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Between A Rock and a Hard Place – A Spiritual Lesson About Overcoming Adversity

Nobody gets through life unscathed. We all have difficult situations. And we all have extremely difficult situations to overcome. And as pleasure-seeking-pain-avoiding creatures on this planet, when we are in difficulty the first thing we usually do is try and “fix” it.

When in pain, we seek to eliminate the pain.

When in conflict, we seek to resolve the conflict.

When in uncertainty, we seek to find grounding.

Mind you, there's nothing wrong with wanting to minimize pain, conflict, and uncertainty. In fact, it's something I am conscious of regularly. However, the way most of us go about it is often detrimental to finding the optimal solution.

Most of the time, we seek to do that as quickly as possible. End pain fast. Resolve conflict immediately.

It's our nature to do that. Unfortunately, that's more of our primal instinctual nature… not the higher consciousness nature we aspire to embody.

Here's a story from Guy Finley that illustrates this beautifully:

(and if you haven't downloaded his free “7 Steps to Oneness” audio program, click here.”


“The Prince and the Dark Horse”

There was once a young prince who, having reached the age of majority, left home to live on a grand estate given to him by his father. He was told that if he ever needed help he was to put a light in the uppermost tower window, and his father would send a special horse and carriage to carry him to safety.However, his father also warned him that an evil wizard, an enemy of the kingdom, lived not too far from his new home. The prince was told to be wary when setting his signal, for this wizard would also see this light and might himself send his own horse and carriage to carry the prince off to who knows what kind of danger.

Of course, this frightened the young ruler-to-be. After all, how would he be able to tell the difference? His father assured him there was a foolproof measure. Each time, before entering the rescue carriage, he was to closely examine the horse pulling it. A light-colored horse would always take him to safety, but a dark horse would always take him to danger.

As one might imagine, many of the ordeals that come with the ruling life befell the prince, each one causing him to put a light in the window. And for many months, because he was in such a rush to escape his castle when he felt in danger, he failed to heed his father's warning; time and time again he neglected to examine the horse that came to get him. As a result he often found himself on one painful wild ride after another where, too late, he realized his inattentiveness was causing him as much distress as the condition he was trying to escape.

Eventually, he found the presence of mind — before he would get into the carriage that had come for him — to see if the horse pulling it had been sent by the evil wizard or by his father.

By Guy Finley


That begs the question though: What can we actually do when we're between a rock and a hard place?

If it's ineffective and suboptimal to jump towards the first solution, and we require a solution, how do we find it?

One person might suggest waiting. Be patient. Ride it out and the problem will solve itself.

Sometimes that's true.

For example, let's look at what Thomas Moore wrote in his book “Soulmates” about this…

Rather than seeking to resolve the problem as quickly as possible, instead, allow and include the conflict to exist. Give it space. Stand inside the unknown and uncertainty.

In practicing that approach to difficult situations, what we come to see is simple. Forcing answers just leads us down the path of the “Dark Horse” like in that story.

The best and most optimal answer naturally arises when we give it a chance to. Instead of trying control the situation, accept that we don't and can't control it. Sure, we can influence it, but we can't control it.

Therefore, if we can't control a situation, the next best thing we can do is stay present. We can have faith. And we can acknowledge that whoever or whatever does control the situation will reveal to us the optimal information and/or solution when the time is right.

This is subtly different than just waiting. When we are “just waiting,” we are letting go of responsibility. We're saying “Somebody else will fix it.”

That's not effective, nor is it suggested.

Instead, when we can allow the conflict to exist, it gives us space to explore our options more fully. The longer we remain in this kind of conflict, the clearer a specific direction becomes.

We might feel inner nudges and intuition to go a certain way. More information may come forth that shows how a particular choice may be ineffective.

In other words, the unknown is always revealing more to us. And from that space, we are much more enabled to make decisions that are truly of the highest good… and not just made to alleviate the suffering and feelings of helplessness we feel inside.

Next time you have a difficult decision to make…

Instead of contracting, controlling, and trying to fix it completely…

Try giving it space. Expand yourself. Let go of the illusion of control. And trust that allowing all aspects of the situation to be explored will show you the information you need to make the most optimal decision.

Yes, sometimes situations require a fast response and a decision…

AND, when we practice the above on a regular basis, we discover that the time we need to “be in the unknown” and arrive at a solution becomes less and less.

We are also empowered to more quickly recognize when we're making sub-optimal decisions, and therefore, correct course more effectively before it's too late.

If you'd like support with this, be sure to download your free “7 Steps to Oneness” audio program from Guy Finley.

Personal Reflection Questions

Here are 10 questions you can use to go deeper with the teachings in this blog post:

  1. Reflect on a time when you faced a difficult situation. How did you initially approach it, and what were the outcomes of your actions?
  2. Consider the concept of seeking immediate solutions to alleviate pain, conflict, or uncertainty. How has this instinct influenced your decision-making process in challenging times?
  3. Explore the idea of patience and allowing difficult situations to unfold naturally, as suggested by Thomas Moore. How comfortable are you with embracing uncertainty and standing inside the unknown?
  4. Contemplate the story of the prince and the dark horse. How does it resonate with your own experiences of navigating challenges and discerning between potential solutions?
  5. Reflect on the importance of presence and faith when confronted with adversity. How do these qualities empower you to face difficult situations with resilience and trust?
  6. Ponder the difference between “waiting” and “allowing.” How can embracing the existence of conflict and uncertainty create space for deeper exploration and insight?
  7. Consider the role of intuition and inner guidance in decision-making during challenging times. How do you cultivate and trust your inner wisdom to navigate complex situations?
  8. Explore the idea of relinquishing the illusion of control and embracing the unknown. How does this shift in perspective enable you to approach difficult decisions with greater openness and clarity?
  9. Reflect on your relationship with making decisions under pressure. How do you balance the need for swift action with the desire for thoughtful consideration and discernment?
  10. Contemplate the transformative potential of giving space to difficult decisions. How does expanding your perspective and releasing the need for immediate resolution lead to more optimal outcomes and personal growth?

Download your free “7 Steps to Oneness” audio program from Guy Finley.