Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Viktor E. Frankl
Last night’s meditation lesson was called “Struggle as Feedback.” I might have to go back and take notes because I thought it was a very thoughtful discussion on the power of struggle. It made me think of that quote above which I heard on the 10% Happier podcast and then like a week later someone on SOFlete put it in their blog. So I wrote it down.
Your response (and not reaction) to struggle is reflective of your growth.
If you’re like me, almost everything in life is a struggle – fitness, meditation, relationships, just to name a few.
How do I respond to a struggle with fitness? Bitch and moan about it then get back on it. But also sleep more and eat more. Actually, that probably would solve lots of life’s problems. I also go within. Like most people, I’m my own harshest critic. Except for Tony Romo – everyone is his harshest critic #teamRomo Me telling myself I can do better or #beBetter works for a few minutes and then it doesn’t. I ought to get on the discipline train.
How do I respond to a struggle with meditation? Meditate harder? Out-meditate anyone in the area? No, I just meditate and keep on focusing on the breath. In one of the episodes, Dan Harris asks a colleague who has been meditating for 30+ years what his practice is like and he boiled it down to something like “when I lose my concentration, I focus on my breath” and that’s simple (but not easy). I remember when I started meditating, I could not keep my eyes closed for more than a few seconds without opening them. After some time, I could go a few minutes. Now, I can go 20 minutes without opening them once or having the desire to open them (most sessions). Even more uh, “exciting,” is that I can go through more sessions than not and not wish for it to end. Not every time, but it’s something I noticed. I don’t mind sitting. Bloody hell.
How do I respond to a struggle with relationships? This isn’t something exciting to explore but I guess it’s needed. I guess I get withdrawn and just kind of shut everyone out. Until I get obnoxiously drunk then I can kind of work through it, maybe. Maybe that’s why I have a generally small circle of friends. Or maybe I’m just not that friendly. Maybe it’s more acquaintances and surface-level friendships if one must label it. But that’s OK. In my mind (and I believe everyone has these), I have a few friendships where that someone could fall off the face of the Earth and resurface 20 years from now and we’d resume right where we left off- presumably talking shit. I might be all “uh where’d you go?” and that’d be that.
If you’re like me, then being a jerkface is like the only thing in life that isn’t a struggle.
Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor E. Frankl