Adapt or die is the truth of the day. The question is, how to do it gracefully. Do we thrash against the current? Tread water and wait for calmer waves? Scream for help? Stay calm and hope for a lost chunk of driftwood to cling to? I don't know any more.
Throughout my life, in times of crisis, people have always commented on how calm and sure I seem to be. "Seem" is the operative word. Truth is, quite simply, I've always taken the passive route. I bow to whatever the gods have required of me like some sycophantic char woman, thinking that if I meet what's required, or even possibly more than what's required, I'll be better for it. Is that so wrong? I have to believe that I've learned from every "lesson", and yes, I've grown stronger through every trial. But would I have been just as strong, if not stronger, had I raged instead, or had I come out swinging? And... why all the trials and lessons? What is the bigger picture that I'm just not seeing? Note: I am not asking "why me?" I never would. It's obvious that there is something I need to learn which test I've failed over and over. But what?
So I stare at my river for answers with the idea that to survive the water, one must understand (think like) the water... and contemplate the words of Lao Tzu.
The best of man is like water,
Which benefits all things, and does not contend with them,
Which flows in places that others disdain,
Where it is in harmony with the Way.
So the sage:
Lives within nature,
Thinks within the deep,
Gives within impartiality,
Speaks within trust,
Governs within order,
Crafts within ability,
Acts within opportunity.
He does not contend, and none contend against him.
~Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
Enlightenment, whether one is actively seeking it or has actually found it, is not always a happy place. Sometimes it is the fucked path on the journey - a breathless climb complete with fallen trees to scramble over, ankle-twisting boulders, swarming gnats, and pricker bushes. It's also typically a part of the journey that provides little sustenance and water. The idea is that one finds one's way without relying on outside sources. It is what it is. There are no wrong turns.
With a bit of skill and a lot of perseverance, we may just find ourselves in the meadow again... a meadow robed in verdant green and dotted with flowers that are nearly too vibrant to look at... and a river runs through it.