Where does resilience (or to some, grit or durability) truly come from? Is it learned? Is it practiced? Is it controlled? Is it worked at? No to all. In fact, all you have to do is consider the resilience of young children to appreciate that resilience doesn’t spring from any of those things. So, then, where does it come from? Or, more precisely, what causes resilience? The answer is that resilience is caused by an intuitive understanding that becomes shrouded as we age. The understanding that we are not our feelings, perceptions, sensations, or experiences—including our struggles and our suffering. In short, resilience is just another word for the true Self. From the perspective of the true Self, we carry on no matter our current experience. We are not our struggle; we are aware of it. We don’t fight our suffering; we are distant from it. And, thus, like the majority of young children, we overcome, rebound, or rise above without effort.
This is why you and I can, at times, perform stunningly well, or contribute to the world in positive ways, even when we’re under the weather, injured, or in the midst of misfortune. Absent of resistance, pain has no grip. But this is also why, at times, we can’t. We momentarily forget who we truly are and identify with, or become, our pain and our troubles. We dig into them, share them, and adorn them like badges of courage—all in a debilitating quest to return to the resilience, the true Self, we know ourselves to be.
Before a talk in London last week, I momentarily fell for the lure of becoming my pain and my troubles. I was complaining, in my own head, about jet lag and a lack of sleep. I wondered how I was going to make it through a talk that was personally significant. In other words, my resilience had vanished. But then, out of nowhere, I thought: “This talk isn’t about you at all.” Hmm, isn’t that the truth. I then met with my insightful co-presenters (Clare Dimond and Ali Scott) and, as resilience and passion returned, we were off to the races. What a time we had.
No question, resilience can be elusive. Even so, it never disappears. As we experience the normal ebb and flow between who we are not—the illusory separate (or personal) self—and who we are—the true Self (Awareness, Consciousness, the One Being we share)—resilience seems to ebb and flow, too. Remember, though, the separate self, like any mirage, is by nature non-resilient. Yet, to the true Self, resilience is but another name.
Inward and up, Garret