A New Journey
1. Significant opportunities for learning, for self-improvement and for personal growth fill the world around us. However, these opportunities are available only to those who are willing to open up to them. This is the premise at the center of the discussion here below. Specifically, each of us has a chance for a life filled with stimulation and unseen challenges. If we still need to accept or face these unseen challenges, then we just need to confront them because the results are surprising yet advantageous.
2.The author does not just talk and teach us about the challenges that we face each day but also about some of the experiences, we have to deal with, some terrible and others pleasant. Tolle writes ‘‘to forgive is to overlook, or rather to look through. You look through the ego to the sanity that is in every human being as his or her essence’’ (Tolle 63). Sometimes, when I have a fight with my parents, some of the negative thoughts keep nagging at my heart, and then I calm myself down; at that time, I ask my heart “Well, is it important?” Every time like a pleasant awakening, though my thoughts are still running through my mind, I step back and take a more detached position to watch myself to be able to answer this question.
3. Of course, many people will simply avoid the unfamiliar as a way of evading the potential to suffer or get hurt. This is not necessarily an irrational way to behave in the face of the unfamiliar. Tolle says, “How you react to people and situations, especially when challenges arise, is the best indicator of how deeply you know yourself” (Tolle188). Travelling to an unknown destination may lead to unpredictable dangers, but I believe that such dangers are challenges for me. When I travel to new cities or new countries, I make it a point to talk to as many locals as possible. One can learn so much more from one conversation than one can from one hundred tour books. For instance, I find it better to ask locals about the best foods I can enjoy in their country or cities, the best places to sightsee, how some foods are prepared and so forth.
So I introduce myself to strangers, share experiences with travelers, bargain with shopkeepers and ask taxi drivers questions. When I speak to a waiter, I, for example, ask her where she is from and what life is like there. If one opens himself up to strangers this way, he can learn so much not just about this new place in the world but also about himself. Sometimes there is no way to predict what balance of enlightenment and endangerment might occur when one takes a chance with the unfamiliar such as venturing to speak to an unknown member of the opposite sex may lead to embarrassment, or a high seas adventure might well lead to scurvy, but there is, to be sure, value in the experience either way. For instance, getting embarrassed while talking to the opposite sex can teach one how to communicate with them better next time, and getting or witnessing scurvy can teach one that they have to carry fruit next time they take such a trip. Either way, significant challenges have the capacity to bring about adept insight.
4. In the journey of my life, any conflict and unhappiness, I have experienced acts like some kind of test. In addition, these always act as opportunities to increase my knowledge or awareness. I remember when I attended an encounter growth group; the speaker, Mr. Chen, told a story about awareness: at first when one walks on the road, he does not notice that there is a giant hole in the middle, and then one will always fall into it. At that time, one needs to spend lots of time to climb out from the hole.
The second time he walks on the road, and falls into the hole again. However, he stays in the hole for a shorter time than before. Again, he walks on the road, and he tries to go around, but still falls into it accidentally. Nevertheless, he knows how to climb out of the hole. Finally, one day, he knows there is a hole in the middle of the street, and he knows how to bypass it. However, this does not guarantee that he will not fall into another hole. The hole perhaps is depression, sadness, anger, or pain, and the only thing he can do is maintain awareness. This story makes me realize that we must be willing to fail, to falter, to suffer, in order to become greater versions of ourselves. Sometimes, seeing lesser versions of us can be the key to this personal evolution.
The story Mr. Chen gave is an appropriate example of how we should never give up trying to find solutions to our problems because the more we try the better chances we get of emerging successful. There was a time I always got distressing results for math, and my parents were increasingly disappointed in me. I tried practicing, but I could not seem to improve my results. I got a mentor who advised me to keep on practicing and applying what I learned in my tests, and finally I started improving my scores. With time, I was extremely proficient at math. It was the fact that I was not excellent in math that made me work harder to improve on my skills and knowledge. Without this failure, I would not have gained any success or improvement.
5. Perhaps most importantly, we must recognize that the personal improvement we derive from working hard does not occur easily. Albert Einstein says, “A human being is a part of a whole, called by us the ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space”. This is to mean that human beings do not exist independently; their existence and their actions affect the existence and the experiences of the other human beings. This is to mean that we improve ourselves only if we improve the value we represent for the whole of humanity, in whatever modest capacity this may be possible. If we improve ourselves, we also improve the others, or the bigger universe. By doing away with ignorance and by increasing awareness, we obtain a chance to know so much more, not just about the world but also about ourselves.
6.This perhaps is the main subject of our discussion; nothing that we do occurs independently of the needs and wishes of family, friends, communities, societies, civilizations and so on. We are insignificant units of an infinitude that is well beyond our comprehension. The best one can do is, try to understand and take this concept as a function of things that we can affect or influence. Where we can improve our lives, the lives of those around us and the lives of those beyond us, we have a responsibility to attempt to do so. Through the discussion above, we were able to see that is only through openness to the unfamiliar, willingness to learn from challenges and acknowledgement of a broader universe that will allow us to become whole human beings, capable of learning and influencing others positively.
Tolle, Eckhart. A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. New York: The Plum Book, 2005. Print.