“There Is No Growth in Times of Comfort”
My daily routine encompasses the central message denoted above. We all agree that life can be a struggle and that suffering is inevitable, however re-framing our perspectives can be advantageous to the cessation of suffering. Learned concepts and procedures require, in some regard, aspects of suffering. These uncomfortable feelings associated with suffering steers most individuals away from obstacles rather than towards. With that said, is there a possibility of a deeper meaning of our intrinsic wants that initiates these uncomfortable feelings?
I recently traveled to Kentucky for a Spartan Race Super, 15ks worth of pain, which I have accomplished before and did on that Saturday October 23rd 2019. Prior to the race, I was uncomfortable with the idea of racing due to my lack of training and I knew from experience that this race would require me to crawl deep within my mental cave to find a warm fire of comfort. Designed to test you mentally and physically, the Spartan races are composed of running saturated with 30 plus obstacles of, but not limited to, sand bag carries up three stories, 20 foot rope climbs, as well as multiple rigs (contraptions that require you to hang and/or swing from one to another shredding your muscles of the arms and forearms). This race, one of most significance, had a twist…
I’m not attempting to rabbit hole on a tangent of “how to’s” or make assertive claims based on objective accomplishments grounded on subjective feelings, my purpose of explanation is in exploring meaning. Walking to put away my post-race clothes, something to the my left of my peripheral alerted me in which I immediately stood at attention to stare at 10–15 bullet proof looking vests that took the appearance of being submerged in mud. Intrigued, I shuffled up the hill towards the tent that covered the vests. I witnessed two women and a man obtaining state drivers licenses from participants. With confusion written on my forehead, I looked around questioning why there were a limited amount of vests when there was over 1000 plus participants. Eager to have an answer to my question I skipped ahead and asked, “What are these for?” to one of the ladies filing IDs. She looked up in amazement and her crystal clear blue eyes PEARL resembling white caps of waves she erected the biggest smile and answered, “They are weighted vests for entrees to attempt the course with 20lbs of added weight!” My eyes peeled wide open and my jaw dropped to the floor like a kid who just found a halo graphic 1st edition, ultra-rare, unattainable Charzard Pokémon, I stood in awe trying to conceptualize the words she just uttered. My thoughts: IF, and a big IF, I were to take on this venture I would be committed to running 15k while tackling 30 plus rigs with 20lbs of added weight for an estimated 3 hours. Plus, on top of these added perks successful completion of the course with a vest entitled the finisher to a one of a kind customized dog tag necklace. I handed over my ID.
I knew I could do this race as I have completed one in the past, however my interest in this quest was accompanied by the speculation of attempting the race with a weighted vest and if it was an attainable goal. What if I attempted the race without the vest given I had an opportunity to challenge myself? More specifically, what if I didn’t try, but I was given an opportunity to try? It’s the ladder question that bothered me. My inquiry of an unknown outcome is what gave me the motivation to undertake this endeavor. Be that as it may, reflecting on my thoughts I ponder if inquire alone was the sole determinant for my decision to move forth with the vest or perhaps it was my demand for creativity? How do I take two inanimate meaningless objects, the vest and the race, in conjunction with creativity, collaborate a unique subjective experience? Furthermore, why do I aspire to challenge myself knowing the end result is unknown? My conclusion: meaning. Inquiries of this type which yields introspection into human nature by means of transcendence and its depths, does motivates one to push forward and set goals. In doing so the byproduct of this phenomenological equation is thus meaning which happens to be the precursor to happiness. One could come to the conclusion: It’s our creativity with the world which renders favorable outcomes and optimisms. Goals are set as standards that can be exceeded with use our creative thinking. One could then ask, what isn’t possible?
Dedicated to Joel, thanks for trying!