Even Difficult Experiences Can Strengthen Us


Grace and the opportunity for truth exist in all situations and in every moment, yet all too often we may overlook its presence. Even difficult experiences can strengthen us.

The search for truth means to see how to live in such a way that we are absolutely in truth – in our way of being, thinking, feeling, and in the activities, we perform.  Sadhguru


Truth and grace are always with us. It flows like a river through our lives, artfully reminding us that there is magic and power beyond what our eyes can see. At times we catch its subtle beauty, like during chance meetings, near misses, and insights that seem to come from nowhere. Other times we experience gratitude and grace in all its powerful surety such as when a job or relationship comes to an end. Though we may forget that this is grace and truth is at work too, it is indeed influencing our lives, helping us to move forward and take the next step. Grace and the potential for truth exist in all situations, in every moment, yet all too often we may overlook its presence.

Imagine how it would feel to live an entire day in grace, to fully appreciate that your day is unfolding in absolute perfection. Whereas usually, you might miss the magic in ordinary events and interactions, on this day you would recognize them all as little miracles. Once again truth and grace. Perhaps you could begin with your first deep breaths in the morning, becoming aware that there is an abundant supply of air for you to breathe. Your lungs know just how to carry oxygen to your blood, and your blood knows where to carry it from there. This is grace at work. You might appreciate the brilliant sunshine, the warm summertime rain, or the possibilities for learning that greet you at every turn. You might notice the ease with which you do your job or laugh with a close friend. These things are also grace. Even laying your head down at the end of this day and resting in the stillness of the night is grace. It is important when pain or difficult times comes our way to honor the experience, as it is usually a great teacher to help us feel gratitude, grace, and truth.

Honoring the difficult experiences we have in our lives is an invaluable way to communicate with life, our greatest teacher. We do this when we take time at night to say what we are thankful for about our day and also when we write freely and truthfully in a journal. Feeling the gratitude of feeding the body with life-giving foods, or taking joy in the simple pleasures of Nature. Both of these acts involve consciously acknowledging the events of our lives so that they deepen our relationship to our experiences.  This is important because it brings us into a closer connection with life, and with the moment. Only when we acknowledge what's happening to us can we truly benefit from life's teachings.

It is especially important when pain comes our way to honor the experience because our natural tendency is to push it away and move past it as quickly as possible. This is the same teaching both on and off our yoga mat. In our physical practice, we can be very untruthful to ourselves, when we push ourselves past its boundary of growth or back off before we reach our capabilities. Off the mat, we also may have the tendency to look out, externally to enable us to ignore what is really going on internally.

As counterintuitive as it seems, we can honor difficulties by thanking them and by welcoming them into the space of our lives. We all know that often the more we resist something, the longer it persists. When we honor our discomfort, we do just the opposite of resisting it, and as a result, we create a world in which we can own the fullness of what life has to offer.

We can honor a difficult experience by marking it in some way, bringing ourselves into a more conscious relationship with it. When we recognize truth and grace in action we bring value to it. We might mark it by creating a work of art, performing a ritual, or undertaking some other significant act. Sometimes all we need to do is light a candle in honor of what we've gone through and what we've learned. No matter how small the gesture, it will be big enough to mark the ways in which our pain has transformed us, and to remind us to recognize and value all that comes our way in this life.