A couple of months ago, I was driving with my parents to Ventura, CA to visit Mike. After a few hours in traffic, we decided to switch on a recent Oprah SuperSoul Conversations podcast episode with author and spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle.
In the last 10 minutes, their conversation moved to the current state of the world.
Oprah asks Tolle: "So, what is your interpretation of these troubled times we are living in?"
There is a Latin saying going back 2000 years: “per aspera ad astra" which translated means “through adversity to the stars,” or, "through hardship to the stars." So whenever an obstacle rises that seems to block the path forward, in reality the obstacle has an essential function. And that is, it forces me or it forces humanity to generate more — either more strength, more energy or more consciousness."
That got my interest. It reminded me of the Stoic view of adversity, a concept that really resonates with me, and we have written about before. Tolle continues:
“It even operates on a physical level. If you want to make your body stronger, what do you do? You say, well, you need to exercise. But what is exercise? Exercise is … for a while you have to make life difficult for your body ... you have to lift this weight … ”Oh my god, it’s so [heavy]” … You are not in your comfort zone anymore … And so life becomes difficult for the body and then there is a demand for more strength … When life becomes difficult for human beings there is demand for more consciousness.”
For Me, The Meaning of Per Aspera Ad Astra
When I look at my own life, I see that my greatest periods of personal growth came after particularly challenging moments — moments where I was beyond my comfort zone. This idea of growth through adversity has come up in the Holstee Membership a number of times, particularly in the importance of Adventure and the beauty of Resilience.
While it doesn’t make going through tough times any easier, this idea does give me hope that through it all, we can rise higher than where we started.
To the stars,
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