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Why do some people come out of crises transformed and benefit from the experience while others are crushed by them? Have you ever wondered why some people come out of life crises transformed and benefit from the experience while others are crushed by them? Everyone has a crisis occasionally and a major life crisis at least once in a lifetime. A crisis, which leads to a fundamental questioning of one's identity, role in an organisation or society, one's means of livelihood and relationship with others as well as big changes in one's health, social standing or reputation and living habitat or ownership of property and things is a major life crisis. If we go back over our own past and also look around, we notice that some people are crushed by these major crises while some others emerge transformed. Now, case studies and literature show that there are no direct genetic traits that could be identified as conclusive determinants of the ability to manage one's own life successfully. Strict or permissive upbringing, loving parental care or growing up as orphans with no support figures, affluent childhood or extreme poverty, recognition of exceptional talent at young age, sexual abuse or exposure to crime and misery in the formative years; all these do not provide a direct and conclusive correlation to crises survival and management skills. We tend to take for granted many things like security, daily food, freedom to move around or express one's opinions freely or even nurture, care, friendship and even love from another person. Their importance is realized only when we loose any one of them. A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth-that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world may still know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when a man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way-an honorable way-in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life, I was able to understand the words, "The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory." From Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl. The experience of separateness causes anxiety in humans as it means being cut off without any capacity to use our human powers. Using


reason a human being becomes aware that s/he is born and dies against her/his will and this feeling of separateness against the forces of nature and of society in general creates a prison of helplessness. When we have lost something dear and valuable we realize that we have very little control over most of the things in life. Actually the only area where we can exercise some degree of control is our response to situations and our own attitude to the changing flux of things. So, what does a life crisis actually do to our relationship with our self? A major crisis invariably takes us by the neck and forces us to question many of our basic assumptions about ourselves, about our relationship with other human beings and most importantly our relationship with the larger flow of events. There are so many quirky little coincidences, circumstances beyond our control, the sum of events which constitute a whole beyond the individual sum of its components (for which we always tend to blame our parents, the government or the system); that what theologians call the "will of God" or "Providence" etc which makes all our efforts to control reality seem futile in the end. A life crisis creates a need to review our relationship to all these. From Zoroastrianism to Christianity, from Buddhism to Judaism, from Hinduism to the Mormon faith, from Shintoism to the Voodoo practices, from the Eleusian mysteries to Islam, in fact, in every religious and spiritual tradition there is a common thread - sacrifice! What are the traditions asking us to sacrifice? Chicken, goats, virgins or our 'enemies'? As modern human beings we tend to look down upon our ancestors who would draw pictures of the ritual sacrifice of a virgin to some deity or who 'sacrificed' a goat or chicken in the hope of winning a war where they would slaughter thousands without any moral compunction. Yet we never question when the BBC or CNN reports "135 Taleban killed in fighting in Afghanistan" or "37 insurgents killed by government troops in...". Why would we question this type of news? Doesn't it justify our worldview that we are the good guys and there are some bad guys out there being 'sacrificed' to make this a better planet? Back to the question again - What are the spiritual and religious traditions asking us to sacrifice? As you can guess, the answer is not - Taleban, insurgents or terrorists or chicken or goats for that matter. Taking things literally is always the laziest way out. The traditions are asking us to sacrifice the tiny little prisons our egos live in - nothing more and nothing less. Now, what does that mean? Are we supposed to jump off bridges and slash our stomachs and end our days for the sins of our ancestors or the shortsightedness of our governments' foreign policies? Are we to suffer collective guilt and poison our lives with self-loathing? Spiritual and religious traditions are filled with examples of heroes who successfully grapple with this question. Jonah or Yunus (in Islam) spending three days in the belly of the whale, Osiris dismembered going to the underworld and rising up whole again, Jesus rising up after spending three days in the belly of the Earth. Like Christ, Osiris became the god that the Egyptians needed to become in order to be saved. What this means is that unless a human being is prepared to sacrifice his/her ego and allow for the complete transformation of his/her self under the direct guidance of the Higher ideal, no true and lasting life can be obtained. The origin of the word religion has many interpretations with the following two being central: -


Re-reading - originates from Latin re (again) + legio (read), meaning rereading the message until it opens up Re-connection - to the divine--from Latin re (again) + ligare (to connect)

Only when a human being realizes his/her relationship to the flow of life and can flow in unison, can he reach his full potential. Then this person has become life aware of itself. He is no more the skin bound ego banging its head on the walls of mortality, He is no longer the individual consciousness mortified by the immanent certainty of its dissolution in time. He accepts full responsibility of all her actions, reactions, comings and goings. He is the co-creator fascinated by the infinite manifestations of creations. Like Jonah from the belly of the whale, the words that come from the mouth of such a person are not a dirge of lamentations but a hymn of praise. His participation is direct yet with little concern for himself. The Chandogya Upanishad describes it as "tat vam asi", meaning "Thou art It". It is this very quality of having one's centre of being rooted in the higher ideal that is crucial to emerging whole and renewed from a crisis and also the key to happiness. This is the love that Viktor Frankl talks about when he mentions, "The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory." Sinking into a victim mode is a dark and dangerous trap from which it is very difficult to get out of. People who do that are invariably crushed by crises. The ability to determine our own attitude to the vicissitudes of life requires four vital skills. People who are not very strong in these four skills are more likely to be crushed by life crises. 1.

Ability to find meaning

How does an individual find meaning for the suffering or misery when everything else is fragmented and seemingly incomprehensible? This necessitates going beyond obvious and visible paradigms and findings ways to frame the present situation in a wider context. Some individuals can reflect on the events of their lives, gaining the ability to identify their strengths and exploiting them. If a person can, in the course of his life and inevitable misfortunes, look less at his own individual lot than at the lot of humanity as a whole he has better chances of finding a rationale for the misfortune. Rather than being a sufferer, he becomes a knower and his tears become pearls of wisdom. Many mystics have said that the deeper that sorrow gnaws into your heart, the more joy it can contain, but only if the heart is ready for joy.

"It is by my sorrows I can soar" Gandhi used to quote. Even in a Nazi concentration camp, Viktor Frankl was able to exercise the most important freedom of all - the freedom to determine one's own attitude and spiritual well being. "He who has a why for life can put with any how." Frederick Nietzsche 2. Resilience Resilience is also the ability to see the bigger picture and anchor oneself to a higher plateau of possibilities. Misfortune and difficulties are perceived as signals that there is something wrong in our trajectory of going to the high plateau we aspire to. As we decide to work with ourselves in getting there, we use three steps of sublimation, spiritualization and raising to fruitfulness the


lessons that the signals from the difficulties teach us. Skills for situation appraisal and damage control are vital skills. Learning to control sensory gratification for future gain even in the face of no immediate promise of future gain makes a person resilient in the trials of life. People who can manage leverage with their unique qualities and characteristics achieve success because of this ability to sublimate without repression.

"Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muß man schweigen." "What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence." Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus,

This quality means learning to suffer what we cannot avoid. Those people who can make a correction to their expectation that everything must be optimal learn to live with things they cannot change. For many others lamentation becomes a way of life. Resilience requires a spirit of innovation to get ahead and develop. People who commit themselves to working with their perceived shortcomings in spite of failures have better chances of achieving success, even genius. The marshmallow experiment is a famous test of this concept conducted by Walter Mischel at Stanford University in the 1960s. A group of four-year olds were tested by being given a marshmallow and promised another, only if they could wait 20 minutes before eating the first one. Some children could wait and others could not. The researchers then followed the progress of each child into adolescence, and showed that those children with the ability to wait were better adjusted and more successful (determined via surveys of their parents and teachers), and scored an average of 210 points higher on the Scholastic Aptitude Test or SAT. 3.

Networking skills

Networking skills involve forming and maintaining diverse types of networks and keeping their natures intact. Further, the skills to determine the beneficial quality of a relationship and how to dissociate from a relationship, which is abusive, and get on with life, are crucial skills. A central element of networking skills is "Recruiting". How to "recruit" new people into your life and form new relationships, which provide growth and stimulus is a skill very difficult to learn by reading books or attending courses but some people are innately better at this than others. Facing new people and situations requires us to collect ourselves and try to present a more pleasing face to the outside world. For many people this gives a wonderful opportunity to get out of the rut of misery for a while. Of course there are people who dump their miseries on everyone they meet. Don't we feel much better even on a dreary morning with a terrible hangover, if we have a shower and groom ourselves to go out and meet the world? 4.

Mechanism for finding and sustaining hope

If the usual avenues of pleasure seeking such as sensory perception, sensual gratification, possession of things, praise from fellow men, pride in achievement etc. are absent or nonfunctional then where does the person derive hope from? Belief system or faith, memory of a


loved person or memory of serenity experienced before crisis are great mechanisms for sustaining hope. Survivors of crises usually believe that there is a master plan for life and those who pursue what they believe to be right tend to be successful. All lives have difficulties but the manner in which difficulties are met is the deciding factor as to which lives are fulfilled. Some people learn not be ashamed of their difficulties and strive towards creating something new. They learn that life is composed of different tones, some sweet and sharp, soft and loud, as well as discords, but to hear the song of life one has to blend all of them together. If one hears the song of life, then one wonders that there must be a singer. What does that mean? That we are not abandoned garbage floating meaninglessly in the endless expanse of space and time. But surviving a crisis and emerging transformed and happy is not that simple as happiness is indeed very paradoxical. Happiness eludes us when we pursue it. In fact it seems that we have better chances of being happy if we live content, rich and fulfilling lives and forget about achieving happiness. Oh yes, one more thing - thinking of others and not always about ourselves does miracles. We should take matters seriously, but not ourselves.

Rana Sinha is a cross-cultural trainer and author. He was born in India, studied and lived in many places and traveled in over 80 countries, acquiring cross-cultural knowledge and building an extensive network of professionals. He has spent many years developing and delivering Crosscultural Training, Professional Communications skills, Personal Development and Management solutions to all types of organizations and businesses in many countries. He now lives in Helsinki, Finland and runs http://www.dot-connect.com, which specializes in human resource development as well as communication and management skills training with cross-cultural emphasis. Read his cross-cultural blog http://originalwavelength.blogspot.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Rana_Sinha

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