Photo credit Wanda Koch Photography 

Cynda Rushton defines moral resilience as “the capacity of an individual to restore their integrity in response to moral complexity, confusion, distress or setbacks.”

Concentration, attentiveness, single-mindedness, tunnel vision ~ these are all words used to describe the act of controlling and focusing one’s awareness.  We focus on something knowing that as soon as we direct our energy toward that object of focus, we feed it life and energy thereby allowing for its growth.

When we live at the whim of our emotions and allow ourselves to get swayed and caught up in an emotional and reactionary rollercoaster, we allow ourselves to live with no control or direction.  Living in this manner allows our energy to be wasted in a flurry of emotional upheavals.

Likewise, our energy is wasted when we choose to harness and direct our energy toward the negative events and happenings ~ the slights, the injustices, frustrations or worries.  When we care for and further cultivate these occurrences, we spend our time anchored in either the past or the future.  The more time we allow our focus to settle here, the longer the past lingers and the future remains daunting.  All the while, precious life moments pass us by.

So, where should our focus be directed?  Perhaps it would behoove us all to start ever day knowing and accepting that much of what will unravel throughout any given day will not go as planned and may not be to our liking.  We may show up to yoga and our favorite teacher is not here, or someone has placed their mat in our  spot.  We may lose a negotiation, or a child comes home sick from school, we fail a test or lose a job.  Are we able to see these moments as opportunities for growth?  Are we able to change the dialogue in our minds from frustration to acceptance of the event as an opportunity to develop resilience?  Are we able to see the emotions that arise within us with the passing of these events as teaching tools, providing us with information about ourselves that may need development and maturity.

The power of mindfulness is not in our ability to empty the mind.  Instead, the power lies in our ability to control and direct the mind toward the things we want to cultivate and care for.  These practices teach us to live peacefully in chaos, comfortably in the discomfort.  There is a Japanese practice called kintsukuroi, meaning “golden repair”.  This is a Japanese art form of repairing broken pottery with powdered gold or platinum.  Rather than hide the breakage, the repaired piece is brought back to integrity, while showing its fragility and imperfections from the past.  Precious metals are used to repair the imperfections, but not hide them.  We too can take our sufferings and treat them like this “golden repair”.  These broken pieces of our lives can help us to develop a resilience for life, helping us to stand firmly in our wholeness.

When we develop this resilience, we are better able to stand strong in the midst of adversity.