Everything We Need
Inspiring. Joyous. Humble. Wise.
To say that His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is an incredible man would be an understatement. I recently attended a lecture on the Dalai Lama’s Compassion Without Borders tour. With overwhelming wisdom and powerful messages, one stood out to me more than any other. Adversity. The Dalai Lama spoke of how to make sense of struggle and challenge in our lives. As if it were planned, a dear friend with whom I feel a strong connection sent me this quote just days before the lecture*:
“I asked for Strength…
And life gave me challenges to make strong.
I asked for Wisdom…
And life gave me problems to solve.
I asked for Prosperity…
And life gave me brain and brawn to work.
I asked for Courage…
And life gave me danger to overcome.
I asked for Love…
And life gave me troubled people to help.
I asked for favors…
And life gave me opportunities.
I received nothing I wanted
I received everything I needed.”
*Note the original quote had “life” replaced with “God.” I believe “God” to signify anything you may or may not believe in. I replaced “God” with “life” in order to include believers and non-believers alike. It makes no difference your faith or lack thereof.
It was inspiring to see the Dalai Lama, a man who has witnessed so much pain, to be so joyous. Throughout his lecture, he maintained a radiant smile and displayed his light heartedness by telling jokes and even wearing a San Diego State University visor in addition to his traditional monk attire. He mentioned being thankful for everything he had experienced, never wishing for an “easier” life. How does a man who knows so much suffering in the world maintain such a level of peace and compassion?
As I look back on my life thus far, the words of the Dalai Lama and the quote above resonate deeply with me. I remember often wishing for things to be easy. I cursed times of difficulty, questioning why I was faced with a particular circumstance. Here I stand years later, reaffirmed with the notion that life gives us not what we want, but rather what we need.
As soon as challenges cease in our lives, our growth and spiritual development cease all the same. It is specifically through difficulty that our true character is deepened. No doubt you will face moments when you feel like there is no end in sight, ready to quit… that is adversity. There will never be anything you confront in life that cannot be overcome. Understand that down the road you will look back, able to connect the dots of your life and make sense of it all.
Maybe take a moment to observe where you are in life. Our lives are a collection of moments; you would not be where you are today if it wasn’t for each and every moment that occurred thus far, challenges and difficulty included. Be thankful for the challenges, for the opportunity to learn. You are exactly where you are supposed to be. Instead of hoping for a life of leisure and ease, optimistically look forward to challenges ahead as an opportunity to build strength and character.
-Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow-
Mike Sherbakov, CSCS, CPT, RYT