November 9

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Opportunities in the Face of Adversity

I have a friend in Belgium who is very sad because of this new lockdown. Indeed, she feels lonely under the new so-called security measures. The loss of contact with a large part of her entourage is linked to fear. They are afraid of infection and prefer to avoid contact.

On the other hand, my aunt (88) who lives in a nursing home, suffers less than during the first lockdown. However, compared to the first lockdown, I notice a mental deterioration, partly due to the lack of visitors and the restricted visits (maximum of twice a week 30 minutes). She notices that things are different, but she does not understand what is happening.

Social life and contact with family and friends play an essential role in the well-being of all.

More and more challenges

These are truly unusual times. Between our personal challenges, pollution, the plundering of our planet, over-consumption, the global economy and so on, I feel an overwhelming need to share my thoughts about the challenges and tribulations that we all presently have to overcome or/and accept.

With this website, we strive to share ways to improve health, for example by eating food what is adapted to our constitution, by having positive thoughts, by being mindful of our body and breathing, and by getting enough movement. But we also feel the need to address the new challenges we are currently facing, because of the profound effect they have on all of us.

Our freedom of choice and expression, our social life and our entire future are at stake... Depending on our level of professional activity, our age, our family situation and above all our mental balance, our life is/will be more or less easy to manage.

Life has always been characterised by ups and downs, successes and difficult moments - from birth we have the first contact with adversity. It allows us to grow, learn, evaluate and evolve throughout our lives. Resilience in the face of adversity always gives us new opportunities to get to know and understand ourselves, to experiment, to become and not just be. It is up to us to turn a crisis into an opportunity.

"Adversity always contains the seed of a new chance."

W. Clement Stone

Possible reactions

While adversities can become major obstacles for some, others flourish, especially when things become almost insurmountable. Those who succeed know how to turn adversities and failures to their advantage, while others find it difficult to get up in the morning after a failure. The fact that we are all unique is underscored by the current situation:

How do my family members and friends respond? How does the fear around me evolve? Who suffers from the restrictions and who continues to grow rich or powerful despite (or because of) the crisis?

Everyone has a very personal way of dealing with the new challenges. Some expect the worst and hope for the best. In other words, they anticipate the worst possible scenario and plan their actions accordingly. This is a method that can be effective in dealing with the challenges of everyday life.

"Prosperity reveals our vices and adversity our virtues."

Francis Bacon

Optimists are better off because of their ability to see the positive aspects of the situation. Due to their natural disposition, they have a better foundation.

Implications

But a large majority of people are rightly concerned and some even develop psychoses. Children do not always understand what is going on, and many elderly people do not either, especially those in retirement homes. And those who have already lost their jobs, or are about to lose them, cannot understand that the current situation is considered a war! For most of them, the lack of freedom, the loss of social life or the loss of work really hurts.

At the moment, everyone has to tap into all the possibilities, in accordance with their character, to overcome the obstacles we face. Every generation has had obstacles to endure (wars, famines and other calamities), and the majority survived. But the measures taken currently are highly exaggerated in view of the situation.

  • We have reached a higher standard of living than any generation before us.
  • We have, in theory, a huge body of knowledge that could allow us to live a fairly perfect life on this beautiful land.
  • The level of information and communication allows us to seek solutions to all our challenges and to have global and instantaneous contacts.

Lack of discipline

Unfortunately, most people are undisciplined and need rules to live by. It's human nature and therefore there are more and more rules to be obeyed.

Human beings, like all animals, need to feel safe. But in the process, we voluntarily relinquish decision making to others, thus yielding power to a higher institution.

We are no longer able to make decisions for our own good. In this way, human beings are easily manipulated. Many civilisations (for example, the Romans) realised this.

Hierarchies

People have been used to living with hierarchies since the dawn of time. So much so that they are lost without them. Religions for spirit and morals, and politics for all other aspects of life.

Again and again, religious or state leaders establish rules by placing themselves in self-conceived categories! All societies are based on invented hierarchies. Historical dislocations that have turned into traps over the generations because certain groups had an interest in them.

These days, unfortunately, most so-called civilised countries have, without being aware of it, reverted from democracy, which was so difficult to achieve, to oligarchy (a form of government where power is held by a small group of people who form a ruling class).

There are several possible forms of oligarchy. Government by:

  • the so-called better ones (aristocracy in the etymological sense);
  • the richest (the plutocracy);
  • scientists and technicians (the technocracy);
  • the Elders with experience (gerontocracy);
  • rich businessmen and intellectuals with links to political power (today's democracy);
  • an elite that takes power by force (dictatorship).

They hold all the power to do what they want, and above all they have the power to do it by force, without the consent of the people. Who, in their eyes, have neither the capacity nor the knowledge to take decisions.

And yet, in Switzerland, for example, they make use of referendums, which has been anchored in the constitution since 1848. It is not yet perfect, but it is better than nothing. In Italy a referendum in 1987 led to the gradual decommissioning of all nuclear reactors.

In essence, the people should have a say, and not just once every 4-5 years, depending on the country. It is time to put an end to the political impotence of citizens.

The role of todays politicians, as representatives of the people, most of the time with full power, is no longer appropriately asserted. This is the great legacy of this pandemic, which has been demonstrated to us in all its forms and in a majority of countries.

Do we need a leader?

Human beings have always needed a chief, a leader, a guru, a figure to guide them. To show them the path that they themselves are incapable of recognising. We can all to clearly see where this has often led to, by studying history.

  • It is so much easier to hand over responsibility to others, rather than to carry it ourselves when making decisions that affect us.
  • Always easier to complain about someone else, rather than admit to yourself that you have taken a bad decision.T
  • This is how all dependencies are formed and result in the forms of society mentioned above.

People have a need to believe, to have faith. Which is why we always fall into the trap of trusting leaders, who know how to sell themselves, how to express themselves and how to promise everything. And they, of course, know this all too well and use this knowledge with great finesse. It’s as if there is a kind of mass hypnosis going on.

"Only in adversity is the true value of beings discovered."

Bernard Werber

Our comfort zone

I think that this so-called pandemic can also be an opportunity, because it is in adversity that we are forced to change. Leaving our comfort zone has never been easy. We need extreme situations to be willing to do so!

And we need to believe in ourselves, in our power of judgement and decision regarding our future and that of our planet. But let's not wait until we hit rock bottom before we want to get out of it.

Most of us can't do anything, that's for sure. Because the lobbies and the powers that be are too strong. But honestly, the hardest thing will be to take a decision. And it will be that of leaving one's comfort zone, of sacrificing oneself at the right moment, of being ready to support and give, only to receive later.

A large majority of young people realise this, but don't know what to do. Some of the older ones have reached such a comfortable standard of living that they are not prepared to make concessions.

Alas, many do not see that the future of their children and grandchildren is at stake. From the point of view of health, education, work prospects, freedom, environment... The many issues are well-known. They are mentioned in newspapers, on TV, in documentaries, etc.

Everyone knows it, but the sense of powerlessness and helplessness runs deep.

"One must smile in the face of adversity until it surrenders."

Og Mandino

Man always waits until the last moment. Only when he has hit rock bottom does he find the energy to take action and get up again. Until then, he is much too happy in his comfort zone to be leave it. It's sad, but that's the way we're wired.

Be prepared and non-violent

Fear turns into anger, which is currently the case for many people. Some will go out into the streets to protest, but this will not suffice to make the leaders understand. Especially those who guide the leaders, who are pulling the strings of the economy.

The situation is critical. Our planet, with its almost 8 billion inhabitants, is in agony. We are in the process of wiping out all the beauty nature provides and all the good the human race has done.

"The important thing is to appeal to man's highest potential: that of transforming personal tragedy into victory, suffering into human fulfilment."

Viktor Frankl

As long as there are people ready to receive orders and carry them out without question, the situation on this earth will remain difficult. Many are ready to use violence just for the sake of it. But there are also those who silence their conscience by telling themselves that it is for the good and protection of the people.

How can we succeed without waiting until it is too late, without resorting to force, in changing our systems for the benefit of all?

You only have to read the history of mankind to understand that in the end it is always the common people who have the last word, but at what price? No dictatorship, no form of corrupt society has lasted very long. And with ours, it will be the same.

And whatever the cost, we must keep a certain amount of humour and conviviality, because only with good humour and shared laughter can we regain hope and joy in life, the joy of the moment and hope for the future.

"Humour is a very effective defensive weapon. Humour helps to keep a certain distance from things and allows you to be superior to events."

Viktor Frankl

Let's stick together

Let's discuss and organize even more to form groups that help each other. During and after the last great wars there was a great solidarity among citizens. So why not now?

By signing petitions, for example, we are already starting to express our opinions and choices.

All that remains is to hope that there are enough politicians, judges, lawyers and great business leaders who understand the stakes and the opportunities to change course towards a new form of society for the good of all and our planet. We must be ready and willing to encourage initiatives in the right direction.

"If you don't decide your fate, fate will decide for you."

Conclusion

A life of purpose can be extremely satisfying, even if it is difficult and full of obstacles. And a life that is meaningless can be a terrible torment because it is very monotonous, even if it seems to be enjoyable.

Therefore, surveys on well-being start from the premise that satisfaction is a subjective feeling and describe its pursuit as the search for certain emotional states. In contrast, traditional philosophies and religions such as Buddhism see the key to satisfaction and happiness, in overcoming life's challenges, in self-knowledge.

Being ready to accept new situations and also to change one's habits in the face of new challenges makes everyday life easier, as well as improving one's conviviality.

Let us live even more in the present moment, despite or because of all these challenges. Let us rejoice in small things and above all, let's get away from the news channels that demoralise us. Listening to the same thing over and over again is a kind of conditioning (brain washing), and at the moment we are being conditioned to fear. Let's not fall into this trap, let's remain conscious and confident.

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Chris

About the author

Chris has been a mainframe programmer for almost 30 years. His interest in health, the body and meditation made him enrol in 2014 in a 2-year yoga teacher training course. His love for yoga began over 20 years ago. He has been starting his days with a series of yoga exercises, breathing and meditation ever since and his passion is to help others on a healthy journey. Since meeting his partner Karen, he has learnt to create websites and reach more audience. Life offers so many possibilities to study new areas, both geographically as well as intellectually, that he’s interested in just about everything. In 2018 he became a digital nomad to discover the world.


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