Journey to Perseverance 

Perseverance is a state of consciousness.  We cultivate perseverance when we are committed to our cause even when we face major resistance or obstacles.   We refuse to be deterred or beaten back. We stand our ground.  We stand up for what we believe to be true and right.  Perseverance enables us to overcome prejudice, falsehood and deception.  It helps us challenge injustice and be a thorn in the side of people and institutions that oppress others and deny their existential and constitutional rights.

Opposite States of Consciousness:  Timidity, weakness, spinelessness, cowardice, giving up in the face of difficulty.  When we find ourselves shrinking back or being intimidated by those who wield money, power or influence, it is time for us to take a stand for what we know and believe is fair and right. 

The Teaching

Not everything that is true or right comes easily.  Sometimes our freedoms must be fought for.  Sometimes we are asked to resist what is wrong and stand up for what is right.   This takes great courage and conviction.  It may mean that we have to put ourselves in harm’s way in order to protect and defend innocent people who are being abused by others.
    Our collective perseverance led to the founding of our country, the abolition of slavery, and the granting of voting rights to women.  We see great courage and perseverance in the allies standing up to Hitler, the struggles of the civil rights movement, and recent efforts of people advocating for gay rights and gender equality.  As Ruth Bader Ginsberg points out, meaningful change happens one step at a time.  It does not happen overnight.  it is a long and difficult process that extends over the generations.  
     Perseverance means that we are steadfast and loyal to the people and principles that we care about.  We don’t shrink back when our rights are violated.  We stand up for what we believe in.  We refuse to be intimidated by money, power, or social pressures.  We do what is right even when it is not convenient or popular.  We take a stand even when others threaten or humiliate us.
      Standing up against injustice takes courage and strength.  We have to draw deeply from our inner spiritual resources.  We cannot be weak or easily intimidated if we want to expose those who are abusing their power and privilege. 
      Courage and conviction are required not just in standing up for others, but also in standing up for ourselves.  Most of us are not born with a silver spoon in our mouths.  We have to work hard to be successful.  We need to be steady when the ground shakes beneath us.  We need to push through resistance and overcome obstacles.  We need to believe in ourselves when others don’t. 
     When unforeseen obstacles arise and things don’t go our way, we must be steadfast and patient.  We have to pull back from the abyss and wait until the time is right to move forward.  When we really believe in something, we don’t give up. We recalibrate, revise, and shuffle the deck till the right cards come into our hands. When they do, we play them without fear.  We have the courage to be ourselves and to ask for what we want and deserve.
     What is right does not always happen by taking the course of least resistance. Sometimes you have to take the wheel and steer the boat over the rapids.  If you are afraid to step up and take responsibility, innocent lives can be lost.   Witness what happened to the Costa Concordia. 
    
When we persevere we maintain vigilance.  We don’t go to sleep on our watch.  We take our responsibilities seriously.  We show up every day and do the job we signed up for.
    You can’t be weak, sloppy or undisciplined and build a solid business or a happy family.  Others have to know they can count on you.  You need to know that you can show up even when it is challenging or difficult. 
    The weak cannot persevere in the face of difficulty.  They shrink back, abandon their positions and allow them to be overrun by the enemy.  At best, they are intimidated or overpowered.  At worst, they are turncoats and traitors, who throw others under the bus in a shameless effort to save themselves.
     To persevere you must stand up for yourself.  You must stand up to protect those whom you love.  You must stand up for fairness and justice.  You must be committed to what you know is right, despite the odds against you.

The Practice

Today, practice standing up for yourself and others.   Practice pushing through difficulties.   When you can’t push through, don’t hit your head against a wall or a rock.  But wait patiently and stand your ground.  Be vigilant so that you see the signs that darkness is lifting and dawn is breaking.  Today, stay alert.  Do not go to sleep on your watch. 
     Today, take responsibility when you are asked to. Don’t wait for others to do it for you.  Stand up.  Stand firm so that others can lean on you if they need to.
      Don’t give up on yourself or on others who depend on you.  Don’t abandon ship.  Don’t be a coward and shrink back or run away from difficulty.
     Today, understand that success is not measured just by what comes easily to you, but also by the obstacles you struggle against and eventually overcome. A courageous woman or man is not afraid to fight for the people s/he loves or the principles s/he believes in.
     Water is buoyant.  Even a small river can float your boat and carry it downstream.  Like water, you can live in the flow and lift others up.  When possible, always move with the current of the river and not against it.
      But water is also persistent.  Its progress is not impeded by the obstacles that stand in its path. It always finds a way to flow around them and in time even those large trees limbs and boulders are worn down by the rushing water.
      Today, be like the river. Take what comes your way and live gently in the flow of your life. When obstacles arise, move around them.  Don’t be impeded by the challenges that arise.  Move forward in any way that you can.
     When you believe in yourself, you have the patience to wait when it is necessary.  You understand that all obstacles are temporary.  The river always finds a way forward.   Its progress cannot be denied.

Journaling Question

Understanding that success is measured, not just by what comes easily to you, but also by the obstacles you struggle against and eventually overcome, when have you been committed to what you know is right despite the odds against you?

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