(published in Kindred Spirit website June 9th 2017. Jeu décisif Kindred Spirit)
It’s amazing what inspiration comes to you when you’re watching a game of tennis! The first fortnight in June hosts the French Tennis Open (Roland Garros) and I have been struck by the determination, fearlessness and tenacity of the players as I watch their interaction during play. This is especially so in the Tie-break (jeu décisif): the decider game. These qualities of determination, fearlessness and tenacity are also sought-after spiritual qualities, the acquisition of which will hasten our soul’s growth, and so it is in all our interests to nurture these qualities in our life. How can we follow the examples set by athletes and sportsmen and women to integrate these spiritual qualities into our daily lives? Here are a few pointers to help you do this:
Determination is such an important quality in all aspects of life: the attitude of “keep on keeping on”. It’s important to try and nurture this quality in ourselves: in the routines of daily life, in meditation, in relationships and so on. It would be so much easier, and yet much less spiritually valuable, to take the easy way, to drop the racquet and say “I give up. This is too difficult”. But it’s through all the trials in life—when we need to dig deep and be resolutely determined to overcome these challenges—that we see massive growth spiritually and emotionally! We can all use this gift of determination wisely, and especially, to do good in life.
Remember to never give up trying, even when the odds seem stacked against you! If you are continually coming up against a brick wall, try sitting in quiet and asking for inner guidance. Perhaps what you are trying to do or achieve is not the best course of action for you and that is why obstacles constantly arise. Perhaps your motivations are ego-led: selfish as opposed to selfless. Living solely for the self can give temporary moments of happiness absolutely—but not long-term joy. Many of us discover this lesson very late in life. So, think through problems logically, analyze your motivations, reason possible solutions and try these one at a time. When you have discovered the right course of action for you and for the good of others, things will flow easily.
Courage to trust in oneself, but also to trust in a higher power. Those who have faith in such an overarching power often appear calmer and less afraid to take action. Even if we don’t always know what’s going on in our lives and how what we think, say or do will affect others, God does. The essence of the message in this quotation is to trust in Him (whatever name you give Him: God, Source, Allah, Jehovah etc.) that everything will be okay. This can be a frightening thing to consider and do: relinquishing control to something unseen and unknown. However, ask yourself if you are happy with the status quo: continually spinning plates trying to control each aspect of your life, usually out of fear that something bad may happen if you stop running. Is living in fear helping you to grow emotionally and spiritually or is it stifling your life-energy?
“It is I who remain seated in the heart of all creatures as
the inner controller of all.” (Bhagavad Gita XV:15)
Whatever your beliefs, it is certainly true that none of us can see the whole ‘big picture’ in life; we’re only a tiny spark of light in the vast cosmos, a single thread in the tapestry of all life. Therefore, we can only see our little part of the tapestry! How freeing it is to fearlessly put our trust in a higher power and hand over any doubts and attempts we make to control life around us! It is at this point that we are able to act without fear of any results of our actions. If God is the umpire of this terrestrial match of life, we are the players on court, and we need only do our best at the end of the day. This is what really matters: how we play the game, the lessons we learn from each challenge and how we learn to love others.
If we search for the meaning of tenacity in a dictionary, one interpretation will say: “the quality of being able to grip something firmly”. This is an apt description when talking about a game of tennis or even a limpet clinging to a rock! But what about you and I? How do we stand firm in the face of, for example, peer pressure to ‘fit in’ or change? Well, firstly we have the courage to be who we are and not what we think others want us to be; we affirm our self-worth daily to ourselves and to other people; we stand firm when criticized or ridiculed for our beliefs or selfless actions; we constantly battle our bad habits and work just as hard to establish new, positive habits of thinking and doing. We strive at every turn to be the best player we can be in this game of life. These are the qualities of tenacity which can be nurtured in all of us in order for our soul to prosper.
Our jeu décisif:
Are we going to be tenacious in all aspects of life? Is this life on Earth going to be our ‘jeu décisif’ in which we conquer accumulated karma with no further need to reincarnate? Or will our tenacity weaken, hastening our return to play another game? The ball is in your court!