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In every human difficulty there are two ways open to us. The common way is familiar enough: it consists in reacting egoistically and emotionally with self-centered complaint, irritability, fear, anger, despair, and so on. The uncommon way is taken by a spiritually minded few: it consists in making something good out of something bad, in reacting selflessly, calmly, constructively, and hopefully. This is the way of practical philosophy, this attempt to transform what outwardly seems so harmful into what inwardly at least must be markedly beneficent. It is a magical work. But it can only be done by deep thought, self-denial, and love. If the difficulty is regarded as both a chance to show what we can do to develop latent resources as well as a test of what we have already developed, it can be made to help us. Even if we do not succeed in changing an unfavourable environment for the better, such an approach would to some extent change ourselves for the better. We must accept, with all its tremendous implications for our past, present, and future, that we are ultimately responsible for the conditions which stamp our life. Such acceptance may help to shatter our egoism and that, even though it is painful, will be all to the good. Out of its challenge can come the most blessed change in ourselves.


-- Notebooks Category 11: The Negatives > Chapter 4: In Thoughts, Feelings, Violent Passions > # 61

-- Perspectives > Chapter 11: The Negatives > # 1






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