Recently many people have experienced major life challenges. Serious illness, death of a loved one, relationship breakdowns, and huge life changes like retirement or menopause disrupt their lives causing worry and stress. Most would describe a year filled with those experiences as “a disaster” or “the worst year of my life”. But by changing your perception of the events you’re going through you also change the manner in which you move through them and forward. The key is to find the gift within problems and challenges.
A perception shift doesn’t change the painful process of grieving, or the difficulties associated with change. However by simply describing the experiences differently, as “a year of big changes” for instance, you change your perception of the events. This then allows you to recognise the gift within the experience. It allows you to find happiness again in spite of the pain.
This week the plaster cast around my broken arm will be removed, at last! Now a broken arm may seem slight in comparison to others’ problems. But it was pretty comprehensive and set at a weird angle which restricted me doing many things, including working, and leaving me very frustrated.
So in meditation I asked for ‘the lesson in the broken arm’. Over a few days the message emerged. Embracing that message and working within that energy has given me great time and freedom for precious creative thought. It’s left me almost loving this problem! Happiness in spite of pain!
THE GIFT IN CHALLENGE
A problem free life is the impossible dream. There will always be difficulties to deal with no matter how successful or focused or spiritual you are. But the key to living happily is to look for the gift within all your problems.
The problems in our life are often just a signpost to let us know we need to reassess our life – our actions, beliefs, or attitudes. Often the appearance of problems marks a time when we need to let go of any parts of our life that are limiting us. These times provide us with an opportunity to surrender and open ourselves to unexpected experience through change. When we let go of our ego and surrender we can find peace.
Problems present two options. One option is that they can be stepping stones to uncover your gifts. The other is they can keep you locked into a cycle of fear. The choice is yours and the outcome depends upon how you decide to view the problem.
I spent a great deal of my life waiting for the time to arrive when I’d be ‘grown up’ and able to sail through life without many problems. I expected if problems DID occur in my life, I’d have the knowledge and resources to deal with them easily without a huge impact on me.
But not so! I’ve come to realise that the main gift of life is the chance to experience. Every day offers me new experience, even when I am doing the same mundane tasks I do day after day. In every minute there is the possibility of new insight, even while I’m doing little mundane things. And the understanding that comes with new insight always leads to new thoughts and new behaviour.
When I was in college my lecturer asked the class if we believed life followed an ever-upward trajectory, an oscillating wave or a circle. I was the only one who chose the circle. I was astonished when she said the circle links with a belief in reincarnation. At that time I hadn’t even considered my beliefs about reincarnation.
But now decades later I have shifted that perception of life. Now I believe it follows a spiral not a circle. We regularly revisit our problems and challenges but always at a different level of understanding and experience.
Each time the problem presents differently. It may be just slightly different to the last time. Or it may be so wildly new that at first we don’t recognise the underlying lesson and gift within the challenge are the same as those we’ve encountered before.
All information and opinions presented here are for information pur
poses only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation with your health care provider. Do not use this article to diagnose a health condition. Speak to your doctor if you think your condition may be serious or before discontinuing any prescribed medication. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.