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Philosophers and mystics have for centuries declared life to be an illusion, nothing is what is seems, there are deeper levels of meaning below the surface of experience. While intriguing, how can such an idea have practical value?

I have encountered other hints. Gurdjieff, early 20th Century consciousness teacher, said: “We always make a profit.” He indicated friction is food for inner growth. Jesus said: “Every hair is counted.”

Through the past 30+ years I have filtered my life experience through ideas like this looking for meaning to what, at times, seems to be meaningless. I’ve also used these ideas in my work as a psychotherapist. I’ve come to see in my life and the lives of others how adversities of all sorts have ultimately proved beneficial to the ‘victims’ of these negative experiences.

Ask a person who was raised in a abusive family environment what got them through. What strength did they develop to enable them to survive? There’s invariably an answer. Probing further, are you grateful to have this strength? Absolutely yes! Could you have acquired this quality of Being any other way? Not that I know of. Are you able to forgive those who gave you these experiences? Yes to this comes harder. We are reluctant to give up our victim identity. I once had a patient say to me: “You mean you want me to give up my pain? I wouldn’t know who I was!!”

It almost seems life was designed this way, to give us strength building experiences. We’ve all heard: “What doesn’t kill me makes me strong.”

To me this is the hidden meaning behind negative life experience. It is designed to facilitate inner growth. Look at your own difficult life experiences and ask yourself what did you gain from them. It is a way to begin forgiving the perpetrators in your life. Give up being a victim and realize there is a deeper meaning and design in every life drama, no matter the details or the horrific nature of it. Bring that into the present-moment, into your current experience of friction, adversity. Look beneath the surface with this new perception to glean what you are gaining in the challenges you face.

This inquiry will help you understand and accept that what is happening is for the greater good, is maybe even what you signed up for when you decided to try out being human. This shift in perception will change your relationship to everything, allowing you to Surrender to What Is and BE Here/Now.