom have you gained from your experience? [Taken from Barnes and Nobels Meet the Writer section for Jack Canfield].
Dr. Moodys book title leaves us with a clue that perhaps these so called near-death events should actually be called near-life experiences because the people undergoing this phenomenon are brought closer to the real meaning of life and the experience of being truly alive. After stripping away all the non-essentials, isnt that what life is really all about? Love and wisdom.
But when life hands us a particularly difficult challenge, instead of making out of it a hearty stew of love and wisdom, we often become like dead people walking draining our life force by angrily fighting the challenge, or by complaining about it, or denying it, or numbing ourselves from the pain by popping pills, drinking, or indulging in other distractions.
Every challenge, every difficulty, every misfortune – whether its dealing with a difficult boss, an unexpected layoff, a hostile relative, a bankruptcy, an illness, a divorce, or a bitter foe – all these events are special gifts from the universe to help us grow as spiritual beings who are truly alive to the human experience. Embrace these challenges as rare opportunities to help you expand your capacity to love and gain ever increasing wisdom.
Small goals and small problems dont really help us grow all that much. Welcome the big ones! You have to tear muscle to build it by lifting a sufficient amount of weight. Welcome the big challenges as character-building exercises to help you grow beyond your perceived limits.
The Heros Journey is all about courageously facing these life-challenges and assimilating them into ever expanding spheres of love and wisdom to re-connect and tune with the higher Self. Delve deep within and you will find yourself bathed in this all-enveloping, all-forgiving, all-accepting field of love. As The Journey author, Brandon Bays, likes to say, You are the love that you have been seeking.