Sunday, September 20, 2009

My Year of Hopefulness - At the End of the Test

One can't learn much and also be comfortable. One can't learn much and let anybody else be comfortable.

On Friday night I went for a walk with my friend, Dan. We wound our way through Central Park talking about recent events in our lives, challenges we're facing, things we're excited about. We got onto the subject of testing. When recently talking to a friend of his about a particular circumstance he's working though the friend said, "Like Job, you are being tested." Dan's response was a simple question, "What do I get if I pass the test?" I've been thinking about that question all weekend.

As I was working through my yoga practice this morning, I was thinking about the idea of comfort versus discomfort. Times of testing are often uncomfortable times. We just want to get through them as quickly as possible. We want the shortest path to relief. Yoga teaches us to be comfortable being uncomfortable, sinking into the pose, going deeper, as opposed to pulling away often helps us. Perhaps the shortest relief to discomfort is through, similar that old saying of "If you're going through hell, keep going." Every day that saying makes more sense to me.

Maybe Charles Fort is correct: If we shrank away every situation that was challenging, every situation that brought some kind of fear or discomfort, perhaps we'd never learn anything. If we embrace fear, discomfort, and confusion for the sake of learning, maybe challenging times become easier to bear. Maybe learning is the prize at the end of our test. All that's required of us is patience and commitment. We just have to keep showing up, for ourselves and for one another.

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