When we are faced with difficulty we often see those situations as negative because we don’t like the felling we get when our success is in doubt. But, difficulty, in fact should elicit the opposite response. It is a chance for us to progress rather than something to be feared.
Let me explain what I mean. The general trajectory of our lives is more important than any one snap shot in time. The snap shots in time are the moments that we must accept, the ones we cannot change but our actions in the present moment are what determine our future. This is the essence of the Buddhist idea of karma or cause and effect. How we decide to behave in this present moment has a tremendous impact on the experiences we will have in the moments that follow.
Since our current present moment determines our future, it stands to reason that our past behaviour is a cause of our experience today. This is where many people misunderstand the deepest meaning of karma. What we are principally referring to here in terms of behaviour is whether or not you were or are mindful. If mindfulness was your past behaviour than in this present moment you are less likely to be worrying about the past or the future and therefore you are more likely to be happy. By contrast, if you have tended to engage in heedless behaviour, that is probably how you are inclined to act now.
So karma, can be seen as a flow of energy over time. Our karmic energy can flow towards mindfulness which leads to happiness and satisfaction or it can flow away from mindfulness and lead to suffering. While some of this energy is present very often, other kinds of conditions arise only in response to more rare circumstances. For example, when we are confronted with a difficult situation, how do we react? Every time that we react heedlessly, we are strengthening the energy that leads to further suffering in response to difficulty.
This is why difficult situations are an opportunity to change the trajectory of our lives. When we are confronted with a challenge we have a chance to change the flow of karmic energy in response to challenging situations. We can start to adopt a more resilient character which will lead to all kinds of positive benefits. The best part about this reality is that it is self repeating. Every time that we are met with a challenge we can build on our prior behaviour to seize an opportunity to grow.