Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The laboratory called Life

The laboratory called Life

By Bob Garon
TODAY Newspaper
Monday, October 18, 2004 11:48 PM

Why is it that we need to learn so much about life the hard way? Why must teenagers get hurt instead of listening to the wisdom of their elders?

The answer is, I think, because we learn by doing. We don’t listen very well, and even when we do pay attention, there is something in us that causes us to doubt. So we go off on our own and test the theories, the wisdom of our elders.

Life is like a laboratory where we experiment with how to live. We hear the advice of those who came before us, but it isn’t enough. We need to experience to truly learn and formulate our own convictions. We have to practice ways of thinking and doing in order to feel secure about ourselves.

This is why youngsters make so many mistakes. It is why they gather in groups so easily and quickly. They gain confidence and security in numbers and the sense of belonging. They blindly copy and imitate their idols hoping that they can carry them through to adulthood. The changes come fast and furiously at them and the challenge of meeting these changes is too great for some kids to handle. So they escape into their own world of drugs, alcohol, sex or any other convenient hideaway. And because they cannot handle change, they are stunted in their growth as human beings.

Life is a laboratory of change. As we get used to dealing with the countless unexpected changes in life, we become more relaxed, more skillful in coping with them. As a result, we grow more quickly and steadily.

We often fear change. We enjoy the comfort of the familiar. We tend to get tense when the status quo is threatened. We worry that our world might be turned upside down and we won’t be able to handle it.

Not to worry. Changes are opportunities to grow, to improve ourselves and to mature.

A wise Eastern writer said it well when he wrote: “Just as medical studies require both theory and practice, so does life, and in life the practical training is here, is now, in the laboratory of change. As changes occur we learn to look at them with a new understanding; and though they will still go on arising just as they did before, something in us will be different.

“The whole situation will now be more relaxed, less intense and painful; even the impact of the changes we go through we will find less shocking. With each successive change we realize a little bit more, and our view of living becomes deeper and more spacious.”

Changes are on the way. Be brave and face them with the courage that lies within the depths of your soul. Exciting new adventures in growth await you and are yours for the taking.


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