It’s easy to see obstacles as an unnecessary form of evil on our way to success, but without obstacles success cannot be reached. Without the resistance of millions of air molecules the airplane would not be able to lift off, and without the resistance of millions of water molecules we would not be able to swim.
Opposition is essential for any sort of progress. The bigger the obstacles, the greater the possibility of achievement. There should be no attitude or fear or discouragement in the face of obstacles, but a simple acknowledgment that we are moving in life. If we aren’t progressing, there would be no obstacles on our way.
The more the person has achieved, the greater the obstacles he faces. A homeless person in India faces the problem of how to protect his food from ants; an average person living in a developed country faces the challenge of saving enough money for a good holiday; a famous singer may get a million-dollar lawsuit for something that he said in public which insulted some individual or a group of persons.
When you have this perspective, it no longer feels so lonely or discouraging when you are faced with some big problem. At this very moment, many people are faced with much worse problems than you are. And it’s only our choice whether we decide to give up or not. We can always try to fight that problem, and usually the problem looks very great only at the beginning anyway. When we start analyzing it and deciding on definite steps to take to solve it, the problem quickly ceases looking so threatening and is soon removed from our way.
It can often be fearful to be faced with something unknown. But as soon as we start studying the subject, it loses the element of fear. The problem can look very threatening, when the only thing that’s threatening in reality is not researching about what that problem really is, which components it consists of.
It’s up to you to decide whether to give up and get crushed by the obstacle and thus no longer make progress, or to tackle that obstacle, win over it, and to make ever greater progress. This life is really about fight as such. We are either going up or going down. There’s no equilibrium where we can fully rest, and according to the Western esoteric tradition, such a thing as total rest, like the nirvana of the Eastern traditions, does not exist; the Western tradition teaches that souls have to make continuous progress and that this life is only about growth.
If we don’t grow, we start dying. Growing means continuously fighting obstacles and winning over them. If we allow any part of us to experience decay, eventually we will die. For example, a disease not treated in one area of the body will spread and will result in our death. That means we have lost the battle against some invading lower-life form.
This life is based on sacrifice. You can only live because someone or something else dies. This seemingly cruel aspect of life teaches to never give up, and by never giving up you come to learn that you are much more stronger than you think you are. This life is indeed a very tough school, but if we are here, then it means these are the lessons we must learn.
I guess one of the most painful experience in life is when other people become obstacles on our path. When you work hard to progress, there arise certain individuals whom you did no wrong, but who want to see you fall. And they may slander you, and work actively to make you fall.
It’s painful to watch a human brother or sister do this to their own kind, but then the words of Jesus resound in my ears about the fact that offences must come, but woe to them through whom they come. Such unconscious individuals who are obstacles in your life are not awakened, thus they are used by life as the manifestation of those unavoidable obstacles. If you view such individuals in this impersonal light, it’s easier to come to terms with this unpleasant happening.
Whether obstacles in your life are people or circumstances, it’s up to you whether you want to allow them to win or continue tackling such problems. If you choose the latter, you will find that you have much more personal power and resources than you thought you did, and continuous success over life’s obstacles teaches you to place more and more faith in yourself, and that you can win over obstacles that may seem almost insurmountable.
Obstacles do not come in life as a warning for you to stop what you are doing. They come into your life as an acknowledgment that you are progressing. If you win over them, further progress is made available.
Those who don’t fight obstacles cannot get onto another level of achievement. It’s through obstacles that we are enabled to experience new heights in life.
Thus, obstacles should not be viewed in a negative light, but as a necessary part of our movement upwards in life. Viewed this way, they no longer seem so discouraging, bu their presence can actually inspire us to continue taking action, as they can only come into one’s life when one is making progress.