Nobody ever wants misfortune to come their way. It is much more pleasant and enjoyable to experience success, health, good fortune and a fun and interesting life all the time, where everything unfolds exactly as we’d like it to, but life doesn’t happen that way. And we’re fortunate that it doesn’t. Each life will have a mixture of fortune and misfortune, pleasant and unpleasant experiences, successes and failures, and each of these things has their value and role in our life.
As followers of mind power, as most of you on this website are, you know the value of using your thoughts, beliefs and intentions to create a successful and happy life. But do you know how to gain benefit from misfortune, to have it be a positive force in your life?
Misfortune can come in many different ways. It may be a serious illness, the loss of a job, a failure in a project you’ve worked long and hard at, a marriage breakup, a financial bankruptcy where you are obliged to start over, a family crisis. Whatever form it takes it will be unpleasant and perhaps shake you to your core, making you doubt everything, and this is good. It is from this doubt and despair that something new can birth itself, and with this birth you have the opportunity to gain something very valuable from your misfortune.
Each negative circumstance of our life carries with it wisdom and opportunities, no matter how horrific the misfortune may seem at the time. The one thing you can be sure of is that misfortune always demands a change. These changes may not always be what we’d planned, but suddenly we’re thrust into unknown waters and swimming for our life. These changes may not be pleasant, but almost always they are leading us to something good.
Movement and change is the way of the universe. We often forget this and crave stability, but the only constant in our life is constant change. Often we get too comfortable in our habits; we fall into a rut, as it is probably a comfortable rut. Comfort is the enemy of change.
We never make changes when things are going well. When we are too comfortable in our routines we stagnate. Misfortune is a wonderful device for getting us to notice where we are being complacent or out of alignment. Misfortune forces us to re-assess what is important to us and what is not. It lets us shift our perspective, as we are forced to shift our perspective in order to come to grips with the reality that now faces us.
Misfortune also deepens us. When we feel our own vulnerability we can feel others too. We see the human condition differently, develop compassion and understanding. This not only deepens us; it also enriches us. There is a strange and wonderous spaciousness that happens when misfortune comes our way, a spaciousness that allows us to see and feel the richness of simple everyday things like the buds on a spring maple, or a sunset, or the sound of children playing. In these moments we realize how rich and full our lives are, even with this misfortune.
Misfortune carries with it benefits that are not always obvious. If you are going through some misfortune right now, embrace it while it is here, for it too will pass and change into something else. But before it passes make sure to extract all the benefits that it is giving you. If you do it will be a catalyst to a deeper, richer, more full and happy life.
THE GUEST HOUSE: by Rumi
This being human is a guesthouse.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
Some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house
Empty of its furniture,
Still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
For some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
Meet them at the door laughing
And invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
Because each has been sent
As a guide from beyond.