Monday, December 31, 2018
Dealing with Life Challenges
Life is full of challenges. But some of us may not remember how challenging life was even when we were young. Many of us struggled simply because we would like to conform to society, to fit in with the norm, or to become what was expected of us. To illustrate, being too fat or too skinny might be challenging. On the one hand, we were curious of the world around us; on the other hand, we wanted to "belong" to some group, or something that we would like to be able to identify ourselves with.
After we became adults, the challenges have continued in the form of academic education, relationships, career pursuits, and starting a family, among others. The accumulative challenges never seem to let up.
Then, as we continue to age, the challenges may have become not only overwhelming but also insurmountable when we are confronted with infirmities, frailties, illnesses, and the impending imminence of death and dying.
Is there a solution, or a way out other than death? How do we deal with life challenges?
Yes, dealing with life challenges requires wisdom in living. Throughout life, we might have acquired much knowledge necessary for survival, for living the life we would like to pursue, for reaching the goals we have set for ourselves; but we might have neglected cultivating and intuiting wisdom. Knowledge is accumulation of facts and information; wisdom is deep understanding and internalization of knowledge and its application to everyday living. A knowledgeable person is not necessarily wise, by the same token, a wise person may not be knowledgeable.
Wisdom in dealing with life challenges necessitates looking at the wider picture of life, which means looking at not just ourselves, but also others around us. As T.S. Elliot, famous the poet, once said "No man is an island." That is, we are all connected with one another one way or the other. Accordingly, we may begin to see everything in perspective, and life may become less challenging. Therefore, focusing on self -- or, according to the ancient Chinese wisdom of Lao Tzu, on the ego-self -- may make us see only our immediate needs and not the teaching moment or another door of opportunity being opened to us. In Lao Tzu's wisdom, living in the present moment holds the key to attaining awareness, which enables us to see the natural cycle of life; understanding the natural order of things eliminates the focus on the ego-self, which is the obstacle to dealing with life challenges. In place of the ego-self is spontaneity, and life no longer has its challenges.
The Book of Life and Living shows you how to enhance human wisdom to face your daily challenges.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau