The Wisdom of Adversity

In grade school we were taught the lyrics to a clever little ditty called “Dem Bones,” which helped us learn some anatomy through musical fun. Musical intelligence had been identified well before Howard Gardner’s classic, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences.

The toe bone’s connected to the foot bone,
The foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone,
The ankle bone’s connected to the leg bone,
Now shake dem skeleton bones…..

Perhaps everything is connected to something else in the great chain of causation, a concept lost on us today as we attempt to dissect reality into ever smaller parts. This form of fragmentation comes at a steep price! For example, when a problem of a subjective nature arises we often try to isolate it to a specific event, believing that will bring us understanding. Anger, so prevalent today is a case in point.

Anger often originates in an adversity we face, not in a person or circumstance. That is, it is our perception of an adversity and the coping response we have that largely determines our competency (or lack of) in dealing with an adverse situation. Looking at a particular situation as an isolated event tells us little about how we parse feelings of adversity in general.

Perhaps we can apply this to many other areas in life to help come to an understanding of those concepts that have such an influence on our lives. We gain wisdom as we come to understand how these concepts play out in our life by directing them to the benefit of self and surroundings, rather than being directed by them!

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