Virtues of adversity (2)
Adversity breeds inventions. Were we not taught that necessity is the mother of invention? During the last civil war the Biafran’s invented the popular ‘Ogbunigwe’ (Mass killer) which the Hausas called ‘Ojukwu Bucket’. It was a dangerous weapon made from local materials. It took the Biafra soldiers far then in prosecuting the war in the absence of imported arms.
During the war too we survived by eating many locally sourced food items which we have since abandoned. With the mind of a child I can still recall how we were fed with ‘akara jiakwu’, that is akara made from cassava. I remember too people boiled and ate unripe pawpaw. Hibiscus flowers and cassava leaves were also eaten among others I cannot now remember.
I wonder where Lassa fever was then when we treated ourselves to delicious smoked and well spiced rat meat as kids then. Today, the economic hardship we are experiencing today compares to the war situation. In fact, it is not wrong to conclude that we are in a war as virtually everywhere you go (apologies to Mtn) it is either a war against insurgency, militancy, kidnappers, herdsmen, robbers, hunger all leading to insecurity of lives.
It is disturbing that rather than seek creative ways of overcoming these challenges we lazy over it all and find solace in passing over the problem by increasing the hardship of others. Shockingly people no longer think. Religions have taken a greater part of our brain as most people have been lazily fed with the fact that God will miracle all our problems. Yet God is watching us, our problems and our prayers.
Is it not said that God helps those who help themselves? It is not in doubt that we are indeed in perilous times. Our morals have been seriously challenged by the experiences of the moment. At times, it seems the end of the road but the situations are designed to draw us out and not to kill us. Our solution begins the moment that we have this realization.
Managing adversities can be intriguing especially if we don’t have the right attitude. Most people drawing from their faith believes that prayers alone is all they need to do but the discovery is that the harder they pray sometimes the more the challenge would refuse to go. Sometimes the only solution as Eckists would say is to surrender to it. We have numerous issues we have prayed to end but rather than abate they keep soaring. An example at the national level is the challenge confronting Nigeria.
We have heard the story of Job who went through so many adversities but came out stronger even after the material losses. He surrendered to the situation through what we now call faith, Many times, we have wondered why good natured people by our own reckoning have had to go through sufferings which we think is undeserving of them. This confounds and gets many of us confusing. We have had to question God many times on their behalf unknown that it is a cross they must bear.
Life is full of twists and turns and this is what makes it beautiful. It is really an adventure into the unknown where you win or lose many a battle. Win or lose we must not forget the lessons. Our perceived loss could sometimes be victory in reverse order depending any way on how we manage the situation. A speaker once said that life continually hands him bricks and mortars. If they are left lying around and not used they will harden into obstacles.
And whether he builds a wall or a walkway with the new raw material is entirely up to him. Hard lessons and difficult turning point can bring us the strength we will need later. A very difficult path can prepare us for survival. No obstacle will ever leave you the way that it found you. You will either be better or worse.
Problems are the price of progress. The obstacles of life are intended to make us better, not bitter. Who says that adversity has no benefit? A Chinese proverb goes, ”the gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials. Consider what Jesus said, ”here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows but cheer up for I have overcome the world.”
When you encounter obstacles you will discover things about you that you never really knew. Motivators tell us that the breakfast of champions is not cereal. It is problems. According to a Zen story, a King in teaching his people a lesson had said that, ”the obstacles in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.”
Reinforcing the foregoing statement, one of the Roman emperors, Marcus Aurelius also stated that, ”the impediment to an action advances action. What stands on the way becomes the way.” This is the reason you must stand to face your fears. It amounts to futility to seek to shy away from your challenges or begin to cut corners. You will only end up postponing the evil day which may pose themselves in myriad other ways you least expect.
Again, many of us not familiar with the rhythms of life especially those on the religious path would misjudge or misinterpret such events. Some call it misfortune and approach it wrongly because according to them Satan has imposed a serious issue on them and must fight to overcome. You can hear some say ”this is never my portion” leaving you to wonder whose portion it should be.
In their ‘by fire by fight’ approach they end up muddling an opportunity to advance themselves and settle previous debts because they would import some negative tendencies into it including suspecting innocent people as responsible for their woes. By their attitude they attract more Karma in the process because of their lack of understanding to the issues. It is not something that is handled by force.
There is no challenge that has no solution. There is also no adversity that cannot be surmounted. The law of life states that no man is ever given more than he can handle. Ryan Holiday in his book, ”Obstacle is the way” opined that today most of our obstacles are internal and not external. Instead of opposing enemies we have internal tensions. It is possible there is a mind from us game against us.
He went on, ”when you have a goal obstacles are actually teaching you how to get where you want to go-carving you a path”. Most of us especially those blessed with rich backgrounds have come to live with the illusion that there should be no problem whatsoever on their path. Little wonder their world collapses at the slightest experience of a small knock.
I must confess that hard times are never away from me and I have become so immune to its stress that I welcome them with open minds, grab lessons and they go. My attitude is one of nothing lasts forever and like a typical day this ‘one’ will also come to pass. Based on the inherent lessons in every issue, another line in ‘Mottos for Success’ says ”we should treat every obstacle as a rung in the ladder of success and you will keep moving up and onward to bigger and better things.”
I can confess to this experience as very true. No matter how bad the situation may seem, if you are patient and persevere, observing carefully you will notice that even as you appear to be consumed by whatever, there is still a silver lining somewhere.
This confirms what a Tibetan mystic, writing under the pen name of Tuesday Lobsang Rampa, wrote in his book, ‘YOU FOREVER’, ‘we are upon earth to learn, and no normal human is ever given too much to learn at one time. We may feel that we are being persecuted, victimized, we may feel that we are the subject of an unkind malignant fate, yet if we really reflect upon the matter we can see that we are not overstressed. We only think that we are”.
Life itself is not a bed of roses. It is also strewn with thorns. Whenever you are confronted by the ‘evil’ don’t resent nor lose your head. ‘No matter how hard your heart is broken the world does not stop for your grief. Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it. There is always a way out. Seek it. Life must not happen at your own terms. Recognize this.