Friday, September 28, 2012


we are told that we need to become hard, that in order to become better competitors we need to harden ourselves to withstand the suffering that we are to endure over the challenges of the distance. we are taught that we must become hard, so as to survive against the afflictions of brutal events under tough conditions involving  unforgiving circumstances with vicious people all around us. we are tutored that we have to be hard because life itself is hard.

we take it as a given and assume it as a universal, and so apply it to mean that we harden our bodies and harden our minds and harden our spirits in the expectation that we harden ourselves to everything and every body and anything and any body.

but we never stop to question if this is all true.

admittedly, it's a survival mechanism, and one that is highly instinctive. and it has its own perverse logic: we are our lives, so our lives are us, and if our lives are hard then we are hard.

the problem is that life isn't always hard. life happens the way life happens. life is what it is. life just is. it's not always what we like, not always what we want, not always what we expect. because life, being constituted by a universe beyond our reach and outside our understanding, is most assuredly not within our control. and by treating all of life the same we ignore all the splendors being shared with us from the cosmos.

the problem is that even when we do encounter the brutal and the tough and the unforgiving and the vicious, the appropriate response isn't always to return the same in kind. becoming hard means becoming insensitive. impassive. cold. even cruel. which is not how we were born, not how we were made, and not what we were meant to be. and so by becoming hard we deny what we are--we deny our humanity.

more than that, it only perpetuates the suffering we face. not just us, but everyone around us. even the ones who've been anything but hard towards us. even the ones to whom we know we ought to offer love.

the problem ultimately is that we take it as a shield to hide behind, turning to it with each problem, building it with each torment, believing it to be the answer to our torture. and we never realize all the while that as the shield grows its weight grows, to the point that it can become crushing.

nor do we realize that since the shield is of our own design, it doesn't actually work to change anything about us and instead only covers up what we are, meaning that there will come a day when we encounter something that resonates in just the right way to reach deep within us to the essence of our nature so as to crack, then break, then shatter the shield of our own making, causing our world to come cascading down to crash around us. and the result, for many, can be devastating.

in short, becoming hard means becoming brittle. when what we really want is to become resilient.

and to do this, we have to know what we are, so that we can understand why we hurt and recognize why we fail, and from there begin to know how we can respond to challenges in ways that allow us to recover so that we can recommence our race and thereby come to succeed through our journey of the distance. not to deny our humanity, but to accept it. not to control life, but to live it.

in other words, we don't want hard. what we really want is wisdom.

because creation is about more than competition, it's about living. and in living, we want do more than just survive. we also want to flourish.

No comments: