How to Be Thankful in the Face of Adversity

Adversity is hard enough that we should not keep revisiting the negativity of it.

Expressing thanks in adversity is one of the most difficult concept for our egos to grasp. ‘So, you’re telling me that I should be grateful and give thanks when I lost my job and can’t pay my bills?!?!?!?’ As strange as it may sound, yes, that is exactly what I want you to do.

I was watching a video with Matt Kahn (YouTube channel link) last year, where he stated that when someone does something against you, thank them. I understood the message, but could not grasp the practicality of it, being thankful for adversity. It was only this morning when I was doing my rituals of meditation, mantras and pranayama, ending with my regular ‘thank you’ affirmations that I suddenly blurted out a thank you to someone who had hurt me deeply. I don’t know where it came from, but I have come to know that when I am in the ‘state’ I am in during this ritual I will say, hear and see things that don’t always make sense until later. However, this one made sense quite immediately.

We can all agree that dwelling on the past is a futile and counterproductive practice that serves no purpose but to lower your vibrations, right? We cannot avoid it though, because it has happened and is part of the woven fabric that makes you ‘you’, so it must serve a purpose. I am not go in to a longwinded discussion about karma and its purposes, but most know the basic concept of karma, you know the one that will come back and bite you in the butt if you’re not treating your fellow humans correctly. Karma is one or several experiences that you are meant to learn from in order to grow spiritually. They can vary in magnitude and importance and severity for that matter. The only thing you can do with past experiences is to learn from them and not to repeat the same experience again, if it was a bad one that is. We are have now boiled down that shit storm you experienced in the past to being an experience. When you view an experience from the past you can look at it objectively because you cannot change it, you can only change your present and future. At this stage you have two options; relive the negativity of that experience, i.e. dwell on it, or you can be grateful for the lesson and the experience. Which one do you choose? Ok, you there, I know you are thinking there is a third option; to just erase the memory of the event and pretend it never existed. Yes, by the law of free will, you have that option. However, I would strongly advice against it, because you are bound to repeat the same experience over and over and over again, until you’ve learned what is to learn from the experience. That is just the nature of karma, so I am going to ask the universe to erase that suggestion from your thought pattern.

Here’s the key to this process; you are to be giving thanks for the lesson, not that someone did something to you or the adversity in itself. You don’t walk out of the office thanking your manager for firing you (unless that is exactly what you wanted to happen of course). You go through the emotions of what you feel and recognise those feelings. It is when you settle down and start looking at it objectively that you start giving thanks for the lesson. See, once you do that, you clear out all the chatter and negativity around the event and before you know it, the lesson that you are to learn is clear in your mind and that ‘something’ better will be showing up to greet you. Unfortunately, you will not fully prevent shit storms to come into your life, but if you have the right mindset in place and installed already, you will find it easier and easier to deal with those challenges.

Take my experience with death and grief for example. It has taken me years, but I now recognise that I have had to experience the grieving process to understand death and the fact that it is only our body that dies, not our souls. Death is not something that scares me anymore. Am I sad that I cannot physically hug and interact with my loved ones that have passed? Of course I am, but I also know they are where they love to be and that I can interact with them whenever I want. It is only my selfish needs that want them physically present. That selfishness in itself has tought me a lesson about my ego. As I said, I am not thankful that there is death, but that I have been fortunate enough to learn from it and to be alive to experience it. A prerequisite of being here is that there is a beginning, a middle and an end, so giving thanks to the lessons of death is to give thanks to life itself.

Some will of course say this is a twisted and morbid way of looking at things and I leave that to you to ponder. This is my truth of the purpose of adversity and you will now have to go out and find your own truth.

Also published on Medium.

How to Be Thankful in the Face of Adversity
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How to Be Thankful in the Face of Adversity
Dealing with adversity is hard, but we tend to make it harder by reliving the pain in our memories of adversity. Here's a way to shift to something positive.
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Spirited Reality
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