Every human culture that has managed to flourish contain mythological stories of heroic legends and fantastic feats. Between the civilizations the stories vary, each tribe with their own unique explanation of creation, the creator(s), and the end times. Yet in spite of how distant on the gulf of time they maybe placed, each and every group of people have all shared a common antagonist. Evil spirits, demonic specters that have plagued mankind, causing mischief and misfortune amongst every single civilization, that has ever existed. As a suffer of sleep paralysis in many cultures my experiences would have been put down to that of a demonic nature, that I was in fact being tormented by an evil soul hell bent on causing anguish in my life. These experiences that mostly come to me when I have battled with my tiredness and fought to stay awake, as terrify as they are, short lived, nonetheless. Regrettably however there is one demon that shall haunt me forever, a nemesis that I cant reason with, nor can it be bought or ignored; for doing the latter, can only bring me more and more visitations, each harder to deal with, than the last. This demon as hateful and evil as it is, wears robes of pure satin and plays a harp so beautifully, it could be the greatest music I’ve ever heard, providing of course, I’m listening.
Adversity has ever been considered the state in which a man most easily becomes acquainted, with himself.
There is this old parable about a young man and his grandfather. The grandson who was so discouraged by the experiences of school life that he told his grandfather, his only solace, that he was going to leave school and join the army. His grandfather was naturally upset but didn’t quiz the boy, instead he fetched three pots from his kitchen and filled them with water, placing each above the open fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first pot he placed carrots, in the second he placed eggs and the last, ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil. In about twenty minutes he grabbed a pair of thongs and picked each pot off the fire. He fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then he ladled the coffee out into a cup. Turning to his grandson, he asked, “Tell me, what do you see?” “Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” the boy replied. Then he asked him to feel the carrots, which he did and noted that they were soft and mushy. His grandfather then asked him to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, the boy observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked his grandson to sip the coffee. He smiled as he tasted it, strong with its rich aroma. The boy asked, “I don’t understand. What does this mean, if anything?” His grandfather laughed and explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity – boiling water – but each had reacted differently. “So, which are you?” the grandfather asked. When adversity knocks on your door, how do we respond? Are you a carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, becomes soft and loses strength? Are you the egg that appears not to change but whose heart is hardened? Or are you the coffee bean, that changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the coffee bean, when things are at their worst, your very attitude will change your environment for the better, making it sweet and palatable.
My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.
People often talk of content, being the best place to be within ourselves. Loving friends and family, a big prancing dog that runs round and round the furniture when you come home. Certainly I do long for such simple things, however I am convinced that the courage and willing to work and push myself comes from the current upsets of my life. If I were content with what I had, I would be afraid that as a person I might fail to grow and become more than what I am. I have often found that in relationships the ones that are strongest, are the ones that encounter the most upset, for as horns clash, lips do often touch. I am a firm believer that adversity, as frustrating as it is to deal with can only make you more; what that “more of” is exactly, can only really be determined by you, as each of us, as shallow as we are sometimes, exquisite individuals nonetheless; marching to the beat of life that only our destinies can hear and living to dance magnificent dreams.