Mystic Mantra: Sweet are the uses of adversity

Columnist  | Moin Qazi

Opinion, Oped

Prosperity is a mind booster but adversity is not without value; it is a great teacher.

We need to regularly take time off to make sure that our focus is right. (Representational image)

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”
— Friedrich Nietzsche

For every negative that happens, there is a positive. Life makes us stretch so that we grow and become sturdier. “There is no education like adversity,” said Disraeli. We all know how Abraham’s faith was tested by the fire. Engaging mindfully with our sufferings is a fruitful way for living authentic and meaningful lives. Like ecstasy, sufferings too have a role in developing our emotional toolbox.

We should create a template of our core values that can be used as a shield against our adversities. Once the template gets firmly embedded, both pain and pleasure make positive contributions. Each brings out our inner repertoire of talents. We need to regularly take time off to make sure that our focus is right. This way we also boost our resilience.

Prosperity is a mind booster but adversity is not without value; it is a great teacher. One burnishes the mind, the other hones it. Even when life is at its hardest, there are meanings to be found, riches to be harvested, and gifts to be reaped from the ordeals we undergo. Embracing this philosophy makes trials lose their sting. As Rumi tells us, “In tears come laughter concealed. Seek the treasure beneath the ruins”. Francis Bacon echoes a similar sentiment: “Prosperity doth best discover vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue.”

Adversity makes you tap into the deeper wellsprings of fortitude and helps renewing them. Or else, they remain lain and dormant and eventually dry up. As Byron said, “A man can see farther through a tear than through a telescope.”

With every crisis, you emerge a stronger person. As gold is purified in fire, so too is a person. Like gold, we cast off impurities of egoism and vanity. We cast off our baser self and allow the spiritual self to emerge. The Bible reminds us: “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”

When people face a devastating tragedy, life suddenly starts appearing cruel and harsh. All the ease is transformed into a sense of gloom and doom. It may seem hopeless at times — it may appear like a darkness that never ends. It takes hard work and determination to restore it. When we recover, we are left with a rare gift — resilience and tenacity. The Tao The Ching teaches that darkness is the gateway to a brighter light. It is at times like this that we realise how fleeting life’s pleasures are.

But life triumphs in the end. There is always light at the end of the tunnel Ask any wise man what is the great learning experience and he would say, without batting his eyelid, it is adversity. Adversity is a hard test for a man’s spirit and endurance. Each painful episode fortifies his resilience, and is an essential learning experience. Faith in oneself demolishes the toughest of blocks. The real focus of life gets defined in our moments of adversity.

What you need is to summon your will. It really works in mysterious and miraculous ways. In fact, you might just be at the beginning of the final corner before the road turns to your dream destination. As the great author Augustine Mandino II puts it: “Always seek out the seed of triumph in every adversity.”