When You Find The Path Too Difficult To Travel And Are Tempted To Give Up

Every time I write and share myself through this blog, it takes something. Why?  I am clear that I am an ordinary human being and as such I face a constant struggle to show up and travel in life in a manner that embodies that which I speak-share here with you.  The more mindful (attentive) I become the more I notice the gap between how I wish you to show up and travel and how I actually show up and travel.

There are times where I wonder if I am deceiving myself. I find myself asking the question: will I ever close the gap between how I wish to show and travel in the world and how I find myself showing up and travelling in the world?

The other day I came across the following passage and it has given me the access to see the situation rather differently than I had seen it. I share it with you as it may help you with your stand (in life) and your challenges.  Here it is:

A student instructed to meditate upon compassion came to his teacher in despair. “This is too hard,” he complained. “I sit and try to extend compassion to the countless beings in the world, and all the time I find myself criticising how my neighbour wears her robes, how much noise my roommate makes, how much my knees hurt, and how bad the food is. How can I ever get beyond this?”

The teacher listened patiently to the long litany of complaints, then sat and pondered for a time.

Hoping for words of reassurance or a shortcut to transcendence, the student waited expectantly.

Finally, the teacher opened her eyes and said, “These difficulties are going to be with you for the rest of your life.”

– Christina Feldman, The Best Buddhist Writing 2006

It occurs to me there is wisdom in this tale. How have I interpreted it?  I have taken it to mean that what matters is that I walk the path that I have committed myself to walking. On this path I will encounter all kinds of challenges and some of the most difficult will be those that I generate myself – including leaving the path. The key is to be attentive: to notice when I am no longer on the path and get myself back on the path as soon as I notice I have strayed from the path.

Getting back on the path is not enough. Why? Because when I stray from the path I usually tend to make some kind of mess. And to workability, the mess needs to be cleaned up in a manner that restores integrity and workability.

Is it enough simply to clean up the mess?  Yes, and I do not advise stopping there. I have got value out of looking into the matter and learning: what happened, how did it happen, what might have contributed it to happening.  The reflection has helped me notice that I stray from the path when I find myself hungry, when I find myself tired, when I find myself stressed with conflicting demands, when I take it upon myself to fix the world for others…

Author: Maz Iqbal

Experienced management consultant working at the intersection of strategy, customer, and technology. Combine a tendency to think strategically with a penchant for getting my hands dirty at the coalface of implementation.

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