November 18


Today's Quotation:

Nature has given to each conscious being every power she possesses, and one of these abilities is this:  just as Nature converts and alters every obstacle and opposition, and fits them into their predestined place, making them a part of herself, so too the rational person is able to finesse every obstacle into an opportunity, and to use it for whatever purpose it may suit.

Marcus Aurelius

Today's Meditation:

In theory, obstacles don't really exist except in our perception of what they are.  Many people see obstacles as opportunities to use their ingenuity, to test themselves and their minds on something new and different.  When a tree grows next to a wire fence-- or sometimes even larger types of fences-- it will just grow around the fence itself, making the wire or the wood a part of itself.  Most weeds can grow almost anywhere they want.

Of course, nature does have limits.  Palm trees and most cacti won't grow outdoors in Minnesota, and plants that need a lot of water will wither and die very quickly in Arizona.  Likewise, we can't walk through brick walls or control other people or the weather, so there are some things that simply are not possible to us.

But when we shift our mindset to seeing the possibilities in every circumstance, we will find that obstacles truly are opportunities, even if they force us to go down another road that we might not have gone down otherwise.  Opposition is important in our lives-- kites wouldn't be able to stay aloft without it-- yet we tend to avoid it or see it as something negative.

If we are to be able to "finesse every obstacle into an opportunity," we have to be able to allow ourselves to see those obstacles differently.  It really does come down to how we see things, and the realistic person will see opportunity in almost everything that comes his or her way in life.

Questions to ponder:

1.  What kinds of things that you've seen as obstacles have turned out to be blessings?

2.  Why is it so easy to give up when we perceive something as an obstacle?

3.  How do we tend to define obstacles?  Is this an accurate definition?

For further thought:

Sometimes things which at the moment may be perceived as obstacles-- and actually be obstacles, difficulties, or drawbacks-- can in the long run result in some good end which would not have occurred if it had not been for the obstacle.

Steve Allen

more thoughts and ideas on adversity



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