I ask myself this often, because for me at least it seems there is no end of trials and ordeals to overcome, but I know each of us have our own unique challenges in life.
For so long I just thought I was dealt a bad hand, but then I re-discovered the notion that all things happen for a grand and unified reason; an idea developed early in my childhood. Truly it seems no experience is beyond our abilities; even that we are always given exactly what we need to grow more fully into whom we really are.
This was something I recognized earlier in life, yet the hardships of my youth caused me to loose hope. It wasn’t till much later that I set aside self-loathing and disempowerment, and in doing so, began to feel gratitude for all the things I have experienced in life.
The Value of Adversity
Julian and I found the Urantia book early in our awakening and the following passage has the same core ideas in it. That we are given challenges in life that we are uniquely capable of overcoming, which will impart wisdom and spiritual growth, if we but open our minds and hearts to the treasures within and around us.
Excerpt from Paper 3: The Attributes of God
3:5.5 (51.4) The uncertainties of life and the vicissitudes of existence do not in any manner contradict the concept of the universal sovereignty of God. All evolutionary creature life is beset by certain inevitabilities. Consider the following:
3:5.6 (51.5) 1. Is courage — strength of character — desirable? Then must man be reared in an environment which necessitates grappling with hardships and reacting to disappointments.
3:5.7 (51.6) 2. Is altruism — service of one’s fellows — desirable? Then must life experience provide for encountering situations of social inequality.
3:5.8 (51.7) 3. Is hope — the grandeur of trust — desirable? Then human existence must constantly be confronted with insecurities and recurrent uncertainties.
3:5.9 (51.8) 4. Is faith — the supreme assertion of human thought — desirable? Then must the mind of man find itself in that troublesome predicament where it ever knows less than it can believe.
3:5.10 (51.9) 5. Is the love of truth and the willingness to go wherever it leads, desirable? Then must man grow up in a world where error is present and falsehood always possible.
3:5.11 (51.10) 6. Is idealism — the approaching concept of the divine — desirable? Then must man struggle in an environment of relative goodness and beauty, surroundings stimulative of the irrepressible reach for better things.
3:5.12 (51.11) 7. Is loyalty — devotion to highest duty — desirable? Then must man carry on amid the possibilities of betrayal and desertion. The valor of devotion to duty consists in the implied danger of default.
3:5.13 (51.12) 8. Is unselfishness — the spirit of self-forgetfulness — desirable? Then must mortal man live face to face with the incessant clamoring of an inescapable self for recognition and honor. Man could not dynamically choose the divine life if there were no self-life to forsake. Man could never lay saving hold on righteousness if there were no potential evil to exalt and differentiate the good by contrast.
3:5.14 (51.13) 9. Is pleasure — the satisfaction of happiness — desirable? Then must man live in a world where the alternative of pain and the likelihood of suffering are ever-present experiential possibilities. – END OF EXCERPT
It’s not a popular idea to think of the hardships we encounter in life as having value. But in my personal experience, the more I cultivate this idea the more empowered I begin to feel, and in turn, life takes on a brighter shade. Consciously creating adversity is not what I am suggesting, but when it is encountered in life, embracing it seems to be the most empowering perspective to take, while it opens us up to new possibilities and insights.
As some of you know, my partner and soul mate Julian transitioned on August 25th. This has been a huge hardship for me of course, and not a day goes by when I don’t spend sometime reflecting on what we had. But if truth is all around us, and it is truth that I am principally here to discover and lay claim to, then how can I deny the truth of this? Surely there must be something of value to be gained from this experience.
My Personal Hardship
I’m hardly an ascended being or spiritual master; I’m just a man trying to make sense of his experience and help others as much as possible. I never truly appreciated how powerful relationships are in life till I lost mine. And although I contend that Julian is still with me in spirit, it has transitioned into a relationship of faith.
I can still open my heart and share my inner most thoughts with him, but now I have no feedback, no reassurance that it is being received. Of course this can feel troubling, and it has been one of the harder aspects of his transition. But what I found interesting, is that the feeling and resulting mental upliftment from continuing to share of myself towards him and others still has value.
I think hardship, adversity, trials and ordeals all have a place in the grand design of all that is. While we don’t need it to grow necessarily, if that is what we are experiencing, then embracing it is embracing the truth of what IS, and in doing so we begin to penetrate the deep spiritual wisdom being offered in all things.
I don’t think we need to seek out pain and suffering, but if we find it in our lives then surely it must be part of something meant to empower us. If we look out into the world, there is pandemic suffering and hardship, which can seem insurmountable. But as we discover why these things happen, we begin to recognize that we are all here to take care of each other, to support and find common unity, while at the same time being unique individuals. In this way hardship is a gift of potential compassion and love, a chance to actually live the truth of interconnectedness.
If a woman hungers, can we not give her food? If a child cries, can we not offer comfort? If a plant withers can we not give it water? And if we see another suffering, can we not offer love and kindness?
I wanted to share this personal aspect of what I have been going through, because for me, being vulnerable and pouring myself out for others to see has value in my process. I’m not a guru or mystic, I don’t make contact with ET’s or angelic beings, but I do have a perspective on all that is. And when I contemplate what others share from their store of experience, I am deeply affected. When someone allow’s themselves to be vulnerable and this touches our hearts, it is a moment of unity, love and fellowship; a co-creative aspect of the divine.
A Simple Act of Kindness
But how can we help our fellows if we remain closed up and hidden? How can we form relationships that empower ourselves and others if the ordeals we each suffer go unnoticed? How can we change this world darkened by pain and suffering, if compassion and love remain hidden? Its when things seem the most uncertain and dark that the love and kindness within ourselves has the most impact.
At Julian’s memorial ceremony, a man who spent two tours in the Middle east shared how it was Julian’s smile and compassion that kept him going through some of the most difficult times there. He came over our home in 2010 for a small gathering; little did I know how much this meant to him.
I can only imagine what this man went through serving in these two wars, but it is a testament to the adage ‘love is the answer’ that such a small gesture of kindness on Julian’s part was able to help him weather the storms in his life. Imagine if we each shared a small morsel of the love within our hearts, how quickly would the world change?
I received so many heartfelt sharing’s over the past three weeks, that have touched me deeply, I only hope that this small account, from within my personal experience, can enrich others as I have been so uplifted.
The preceding article is a Stillness in the Storm original creation. Please share widely.