The Master was in a mellow mood and the disciples were inquisitive.
"Did he ever feel depressed," they asked.
"Wasn't it also true he was in a continual state of happiness?" they persisted.
"What was the secret?" they wanted to know.
Said the Master, "This: everything is as good or as bad as one's opinion makes it."
The meaning we attribute to events impacts us more than we realise. When it seems your life is falling apart, your outlook dictates your response.
The tale by Anthony De Mello underscores the message espoused by Shakespeare, "There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so."
For circumstances to unfold, they must first fall apart to rebuild a stronger foundation. When a person hits rock bottom, the only place to go is up. This can be enriching, since it reaffirms that the human spirit cannot be crushed, despite inhospitable conditions.
We must make room for the new in our lives, by letting go of that which no longer serves us. If your beliefs are outdated, release them instead of holding on.
While it may appear your life is falling apart, it's laying the framework for rebuilding exactly as it should.
"When everything falls apart and we feel uncertainty, disappointment, shock, embarrassment, what's left is a mind that is clear, unbiased, and fresh," states Pema Chodron.
Consider a renovated house. If you were to evaluate the overall design while being demolished, you might assume it isn't coming together as planned. Yet, if you consulted with the architects and interior designers, you see wonderful plans for the home's refurbishment that looks perfect once the project is complete.
So with your life's journey.
To presume life is falling apart based on your perception, is to focus on one part of the process.
Life is neither fair nor unfair, according to your assessment. There's an energy system permeating throughout life. What needs to take place will do so irrespective of your resistance.
To wish away an unpleasant experience only intensifies your response.
When you experience anguish, pick yourself up and continue on your journey.
Vulnerability is part of the human condition. For in the howling wasteland of despair, we unearth our resiliency once the storm has settled.
Psychotherapist and author David Richo affirms, "No matter how dark or destructive things become, we are aware of a healing energy ever afoot that indefatigably renews and rebuilds what falls apart. Something keeps putting it - and us - all back together. This is why it is all right to fall apart."
The universe is in your corner urging you to prevail, realising your current circumstances are transitional.
Take note of the messages that appear during the darkest hours. They are glimpses of the light heralding you towards Truth.
Your greatest breakthroughs will often arrive during moments of hopelessness. Whilst it doesn't appear that way, once the dust has settled you will see something greater emerge.
Humans are uncomfortable with change because it threatens their survival. This is natural and we should embrace this instead of escape the pain.
"So the next time you encounter fear, consider yourself lucky. This is where the courage comes in. Usually we think that brave people have no fear. The truth is that they are intimate with fear," reaffirms Pema Chodron.
So, we ask ourselves what we need to let go of to proceed down the new path.
To reason with your current state keeps you paralysed in your circumstances and slows the progress of where you're meant to be.
There's a purpose to life, irrespective of your resistance. Whilst it makes little sense in the midst of chaos if we suspend judgement, the complete picture will emerge.
A major breakdown can open doors to several breakthroughs if we're willing to lean into the discomfort.
Don't look for an end to your situation, experience what arises despite how emotionally charged it is. To drive away pain defers it, to remerge with greater intensity at a later period.
It was Winston Churchill who said, "If you're going through hell, keep going."
Nothing lasts for ever, even anguish recedes to give way to a new day once time has passed and our wounds have healed.
I enjoy this message from motivational speaker John C. Maxwell in his book, The Difference Maker: Making Your Attitude Your Greatest Asset, "I've found that there are really only two kinds of people in this world when it comes to dealing with discouragement: splatters and bouncers. When splatters hit rock bottom, they fall apart, and they stick to the bottom like glue. On the other hand, when bouncers hit bottom, they pull together and bounce back."
We are strange creatures. We thrive in ideal conditions and struggle through chaos.
Underneath the pain is the knowledge we are: resilient, adaptable and capable of surviving.
One need only look to the Holocaust survivors in Nazi Germany, to see what they endured during the war. Similarly, refugees fleeing their country for fear of persecution live in a constant state of chaos and survive to raise families. This is testament the human will is adaptable in most conditions.
What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.
The challenge when life falls apart is the hopelessness that consumes us. We might believe we are the masters of our fate, so when the rug is pulled out from under us, it threatens our stability.
However, this is a powerful revelation because when everything is taken away, life steps in to transport us to our next journey.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminds us "Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step."
So when it seems your life is falling apart, look to the future. For in the ruins of the past is a signpost pointing you to something wonderful.
Accept your current conditions and stop resisting the flow of life.
We can be hard on ourselves, believing we contributed to life falling apart. Whilst you're a co-creator in the experience, it is essential for your personal evolution and had to take place as it did.
It is with this knowledge we delight in the words of the Master, who calls us to be attentive that everything is as good or bad as one's opinion.
So we suspend believing our life is falling apart and trust it is coming together better than we imagined.