A Resilient Life

In my studies this past week, I read a novel on death from a teenage perspective, began an introduction into traditional Chinese medicine, and watched a DVD on coincidence, all within the context of discovering a resilient life.

Melissa Bowersock Image
WANA Commons

Increasingly, my posts refer to a resilient life–not my phrase–by which I mean that in all of existence all happens simultaneously. For human beings, a resilient life requires a fully functioning mind-body organism to create and re-create one’s life as a work of art. Essentially, then, living a resilient life is everyone’s purpose as Dr. Symeon Rodger offers in The Five Pillars of Life. Dr. Rodger acknowledges that the idea of a resilient life  can be found in all of the authentic ancient traditions, although each ancient  tradition expresses the concept a bit differently.

Similarly, all of the ancient traditions embrace Seng Ts’an’s observation: “There’s no need to seek the truth—just put a stop to your opinions!” Not surprisingly, if you search for Seng Ts’an’s quote on the Internet, the top search results reveal the Buddhist monk’s words as status updates on various Facebook pages. And no, I did not investigate any of the search results, having more than enough opinions of my own to stop.

In that regard, I found another element critical to my understanding a resilient life–my daily routine–where routine is not a schedule of minutes but every minute is a way of life, a distinct  difference.  In essence, every moment is free, without attachment. Any qualifying baggage such as right or wrong is attached to those moments considered future or past but never in the moment that is. Of course, time-space is much, much more than this casual allusion but I had not considered every moment as unattached. It changes a lot.

I discovered this idea of every moment being free  from a Deepak Chopra’s DVD seminar, The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire. Chopra acknowledges that the concept of every moment as free has its origins in the “ancient traditions of wisdom,” what Dr. Rodger refers to as authentic ancient traditions. To me, the title of Chopra’s 2003 DVD belies the heart of the seven-hour seminar, which is better revealed in the DVD’s subtitle: Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence.

Amber N West Image
WANA Commons

Speaking of, I discovered Chopra’s DVD at the local library after being notified that a novel for which I waiting was now available. Chopra’s DVD was on display near the library circulation desk, and once I was aware of the DVD’s existence, there was never a doubt I would check it out. This is the same morning I was writing an essay on Seng Ts’an’s quote on truth.

Moving ever backward into this same morning, I was not considering making a trip to the library at all. As I reviewed my work for the week, an email notice from the library showed up in my Inbox, advising that a book I had requested was available. I seized the moment and decided a drive to the library was in order, much to the delight of Cooper James.

It had been at least a month since I requested John Green’s The Fault in our Stars, a young adult novel about teenagers, cancer, and dying, not in any predictable order but the story is a good one. It explores the idea of life being a side effect of death, specifically how chronic illness warps not only life but the entire experience of death, how chronic illness might provide a single moment in which we believe not that we will cheat death but that we will come to it prepared. Yet more often than not, life ends mid sentence. Green writes with wit and grit—it is a novel I recommend–I found it to be a page turner.

I did not anticipate reading a novel as part of this week’s course in a resilient life any more than I anticipated watching a seminar on coincidence but I had hoped to discover a text on traditional Chinese medicine, and I did, The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine by Ted J. Kaptchuk who is quick to explain: “The Chinese method is based on the idea that no single part can be understood except in its relation to the whole,” yet another expression of a resilient life.

22 thoughts on “A Resilient Life

  1. Pingback: Spending My Days | KM Huber's Blog

  2. I wonder if it is wrong that I read this with a sense of “yes, of course, this is how it has always been; why do people–why do I even–always make a mess of things by trying to create meaning?” But the truth is, in a relaxed, peaceful moment, it seemed to be nothing more than the way things work… moment by moment.

    There are days, of course, where I feel like Adrian, dreading change, not able to deal with the impending alterations to “my schedule” as if my personal needs guided the world and set the course of time. And yet, most of my delight comes not from those moments I have planned and calculated down to the last minute, but from those that I never expected, or had set into motion only to forget and then be reacquainted with at some later time.

    As for words… It is interesting how words change. Rob noted it when he mentioned how scan used to mean the opposite of what it does now. Nice went through a similar transformation. It made me think about something on Natalie Hartford’s post about Five Things she would never a apologize for…. how she used the word “slutty”. And it made me think about how there are now “Slut Walks” to raise awareness of rape… About how groups take over terms that were meant one way and then turn them around….

    And now I am rambling….

    Thank you again, Karen, for offering me so much to think about and contemplate.

    Like

    • The more I read of the ancient traditions, the less I look at right or wrong or any kind of duality and the more I see connections via various perspectives or Oneness. Of course, there are many words for expressing what I just wrote, as multi-faceted as our journeys, varied voices weaving in and out of one another, moment by moment. It all is such an experience!

      Thanks for stopping by, Eden.
      Karen

      Like

  3. What a beautiful post! I love “There’s no need to seek the truth—just put a stop to your opinions!”. I am going to put these books down on my reading list. I agree with all you’ve said. Seems we gravitate toward very similar trains of thought. Thank you for this!

    Like

    • Hello, August!
      Isn’t resilient just a fine word, written or falling off the tongue it has a lilt. As you say, there is always something waiting for us, and we growth with it.
      Karen

      Like

  4. Though my resilient life circles were different, I appreciated this post. I’ve read part of the Kaptchuk book, and fully agree with the monk, as I share the same overall practice. I also think that like the word scan, which used to mean to search thoroughly, the word coincidence has taken that same sort of turning around. I prefer the coming together in space and time aspect of the word, meaning the attraction of the two energies, the angles, the co-mingled filling of space and time, like two angles fitting exactly together.

    Like

    • Hello, Rob!

      You make an excellent point about the denotation and connotation of words. I so agree with your time-space observation regarding coincidence, which you write of so descriptively that it stays within one. Thank you.
      Karen

      Like

  5. Lovely writing and strikingly parallel to what I’m studying right now in Plant Spirit Medicine, a course developed by Eliot Cowan (see his book by the same title) as he learned through JR Worsley, a practitioner of Chinese Five Element healing.

    Like

    • Thank you, Melody, for citing another course. I know I have come across Cowan and Worsley and am glad to know there is similarity to my study. Appreciate your kind words regarding my writing. Do let me know how your course of study develops.
      Karen

      Like

  6. I’ve become, with age, much more a ccepting of the independence of each moment and look forward to the sudden and unexpected. If not for life’s inherent randomness I would walk the path of habit with little variation. I like the familiar. My favorite form of randomness usually happens in a moment, like seeing a hawk swoop across the road when I walk the neighborhood or an unexpected conversation with a kid on a bike. The thrill of encountering other lives is more than enough for me these days, one moment after another.

    Like

    • Hello, Sigrun!

      I have been thinking about your comment and overall, I believe mindfulness within a resilient life resides in always thoroughly examining what comes one’s way. Dr. Rodger is quite adamant about always testing and questioning any experience, for in a resilient life all is evolving, requiring us to examine what we experience. Yours is an excellent point, one I am just beginning to explore. Thank you!
      Karen

      Like

  7. Lots of interesting ideas here Karen. I am a great believer in coincidence but there is a strong element of seeing what we want to see which I think does contribute to it! I do think we need to take control of our lives and be true to our own opinions if they are justifiable. I find elements in ‘ancient wisdom’ to reinforce and sometimes redirect my own feelings and thoughts rather than totally direct them. I love the idea of life as a work of art!

    Like

    • I agree with what you say about coincidence, Diana. One must be aware, most mindful even, of making connections as opposed to seeing connections. Perhaps it is this aspect of coincidence that fascinates me the most, and I admit that I may not always maintain the distinction but oh how interesting it is! The idea of life as a work of art is from Dr. Rodger, and later I realized I did not make that attribution clear but does not the idea play nicely with the concept of place?

      Karen

      Like

  8. Good post Karen! But my only problem with Chinese medicine is that some of it uses things like tiger bone which is helping the tiger to become extinct. I am obssessed with fate and coincidence so that sort of thing always fascinates me!

    Like

    • Hello, Janet!

      Oh, if we on this planet would appreciate all of our resources. Thanks for the information regarding Chinese medicine; at present, my goal to understand it from a traditional sense more than as a practice. Always nice to have you drop by.
      Karen

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s