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Dealing with Trials & Tribulations
By Derek Ayre

In Zen there is a saying, "no pain, no gain". That means that if you were to constantly live in a state of bliss, there would be no growth or development for your soul.

We have all gone through periods of blackness and despair when nothing we do seems to lift our mood. It is like we are stuck in emotional quicksand - the more we try to get out, the deeper we seem to sink.

Zen practitioners recognize this impasse as a sort of gestation period, where if we struggle and try to "snap out of it" we will only manage to prolong our agony. The Zen answer is to focus more deeply into the condition and fully experience it from every angle. If we are stuck in a "black hole" just BE stuck in there fully accepting, fully surrendering, waiting for a re-birth.

Additionally when we don't seem to get any understanding of why we should feel this way, so the Zen answer is to quit looking and a different form of experiential understanding will reveal itself as we become re-born to greater truths.

This is where we need trust (have faith, if you prefer the term) that life is unravelling just as it should, because it is that way. Look on it as a lesson to be learned - furthermore, try and see the entirety of your life as a lesson that your soul is learning, a spiritual lesson that transcends all intellectual reason.

As a Zen practitioner I would add that if you intellectualize your "darkness" too much, any lessons to be learned would be somewhat shallow. To go through it, observing and experiencing rather than resisting and fighting it, will bring you through to the other side, with greater spiritual power.

Throbbing, pulsating, relentless,
The darkness engulfs me.
Visiting on me profound lesson after profound lesson...
Shaping, cupping maturing,
And my soul moves on...

See Also:

How to Do Hard Things
Tips on how to push past your natural resistance to difficult tasks.

Life is a Juggling Act
A Speech by the CEO of Coca Cola Company. You must strive for balance in your life by juggling work, family, health, friends and spirit.

Right and Positive Attitude
Success is a process, not an event. Invest the time in building a positive attitude. It will pay off well in your skills as well as your career.

What If I Fall Flat On My Face?
The fear of failure is a cruel and stupid trick we pull on ourselves. The fact that the fear of failure stops us from going after our goals and dreams means that we've already failed.  Who cares if you fail? Brilliant people fail every single day.

Suffering - A Christian Perspective
From the most ancient days, man has asked again and again why there is suffering in life. If God is loving and compassionate why is there so much suffering in this world?

More Inspirational Articles

Derek has been in practice as a registered therapist (UK) since 1976 and has helped many people, realize their goals and improve the quality of their life, on a face to face basis, in groups and on line. He is a Zen practitioner and this reflects in his work.

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