Lesson 16: The Blows of Life

In spite of my academic credentials, I am not nor have I ever been cognitively smart. When I was younger, I constantly failed math. While at NC State and having to pass two math classes, I took the lowest level math they had (Apples and Oranges) and made a C. The second class, Algebra and Trig, was a nightmare. I failed it twice, dropped it once or twice and considered that I would never graduate. Then, a miracle occurred.

Because of my habitual failure, I received a form letter from a professor and as the letter instructed, I set up an appointment with him to discuss my stupidity. Dr. Bob Savage (if my memory is correct) was kind to me and treated me with respect. But he introduced me to a different way of learning math through video tapes where I could pause, rewind and fast forward. Suddenly, I was a genius. Required to take 20 tests, I made 100 on 16 of the tests. My courage grew so greatly, I signed up for a non-required class in physics the following semester. I made a D but it was my D and I did it on my own without the need for video tapes. I was proud of myself and I would graduate on time. I learned that it was not a miracle I needed but the ability to see myself and the world differently. That included math.

Pain is joy’s chrysalis. Pain is the womb of bliss waiting to be transformed at any given moment.

“A friend and inmate of our secret self,
It hid behind our minds and fell asleep
And slowly wakes beneath the blows of life;
The mighty daemon lies unshaped within,
To evoke, to give it form is Nature’s task.”

As with all setbacks and failures, a light stands to fall on your unfulfilled longings. Beneath the struggle, the slow, tedious blossoming of growth, below the hurt, behind the fear and above the pain is your next of kin: who you really are. And the blows of life can awaken in earthquake fashion the realization that you are something far greater than you have ever known yourself to be.

“It left known summits for the unknown peaks:
Impassioned, it sought the lone unrealized Truth,
It longed for the light that knows not death and birth.
Each stage of the soul’s remote ascent was built
Into a constant heaven felt always here At each pace of the journey marvellous
A new degree of wonder and of bliss,
A new rung formed in Being’s mighty stair,
A great wide step trembling with jewelled fire
As if a radiant God had given his soul
That he might feel the tread of pilgrim feet
Mounting in haste to the Eternal’s house.”

The blows of life are but rungs of your “becoming” ladder. No matter where you are, you are on your way. No matter what has happened in the past, you are on your way. No matter what you think you are or think you’re not, you are on your way. No matter what happens tomorrow, you are on your way…because you are the way…and the way is known.