Supposedly, adversity builds character.  But I’ve seen many people that have gone through harsh times and actually DE-volved.  My theory is that adversity gives us the CHOICE to build character by encouraging us to look at/revise our operating systems.  

So in that sense, adversity is like everything else:  a gift which we can use to build our spirit…or indulge our cravings.


19 thoughts on “Musings

  1. When you say cravings – are you talking addictions? Buddha’s concept of suffering? Chocolate? All of the above?

    I get what you mean. It seems like you either overcome, or allow it to define. I read the other day “the only way to go through pain is to go through it. You can’t fight it.” I think The Buddha had said something similar but I’m blanking and now I want chocolate. I love your musings. I just wish you’d get out of my head.

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    • Yep. Addictions. I don’t think we need to be disciplined to the point where we can ignore anything, as ascetics would have us do, but I DO think we need to be disciplined enough to enjoy life to the fullest degree. Like we need to be able to play video games, binge watch, eat sugar, or even do drugs to the point where the experience is most enjoyable…then walk away as the returns diminish. Most people who are addicted to whatever have told me they just keep going even when they don’t enjoy it. I know that’s anecdotal, but hey, personal anecdotes form our stances on life, right?

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      • Oh my gosh – you and I are of the same mind. I couldn’t agree with you more. Do you like Louis ck? He did a bit “I don’t do drugs….sooo that when I do drugs, I get really high” that kills me.

        I was just kind of ranting about this, people seem to hold this concept that it’s all or nothing. I’ve been trying to explain how badass Buddhism is, because it is a philosophy, not a religion.

        To me, Buddha didn’t wish for us to be slaves of any conformity. If we are to be our highest selves, we are to enjoy our lives entirely, but without the burden of crutches and suffering – too much of anything is suffering to me.

        When something becomes an addiction, it becomes a burden. I’m still very new in the universal perspective, but to me, enlightenment, spirituality, awakening all stem from the root of seeking your own strength and light and to deny yourself is to dim your fuckin’ shine.

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      • Agree! How convenient is it to ignore all the transcendental stories and art that were inspired by psychedelics? As far as their functionality, you just have to look around on google to see that they’re great for PTSD or sometimes breaking habits as strong as heroin! Buddha was all about accessibility. He didn’t have the arrogance to insist that the common folk learn sanskrit or forsake everything to learn higher truths; he tailored practices that conformed to his students (from what I understand). And irony upon ironies: Many of his later followers made a fairly inaccessible religion out of his stuff. I think it’s just human nature; it’s more comfortable to stick with unchanging doctrine.

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      • I think it’s a defense mechanism driven by fear of losing what you have. Some folks – in my experience – get the notion that sharing the “good stuff” they have with everyone will diminish what they are getting from that good stuff if they don’t keep it to themselves. I guess it’s kind of a greed thing. We all suffer from it from time to time. It’s just a question of being aware enough to know what’s okay to keep for yourself versus sharing with others. I guess that begs the question is it okay at all to keep something for yourself, especially if it’s good stuff. I ramble…


  2. Absolutely. I keep wondering why I am going thru what I am now. It is my choice, I could leave mom to my sister and come to the funeral soon. And I have gotten chubbier while caring for her. Persons with Diabetes tend to not mix well with the few yummies I attract. Going to look for the Jr Mints–if my blood sugar says I can!!

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  3. Definitely. A simple truth. We can use it to grow and improve, and maybe helps others, or we can allow it to let us fall into ourselves and wallow in pity and blame others, etc., etc. What do you think the difference comes down to most? Environment and personal history/cycle? Character? A divine, guiding power? Interesting to consider.

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    • Well I think it’s undeniable that we don’t have COMPLETE free will (we can’t really choose the pivotal programming that shapes us as kids), and it’s arguable to say that there might not be any free will at all. However, I choose to believe that regardless of how much we do or don’t have, we still will always have the choice to learn from or enjoy the circumstance we are in. That’s an unprovable thing, but it’s what I choose to believe in.

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      • Even if we are on rails, we can choose how we ride those rails?
        I think that’s so, and a bit more. As the simple-minded person I am, I tend to allow myself the consolation/belief that some bad things in our lives are going to happen; predestined if you will. As you have stated very well, it’s a question of how we choose to deal with it that determines the level of negativity we ultimately take away from the adversity. Being traumatized (the worst adversity) – mentally and/or physically – is very difficult to deal with, but it CAN be dealt with. Folks can get something out of it, and not let it be something that drags them down and/or defines them, devolving because of it. The path to that reckoning and build-up of character, however, is the problem that must be discovered by the individual. – My two cents, change accepted…

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  4. Sometimes adversity can be brought on by wrong choices, other times it just comes looking for you.
    So there are times when hunkering down and surviving is the best option, waiting for the better times to come around.
    Once many years back, I was talking with a much older colleague who’d been Up and had been Down, he asked me how I was I said ‘Surviving,’; he looked back at me with a very serious expression and said softly ‘Surviving is Good’…. lesson learnt.


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