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The Paradox of Potential

Updated on June 28, 2010
Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok, Thailand
The Soul's Code: In Search of Character and Calling
The Soul's Code: In Search of Character and Calling

A incredible book about how potential is found in a child's perceived lack.

 

Sometimes your greatest challenge is your highest calling

Living in strange countries far away from the things that I know, forced me to see myself outside the normal measures of relevance. Namely: job, position, salary and achievements. When I was taken out of my context, all that was left was me. The part that only I can see.

The roles we play in the social circles we grew up in sometimes lures us into believing that these roles are the extent of who we are. It is when we are plucked from the lull of the usual that a more ancient and original aspect of ourselves emerge.

When I lived in Bangkok for three years, the void that was left by a flourishing business in photography plunged me into depression. I did not have a child then, and the husband I recently married was gone for weeks at a time, leaving me alone in a country where hardly anyone speaks English.

It was a Buddhist monk that first led me to the secret behind a key teaching in esoteric thought. One morning, I was out to catch the light with my camera when a hunched, old Buddhist monk led me out of the comforts of the Oakwood Residences into a small narrow street in Bangkok. The shanties that peppered the obscure street suddenly and without warning, revealed a beautiful and yet unknown Wat.

I left my shoes at the temple gates and felt my feet connect to the warm marble floor below. The heat coming from the ornate flower designs woke up a sensation I have long forgotten, the feeling that I am connected to the ground I am standing on. At the center of the Wat was a giant Buddha. One hand resting on its lap and the other raised to bestow a blessing. This hand gesture reminds me now of the pranayama called Nadi Shodan.

It goes:

All that I receive, I give away. All that I give away, comes back a hundred fold.

The position of the hands blesses and asks. Two contrasting forces that generate abundance.

In this simple meditation, lies a great mystery of manifestation. It is through this mystery that the smallest acorn can produce the loftiest tree. James Hillman explains this in his book, The Soul’s code, In search of calling. He calls it the acorn theory. This is because the smallest acorn produces the tallest trees.

It was this author who first made me understand the idea that one’s highest potential is found in his lack. The Kabbalah talks about this in great detail. In Kabbalistic terms, darkness is the cup of light. The shape of a person’s darkness is his cup. The cup that receives Divine light. By smudging this cup with a smidgen of oil, he invites the Supernal Oil to come down from heaven. What this means is, for blessings to come, give of yourself even a minute amount of the blessing you wish to receive, to invite the full serving of Divine grace to come down from above.

Each of us has a unique suffering. This suffering seems to be bestowed upon us and are permanent. It is true that it is our curse, we can die living this nightmare. Except that there is a way out. The key is to begin to see the suffering as a blessing. When you are able to do this, the suffering becomes your source of power.

An example for this is Christopher Reeve. As a young handsome actor, he played one of the most celebrated archetypal heroes of the modern age—SUPERMAN. Superman is the epitome of power. He had the physical strength that can move planets, defy gravity and serve mankind as a whole all at once. His heroic calling and kindness is godlike. It is a role that only he portrayed with such credibility. Like he was born for it. Then, as he aged and as his career went downhill, he found himself paralyzed from the neck down. Unable to move, he experienced the opposite of being Superman. He became the most powerless human being. Christopher Reeve would have gone down in history as the most ironic tragedies in Hollywood. But something happened. He began championing the cause of Stem Cell Research to help people like him recover from paralysis. Before he died, he came back once again in the Superman TV Series known as Smallville as the scientist who would reveal to the young Clark Kent his true nature. He did this to gain publicity for the cause he champions.

It was after he lost all external power that he tapped into a higher one and became a true hero, a true Superman. It only took one ounce of courage on his part. The courage to speak of his suffering. Support for Stem Cell Research became actualized after his death when President Obama lifted the ban for this controversial scientific study.

I, too experienced this. In a way, because I had no one to talk to for a long time, I found my voice and my relevance. I am no longer defined by my job, my achievements and my salary. I can now hear the beating of my true passions within my heart and with this I am able to lead others to find theirs.

Tribute to Christopher Reeve

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    • tom hellert profile image

      tom hellert 

      8 years ago from home

      CB,

      Gurus say all sorts of good stuff like that

      TH

    • ceciliabeltran profile imageAUTHOR

      Cecilia 

      8 years ago from New York

      Hi Tom,

      A guru once said,

      "It is easy to talk about enlightenment, but it is rare to find people who would understand." Thanks for reading. :)

    • tom hellert profile image

      tom hellert 

      8 years ago from home

      CB, enlightenening hub- "you we're not in Kansas" for sure anymore...

      TH

    • ceciliabeltran profile imageAUTHOR

      Cecilia 

      8 years ago from New York

      I agree. The King of Thailand once denounced the Prime Minister for fostering materialism on the Thai people. He behaved like a slick American politician. They have a different idea of cool in Thailand.

    • Petra Vlah profile image

      Petra Vlah 

      8 years ago from Los Angeles

      Since my brother moved to Thiland he became a different and much better man just by being around very simple, but spiritual people. He finally learned to let go and found peace.

      We are so conditioned to define ourselves by social status and material possessions, it becames easy to get into a race rut that in the end brings more misery than joy.

    • lxxy profile image

      lxxy 

      8 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

      Well, I'll have to check him out then.

      And if that's directed towards me, thanks! :)

      It's been a long strange trip, and I've yet to celebrate my bicentennial. Can't wait. :)

    • ceciliabeltran profile imageAUTHOR

      Cecilia 

      8 years ago from New York

      His work on myth is just earth shattering. Thought descendant of Jung! Impressed to have such command at such a young age!

    • lxxy profile image

      lxxy 

      8 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

      I've not yet read Joseph Campbell's works...tell me more? And gave my age group away? ;D

      I'm twenty six this year.

    • ceciliabeltran profile imageAUTHOR

      Cecilia 

      8 years ago from New York

      That is a certainty. Though I have a feeling you're in your twenties, no? Thanks for dropping by. I wonder if you've read Joseph Campbell's works?

    • lxxy profile image

      lxxy 

      8 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

      Cecilia--this is very moving. I've often said if circumstances were not as they are today I probably would have wanted to be a Buddhist Monk.

      Enlightenment is the name of the game, as you very well know.

      I am so often reminded of the movie Powder..when he touches the girl's third eye and explains a lot of people can't see beyond it.

      So, I submit you've closed your corporeal eyes at least once and have seen through the lens called one eye love. ;)

      As an aside, did some research on archetypes. Carl Jungian, no? Here's something I've found:

      2nd archetype / card selected: Blue Pharaoh - "Allowing the breakdown of the physical vehicle while heightening cellular (consciousness) changes occur." Cellular consciousness can be equated to the innate intelligence inherent in our whole being, similar to intuition, and is not dependent on health necessarily as an indication of its sate of evolution.

      From: http://www.elvislightedcandle.org/signsymbwonders/...

      I like it. Fitting, I 'spose. Have always been called an old soul.

    • Lamme profile image

      Lamme 

      8 years ago

      Very nice Hub. I really enjoyed reading your perspective. Sometimes we're lost, even to ourselves.

    • ceciliabeltran profile imageAUTHOR

      Cecilia 

      8 years ago from New York

      Hi Leafy Den,

      Yes it is easy to forget. I myself needed to write the hub to remind myself this. Thanks for dropping by!

    • ceciliabeltran profile imageAUTHOR

      Cecilia 

      8 years ago from New York

      Thank you ILM, I will check yours. Usually people who appreciate my writing have really good hubs too (err is that a self-compliment...I think so..but anyway), will pay you a visit!

    • ilmdamaily profile image

      ilmdamaily 

      8 years ago from A forgotten corner of a dying empire. OK, it's Australia :-)

      Brilliant. I can't add anything to this - only derive enjoyment - i'm just glad i've found your writing - wish I found it sooner!

      Write on!

    • Leafy Den profile image

      Leafy Den 

      8 years ago from the heart

      "It was after he lost all external power that he tapped into a higher one and became a true hero"...how easy it is to forget that we have that higher power.

      What a wonderful hub! Really enjoyed reading this!

    • ceciliabeltran profile imageAUTHOR

      Cecilia 

      8 years ago from New York

      Oh Thanks Panambi. I thought of Stephen Hawking too. The idea that the lack generates our ability to create is very inspiring to me too. I constantly try to remind myself. :)

    • Panambi profile image

      Panambi 

      8 years ago

      You've mentioned Christopher Reeve... this reminded me of another great man going through the same difficulties, Stephen Hawking.

      Thank you so much for sharing this hub, it was beautiful. And something that I truly needed to read today. :)

    • ceciliabeltran profile imageAUTHOR

      Cecilia 

      8 years ago from New York

      Talaga? Coming from noyps like myself that's cool! I must admit I have to hover around yours more. Pero the one I read, maganda siya. It spoke to me baga. Kita kits!

    • bingskee profile image

      bingskee 

      8 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

      hello, kabayan! i knew it! you are pinoy, too! well, as to popularity, not really that popular yet. but who knows? i had my widget posted to my site and i promote my hubpages sa facebook. :-)

      ang galing galing ng mga hubs mo ha. am impressed! :-) at saka marami talagang magaling na pinoy. ha ha

    • ceciliabeltran profile imageAUTHOR

      Cecilia 

      8 years ago from New York

      Hi Bingskee,

      Kababayan! Kamusta? Salamat sa bisita. I'm curious if hubpages is popular in the philippines.

      See you around!

    • bingskee profile image

      bingskee 

      8 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

      it reminds me of a bible passage that tells that our weaknesses can become our strength.

      hi, nice of you to drop by my hub. you have interesting hubs and i think i'll be coming back to enjoy them more. (and i am crossing my fingers that i will have ample time to hubhop :-D)

    • ceciliabeltran profile imageAUTHOR

      Cecilia 

      8 years ago from New York

      That's a happy thought! That made my day. It is truly about that. Thanks, Brian, glad to know cool people dig my stuff!

    • brianzen profile image

      Brian 

      8 years ago

      I never miss out on reading your stuff, you are succinct, and that makes our dialogs much more productive. Allowers, yes, and harmony with what we really are becoming as a way to manifest our desires, (which extends our experience through contrasts) Very cool stuff

    • ceciliabeltran profile imageAUTHOR

      Cecilia 

      8 years ago from New York

      Hi Brian, Yes I did enjoy Abraham! I have the book. It was a peculiar circumstance for a book but I particularly found the concept of "allowers" interesting and very true. Thank you for the time you spent reading my hub.

    • brianzen profile image

      Brian 

      8 years ago

      Very good! I love the acorn principle, you might enjoy Esther Hicks, (Abraham-Hicks) you tube, it correlates with attraction, etc. (very Buddhist) and somehow, bigger. The scope of its Taoist overlay is much like we once chatted about. Great hub my friend.

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