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47: Oppression


The image of oppression conjures up a dried up lake bed with nettlesome crows stalking the shoreline. Hard times can shrivel our spirits, and give rise to a multitude of 'crows' in the form of troublesome worries. Times of great loss or personal failure break weaker people; but the strong of heart can bend with fate. To endure hard times — or even grow and benefit from them — it is essential to tap that deepest stratum of personal identity, that which is deeper even than fate, and which is incorruptible by even the harshest realities. It is essential, in other words, to tap the wellspring of human endurance: hope.

In a sense, there is no such thing as failure. There is only sweet and sour reality, and more is learned from the sour, oftentimes, than from the sweet. For failure, hard as it may be to swallow, opens the blinds to the real world, and reawakens the clarity of vision known only to those who have risked, and tasted, disappointment.

When in the throes of hard times, it is wise to be resolute and strong on the inside while remaining quietly cheerful on the outside. Avoid too much talking — except to your closest friends. Your words will have little effect on all others, since your influence will be at a low ebb — and the attempt to get across will only drain you of vital energy. Strong silence is the most skillful posture when facing the public during adversity; it shows that your inner core is strong enough to withstand the current troubles, and suggests that your recovery will be complete. At the same time, talking openly to those you trust is equally important, for in times of calamity, talking is an important part of healing.

Keep in mind that failure — the final taboo in modern society. But this is just one part of the inevitable cycle of life for those who dare to live fully and completely. Never to fail at all is to fail in the biggest way — avoiding risk altogether, you cannot help but fall far short of what might have been.

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