When we talk of freedom, of liberty, and agency we talk of the ability to shape a reality that is aligned with our vision of how the world should be. Last month, we looked at our definition of goodness and our ideal reality. When we talk of struggle, we point to the hardship that we must endure to bring that reality to life. Reluctantly, we give up our comforts to pursue our dreams, but an investigation of this struggle may help us reshape our perspective.
Nothing worth while comes easy in the world. In fact, nothing comes to be in the universe at all without some exercise of work. Whether we are referring to the physics of energy transference from one form to another, or the time and energy required to build a house, work is fundamental to the formation of any reality. What we find at different times in the history of humanity are conflicts of interest, and personal goals that demand we put our energies towards objectives that are unpopular, or lack momentum.
In these instances we must not only do the work that would be required to overcome the natural obstacles to our success, like inertia, but also face the additional challenge of being confronted with the auxiliary resistance that may come from gravity, the wind, or even a financial hurdle to acquiring the supplies need to build our dream house. This compounding of obstacles moves us beyond the typical demands of work but starts us at a handicap that we have to beat in order to be granted a fair shot.
For some, this conditional obstacle may be a physical disability, others may face some form of social discrimination, still there are those who might simply have to face their own shortcomings of character. In all cases, there is a conflict of forces that is addressed during the process of bringing the ideal into the material world. This always requires some form of energy to fuel the activity and some capacity of strength to withstand the opposition.
All this amounts to struggle. And, over the years the term has been applied to many things but it always points to this process of going against the grain to create something worthwhile. So when we talk about struggle it may not be fair to synonymize it with sacrifice. If we recognize the process is not arbitrary but a necessary part of creating our reality, does it change how we approach it? This month I am interested in finding out if we can push against our tendency towards reluctance to struggle, and lean into it,maybe even enjoy it.
If we see the conflict of forces, our ideals versus reality, as the friction required to make energetic work, that may be unpleasant but not unduly traumatic or painful, is it easier to find the courage to face it? I hope that by following this path as far as we can this we come to some understanding about our ability to withstand opposition, reframe how we think of struggle, and perhaps see it as an opportunity and not an obligation.
We may not find that it is not that ” the struggle is real” but that the struggle makes real and embracing it is the shortest path to fulfilling our dreams.
Founder, Citizens Of Culture