Compass of the Times 209

Compass of the Times 209

Not Giving Up

Keiko Takahashi

The Way of Life of Not Giving Up

This world is saha1, the world of suffering. It is natural for things to happen that we cannot control. Just when we think that things are going well, we are suddenly faced with an accident or an obstacle. Things rarely go well from the beginning and often start with a failure or a stumble.

Even when things begin smoothly, difficulties will still be a daily occurrence. In the midst of persistent problems, if we give up on something because we are stuck or stagnate for a moment, we will be surrounded by the wreckage of disappointments. It is impossible to accomplish anything with such a mindset.

In order to accomplish anything, we need a mind that will not give up easily. Some people even point out that, in many cases, the ability to accomplish is more important than any talent or skill. The accomplishment of things depends on our ability to continually make steady efforts to give our best toward our goals, day after day, and to maintain our attitude of challenge without being discouraged by poor performance or mistakes.

The reason why I wanted to focus, this month, on the way of life of not giving up, is because we are at the halfway point of the year, and I feel that many of us are at the stage of being required to think about the achievements and fulfillment of our goals for the year.

Seeking Possibilities to the Limit

As I wrote in my book, The Golden Path, many people in the real world give up on things too quickly and let go of their potential.

When a new job does not go well, and we make a lot of small mistakes, we immediately think about changing jobs, thinking, “It is the end,” or “This job is not for me.” Even if we set a new goal and start to walk toward it, if things do not go as planned, we will quickly lose motivation, saying, “This is too difficult.” We cannot stand one mistake or slight hiccup and will be ready to throw things away just because of this. Such a reality is all around us. That would be a regrettable and sad situation.

Even though there are negative realities and situations, or blows that strike against us, the situation is Chaos2. In it, there is a mixture of light and darkness. As it is Chaos, there are not only limitations but also possibilities.

Even if it appears there is an insurmountable obstacle in front of us, we can tackle this by saying, “Even so, I can still do something about it.” After we have done all that we can do now, we should be able to pursue the possibilities of the situation as far as we can; as the saying goes, “Do all that we can, then entrust the rest to the will of the Universe.”

Try Asking Our “Soul”

Of course, I do not mean that not giving up is always good in any situation. Sometimes, we need to make a decision to move on to something new. Giving up on the progress that we have made so far, and accepting this, can be a way to open up new possibilities.

Originally, the Japanese word “give up” was derived from the word akiramu, which indicates the same meaning as teikan; that is, to “see the essence clearly.” The word “give up” has such an important meaning.

When should we not give up, and when should we give up? There are no set rules. It is also true that discerning the correct choice is difficult.

When faced with the question, “What should I do now?” and if you want to make a decision by yourself, you have no choice but to ask the depths of your mind, your soul. If you have a friend you can trust, listening to what they say can also provide a reassuring clue.

And yet, there is one thing that is certain. You should not give up easily if you have set your mind on the steps you need to take. Try to focus on them and live each day with sincerity and full effort in a true sense. It is probably correct to keep going if you are still able to work consistently within the time frame you have set to use up all your energy in achieving your goal. However, if you feel that you have completed burning all of your energy for that goal, it may be time to consider your next choice.

When you have worked to that extent, even if you have to give it up, the step you have taken will always become a meaningful one for your future.

Editor’s Note

1. Saha

“Rarely everything goes just as we want. In reality, we are constantly facing ordeals and injustices. I have explained the fact that this world is not paradise by using the Buddhist concept, ‘this world is saha.’ Saha means a place to endure suffering. Living in saha points to the fact that we must endure distressing situations and accept unbearable things.” (Excerpted and summarized from page 35 of The Reason Why You Were Born as You)

2. Chaos

Chaos indicates the primordial state, which has yet to have any form or clear outline, nor results or conclusions. There exist various possibilities and limitations, as well as light and darkness harbored within. The origin of the word “chaos” comes from the Greek myth of the primordial deity Chaos. Chaos is a state prior to the beginning of the universe that harbors all light and darkness. It is a state of nothingness, but at the same time, it conceals all possibilities. The special characteristic of Chaos is that it inevitably leads to a way of life that transcends good or bad judgments. (Excerpted and summarized from page 127 of How to Make Your Life the Best)