Blog entry by Alan Chapman
Trauma, ego and growth
In life there seems an important correlation between resilience and experience.
People, and other living things, seem to grow stronger because they have survived difficulties.
"What does not kill us makes us stronger," to paraphrase Nietzsche.
A tree grows stronger clinging to rocks battered by storms, than a tree protected in a greenhouse.
An athlete develops greater strength by training in harsh conditions, rather than in a comfortable covered stadium or gym.
A homeless person has greater survival capabilities than someone who has always lived in a warm dry house, with plenty of money for food and clothes.
An old person whose friends and family have mostly all died has greater emotional resilience than a younger person who has never been bereaved.
An immigrant refugee who gave up everything in Africa or Asia, to find a better life in Western Europe, has much greater strength than most Western Europeans, whose experience of travel is mainly as a holidaymaker, rather than risking his or her life in a life-threatening sea-crossing in an over-crowded boat or dinghy, perhaps as a teenage orphan.
Some people who have survived a suicide attempt can therefore teach us a lot about what it is to live without fear.
It is by letting go of what we have been conditioned to believe we need, that we find increasing abundance.
The less we need, the more we are overwhelmed by everything that we can find for free.
When we discover that stinging nettles and dandelions, and other wild-growing herbs, are so good for eating and teas, and so enriching for our health and rituals of mindfulness and gratitude, we realise that the countryside is our garden, and its supplies are unlimited.
By letting go our conditioned beliefs, that cause us to want so many material things that require so much energy and money and work to maintain, so this letting go creates the space and time for real personal growth, and for real fearlessness and freedom - whatever comes along.
Letting go of the self and our ego
By letting go of who and what we thought we are, we come to accept and love that we need not be anyone or anything.
By letting go of what we thought was everything - all of our attachments and fears - so we begin to discover that what matters is what we can do, rather than what we think have done and what we think we must be and have.
Imagine you lose everything - your home, family, friends, money, possessions - because this happens to millions of people...
... How would you cope and survive?
Now imagine, if you can answer that you would be okay, imagine how abundant and beautiful a very modest existence would be.
Let it come to you
This sort of growth is easier for some than others at different times of life.
So that perhaps it's equally available to everyone, in different ways.
Growth seems partly about waiting for seeds that have been planted to grow, and about walking through doorways that have been shown and opened, when we are ready.
Let it come to you.
Open yourself to what is possible and miraculous, and miracles happen.