Only when hope left him
In “Man’s search for meaning”, Viktor Frankl told a story. A prisoner of the Auschwitz’s Nazi concentration camp had a dream. In his dream, he wanted to know when he, his camp, would be liberated. And their sufferings came to an end. “March thirtieth”, the voice in his dream said. The prisoner was full of hope.
But as the promised day drew nearer. It appeared very unlikely that they would be free on the promised date. On March twenty-ninth, he suddenly became ill. He ran a high temperature. On March thirtieth (the day his prophecy had told him that the war and suffering would be over for him), he became delirious and lost consciousness. On March thirty-first, he was dead.
The prisoner was dead. Not because of the conditions in the camp and all his sufferings. But only when his hope left him.
We are not at all in such an extreme suffering. But we all had, in our lives, these moments. When anxiety, desperation, and hopelessness overwhelmed us.
Tell me, on what will we lean our mind? If not ourselves?
View from space
For a long time, I’ve meditated this idea. That one day, anyway, the sun will become a red giant, and eat out the Earth. What will remain of our civilizations? Of our inventions? Of our researches? Of our hard works? Of our suffering? Everything has an end.
From geological terms, our Earth’s life is an eye blink, let alone human life. The only thing that matters? To live it in the present moment, to love, and to give. “In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you” (Buddha).
When we take a certain distance from our problems, they become much more insignificant. Today, imagine just a second. How time and space are such local concepts. All change when you travel far in the abysses of the immense universe.
See how these perspectives change the way you see your own problems.
I valued the crisis that happened to me (burnout included)
I’ve never learned as much as in difficult times. When my mother passed away 8 years ago, my whole world collapsed. But another world has gradually bloomed… Much stronger, much deeper, much more profound…
Then came my burnout. I never thanked it enough for the person I become today.
These days all of our concerns are on the Coronavirus. And the crisis time that it implies on the world economy.
But “the spread of coronavirus is showing us that what we share is much more powerful than what keeps us apart. For better or for worse” (Jay Kubassek).
And we can all learn from it. This is not the first, neither the last. “Don’t let the crisis go to waste”. We can thrive in any condition. As said a proverb, we can bloom where we are planted. As nature does.
So today, join me and sing…
“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
― Shel Silverstein
We can keep our calm, as calm is contagious. And we know that from this challenge, something new will thrive.