Resilience: “In order to rise from its own ashes… A phoenix first must burn.”

Lately I feel that the upheaval around in the world is destabilizing a major fraction of the society. Today some parts of our beautiful planet are plagued with violence, others with economic or political tensions and many others by natural calamities. Only time will tell the extent of this impact on our existence.

I believe as a human race, we all need to stick together and be there for each other during this time of turmoil and stress. The word ‘resilience’ keeps coming to my mind every time I try to meditate for clarity and answers.

Resilience means that when life knocks us over, we must get up and come back even stronger. There are many quotes on resilience, and this makes me wonder if going through tough times is just part of living our human experience. Swami Vivekananda once said that this world is a gymnasium and we come here to make ourselves stronger. Similarly, Confucius said, our greatest glory is not in ever failing but in rising every time we fall. Yet bewildered spirits like me and many others ask, how many times do I have to get up after I have come crashing down for whatever reason? And the inner being with utmost confidence whispers… every single time…

I have heard and read countless stories on the power of resilience, and how people have bounced back from their biggest setbacks, and have given a new meaning to life. This only proves that holdups or hindrances cause us to think differently, and help us to venture on a path that is unknown or less taken for exploration, knowledge and the betterment of upcoming generations.

When we struggle in life, we must take a deep breath and look around. Most of the times we will find ourselves in a better position than others. Sometimes the problems we face is not the issue, it is our lack of gratitude for all that we are given. This doesn’t mean that we should not be ambitious and seek what we deserve, it only means that in time, with faith and a positive outlook, all good things will align for us.

Our mind is our best friend and our biggest enemy. If we are able to master our own mind and have temperance, our experience in this transitional world will be different. Meditation often helps in soothing the mind, seeking clarity and answers to questions that even Google or Siri cannot answer.

Often times during our struggle, we can find inner strength and comfort through narrating stories of adversities that impacted self or others. The act of story telling heals and comforts the mind. It gives the mind a context to the parameters of suffering. Eventually the mind comprehends that suffering is common to all and sooner or later everyone has to pass through it, and learn to manage it. Knowing this ultimate truth restores the mind and replaces fear with courage.

Therefore, mental toughness is the key to go through uncharted territory of life experiences. Mind becomes tough when it uses right words to train itself to become stronger and then learns to shield itself. It becomes tougher, when it understands and accepts situations and then cultivates patience to remain resilient through positive thinking, faith, courage, and hope.

Having a mental toughness mantra also goes a long way. I was raised in a military background and the only quote I heard growing up was “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” This one line activates and energizes me every single time. So, I urge all of you, who are going through tumultuous times, find words that empower to revive your power.

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