What is the abyss?
Travelling in this life we are on a path that leads towards experience and discovery, From the moment of our physical birth we are challenged both physically and mentally. These challenges we come across in life are represented by the analogy of the abyss. Tribulations in life may be small or large hence the chasm may be narrow or massive. Some encounters may be avoided altogether thereby sidestepping an obstacle in order to move forward. Some loom large across our path making it mandatory that we cross in order to move onward and upward. For each person the Abyss represents fear or a span of unknown territory or experience.
While representing something different for each person, common to all experiences is the distress of the unknown and the fear associated with it. The challenges manifest differently for each of us such as a fear of public speaking inhibiting the pursuit of a certain line of work. Anxiety may affect other people differently making them deathly afraid of large crowds or of travelling by plane. Fear can even manifest itself as paranoia of other people’s intentions. Still others may battle ongoing distress with addictions like alcoholism creating its own abyss to cross. It doesn’t matter what it is as much as what it prevents us from doing or experiencing in our life. We either cross the abyss in order to grow and experience life to its fullest or we succumb to fear which limits our experience. The overriding effect is that it keeps us stunted in our consciousness and can manifest itself as a hell like state in our lives. In extreme cases the guilt associated with avoiding the abyss can manifest itself into disease and illness.
As we go through life, we experience the plateau level ground known as routine, habit and comfort until we come across another break in our path. The next plateau beyond the abyss is a little higher than the last, creating an elevated perspective which allows us to view our lives to that point, but does not let us see forward. Each plateau is also wider providing greater capacity for new experiences and further opportunities to expand our consciousness. Prior to crossing we are unable to see much beyond the edge of the next plateau as moving upward and forward in life we are always moving into the unknown. When we find ourselves no longer being challenged or too scared to cross the next abyss we essentially stagnate and no longer experience the spirit of life which is growth, creativity and authentic expression. If we were to continue to do the same things day after day then wouldn’t that be reliving the same experiences over and over again? Is this not how an animal experiences life? Day after day an animal follows the same behaviors and patterns with little variation; they become creatures of habit. When we don’t challenge ourselves to explore our abilities we remain stagnant and start to deteriorate. If we are not expanding our level of consciousness then what further benefit can we derive from physical life?
Each level that we progress to provides answers to questions in our own life; however our answers are only true to us based upon what level we are at. Trying to convince someone they are wrong in believing a certain thing or thinking a certain way is the ego wanting to force its’ beliefs onto another. There is ultimately only one truth in life that is worthy of sharing, but each person will experience changing beliefs as they progress upward. If they are unwilling to continue their ascent out of the abyss then all the reasoning and persuasion in the world will not convince them what they must find out for themselves. As we progress in life we eventually find what we once held as a belief is no longer true as we ourselves expand our level of knowledge and consciousness. As we grow, we learn there is no point in judging another person because everyone experiences their own reality based on their beliefs.
As we grow we continually shed our old self and create a new self. Each time we cross the abyss or fall in we experience conditions in which we create ourselves anew. We shed our old beliefs in favor of new understanding. It is good to have conviction about a belief as long as we are open to letting go of long held beliefs that no longer serve us. This is what our experience of life has been if we observe it objectively. At some point in life we may have held firm to the belief there was a tooth fairy or an Easter bunny, but as we became more aware, we were willing to let go of those beliefs in the process of growth. Real growth occurs when we continue moving forward in our lives and continue to face and cross the abyss.
Illustrative representation diagram
When one views their life from a perspective of looking over the drawing of the abyss they can hopefully gain the perspective needed to observe their life in a much more simplistic way. No matter what troubles you may find yourself in during life you can always draw this diagram and point to that line across your path and say: I am here at this abyss and this too shall pass.
Ways of entering or crossing the abyss
There are two states of consciousness that we have prior to crossing the abyss; one is complete ignorance of its existence and the other is a cognitive awareness. These states of mind are obvious as we examine the various ways in which to cross:
- Accidentally falling in – The best representation of this would be any type of serious disruption to the normal patterns of our life such as a car crash, or other serious accidents which do not appear to be our responsibility. A serious illness which does not appear to be caused by our lifestyle would also fall into this category. It is important to note that while these events may seem accidental in nature they are indeed put upon us to force an experience we might not otherwise have had.
- Be pushed in – While there are situations we do not appear to control, the seeds for every result have been planted and nurtured long before the evidence of its growth. The best examples of this are being asked for a divorce or being terminated from a job or position.
- Falling in and staying in – By being weighed down with addictions, complexes, disorders and compulsions. Alcoholism, Drug use, Sex addiction, Personality Flaws, etc.. would be representations of this type of collapse. We can fall in and with the weight of our personal addiction and we lose all strength to pull ourselves out.
- Falling in and climbing up the other side – This method of crossing is where we learn the most about ourselves as the sides of the abyss are lined with mirrors that reflect back to us what we are made of. In the process of climbing out we become introspective examining all aspects of our life, our fall, and the traits and strength within us responsible for our ascent out.
- Building a bridge – Being aware of the abyss in front of us allows us time to strategize on how we will cross. Many times in life we know our self-imposed limitations are what keep us from advancing and we therefore can work to subdue those weaknesses. This type of bridge building is represented by learning or training ourselves as in becoming a better public speaker or returning to school for a degree. All self-help pursuits are the base for this method of crossing.
- Being helped across from the other side – There are many, having overcome a particular obstacle who wish to help others avoid the same obstacle. This help is around us always but it takes a humble willing student to learn from an experienced guide. These guides may come in the form of a mentor/supporter, coach, teacher or from an organization such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
- Taking a running leap of faith and landing on the other side – Quitting a job having faith you will find something better would be a good example of this method.
- By attracting yourself to the other side – By literally pulling in things from the other side with which to build the bridge we are in essence creating the passageway. When we pray or use continuous affirmations we are manifesting the bridge to our future. This is done by creating with thought or changing our limiting beliefs.
- Eliminating the abyss altogether by removing fear – What is the abyss but our fear of the unknown? Each of us holds an inherent conditioned belief that we can be harmed. The only limits we face in life is our self-imposed fear of our limiting beliefs.
How do you know whether you are moving forward toward enlightenment or moving backward or sideways? When you are experiencing thoughts of anger, despair, fear, attack, guilt, hatred, jealousy, blame, self-doubt, helplessness and anxiety, you are moving backwards in life. When you are feeling a state of connection around you, have feelings of peace and love and a deep sense of gratitude, then you are moving forward or upward in life.
Invariably we come across obstacles in our life that require action. Our choices in facing an issue require us to use our free will to deal with the problem, alternatively we are forced to deal with the consequences of not exercising free will. There are very few problems we can run away from in our life if we are to grow. Moving ahead in life requires we have faith in our abilities to overcome the things that hinder our growth. If we continue to run away from the challenges in our life then we widen the expanse of the abyss. Life has a way of giving us the same problems over again until we finally cross the abyss
Characteristics of being near the abyss
There are many times in our life when we are well aware of the abyss that faces us. It presents itself in our path and we back away from it not realizing we must inevitably face the deep expanse of our fears and cross to the other side. The longer we stand at its edge the more stressful it becomes. Stress is found in and around the abyss, like molasses it adheres to us the longer we linger at the edge. Even if we back away this anxiety permeates our consciousness affecting our peace of mind. Eventually it takes its toll on us as it clouds our thinking and obscures our vision. This same stress can manifest itself in the body as a variety of diseases and ailments. People will often back away a safe distance building a park bench in which to sit and contemplate their abyss for weeks, months, or the rest of their lives. Once the abyss has entered our awareness there is no escaping the anxiety it presents.
Remaining indecisive or lingering near the edge, we risk the danger of falling in or being pushed into the void. Our reluctance to take action enervates our free will resulting in circumstances being forced upon us. Let me give you an example of this, I knew a very intelligent woman who went to work in a municipal government position. Things were very good at first, eventually however she became aware of some very suspicious behavior as the people within her department started getting fired and superiors were stepping down from positions. As the turnover increased it became clear there was a source of corruption somewhere higher up in this municipality. Being a moral person with sound integrity she started to sense a divide between what she was being asked to do and what she knew was right. She became torn between enduring the stress hoping the corruption would eventually be exposed or quitting. She found herself in a difficult position as the prospects of finding a comparable position supporting her financial obligations were not readily available. Additionally she felt a strong moral obligation to expose the corruption not realizing the ubiquitous nature of it. The stress eventually became debilitating and she had to take medical leave. Feeling little to no support from her husband she ended up divorcing during the same time period and he too was pushed into the abyss. Many times we find ourselves in the abyss as a consequence of not dealing with how we will cross in a timely manner. The longer we stand at the edge taking no action, the more we risk falling in or being pushed in. Stress lies at the edge and bottom of the void, like molasses it slows us down and clouds our thinking. Once we get to the other side we strip ourselves of this anxiety and let it fall into darkness never to be seen again.
Falling into the Abyss
“It is by going down into the abyss
that we recover the treasures of life.
Where you stumble,
there lies your treasure.”
~ Joseph Campbell
“Follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss Nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.” ~Thomas Henry Huxley
”When you feel that you have reached the end and that you cannot go one step further, when life seems to be drained of all purpose; what a wonderful opportunity to start all over again, to turn over a new page.” ~ Eileen Caddy
There are many reasons why we may find ourselves in the abyss, sometimes it is self-inflicted, sometimes it is accidental and sometimes it is through our ignorance. It need not be a horrendous fall every time. It can be a short brief fall or it can be a dive into a seemingly bottomless void. Either way we find ourselves in the depths of a dark void where our sight is limited and we must come face to face with ourselves and our fear.
It is said “that which does not kill you, will make you stronger.” By whatever means we find ourselves engulfed in its void it usually entails having our lives turned upside down. When the safety, comfort and familiarity of life is nowhere to be found and we find ourselves faced with the unknown in new surroundings, we know we are in the midst of the abyss. These are periods in our life when we feel completely alone having to walk briefly on a different path of unknown origin or destination. Oftentimes there are many who could help us but we put ourselves into an artificial shelter where no one is allowed in. Talking about our plight and the terror of the dark depths doesn’t seem to comfort us in conversations with others. It becomes a self-imposed incarceration while telling others they just don’t know what it’s like. It is true that others will not know what it’s like because we are the only ones who experience the reality that we have created.
When we are down in the bottom of the crevasse we find ourselves in total darkness. This metaphorical darkness keeps all things out of view and we must literally grope around to cover what little distance we may to find our way out. These are times in our life we become almost completely cut off from the light of connectedness, wisdom and enlightenment and we are left to navigate the darkness by ourselves. These experiences are the self-made states of hell that we create for ourselves in this physical experience. They can also be known as states of depression.
Five Stages of Dealing With A Fall Into The Abyss
- Denial and Isolation – At first, we tend to deny that we have fallen into the abyss. At this point we tend to withdraw from our usual social contacts and intimacy with others. This stage can be brief or last for an extended period.
- Anger – Once we are keenly aware that we are indeed in the abyss we may become angry or upset at the person(s) or situation that led to our fall. Oftentimes even though we fall based on our own actions, we may place blame on those that were in the immediately vicinity. This anger may also be self-directed for letting the event take place, even if nothing could have stopped it.
- Bargaining – Out of desperation we may now start to bargain with those who we feel pushed us. We may bargain with God asking that the abyss be taken away or that things be put back to a state prior to the fall. We may also try to bargain our way out with thoughts of “if I do this or behave in this way, please do this…”
- Depression – This is perhaps the worst stage of the process as feelings of helplessness and despair impair our ability to function and cope with life. This stage brings about a feeling of numbness and it is perhaps the darkest part of the abyss. By not having a clear direction in which to proceed and no vision we are left to face ourselves and our situation. This is where we start to question our beliefs, values, goals and purpose in life.
- Acceptance – Once we have come face to face with our situation and have realized there is no simple or easy way out of the abyss, we will finally come to a point of acceptance. At this point our anger and depression have subsided and we start to engage others and reconnect. It is at this stage that we are ready to accept help or we may tackle and strategize how to get out of the abyss on our own.
During this entire process, it is common to have many conflicting feelings and emotions. Anger, despair, loneliness, shame, guilt and anxiety often accompany a deep fall as well as a great deal of stress associated with these emotions. Though not all experiences will be the same or to this extreme, the whole process is hard on our physical and mental health. It is important to remember that the depth of the abyss will determine the extent to which a person will experience the different stages and the degree to which they will experience each stage.
The process can be more difficult for those who are pushed in or stumble and fall in, whereas the person who knowingly tries to cross and falls in will accept their situation more readily. In either case there is always a path that led to that point. That is to say once we crawl out and reflect on the sequence of events hopefully we will acknowledge we were on a path to such an experience.
In the deeper realms of the abyss depression can overwhelm us. Not being able to see forward with any enthusiasm and not knowing which way to turn in life can be disheartening. When one is in the dark they are unable to see any future state being left with just their thoughts of helplessness and memories. Our memories in this cold, dark and lonesome place tend to be of failure, self-doubt and absolute isolation. The familiarity of this darkness is associated with all the unpleasant memories of the most difficult moments in our life. Access to more inspiring thoughts of light and love, are difficult to access in the depth of our despair. Depression could be thought of as a separation from the light of love. In a state of total separation our desire to express, receive or extend love diminishes. When this continues for too long the life force within us fades. To find ourselves all alone in a state with no dream to fulfill and no love to extend is the worst experience we can manifest in this physical existence. Our ambition and desire are diminished along with any sense of direction when we are without a purpose or mission in our life. In this aimless state we are more prone to fantasizing about life rather than manifesting our own.
It is not uncommon having spent a prolonged period in the abyss, to reemerge with a new found sense of purpose and values as we realize our long held beliefs were the catalyst for our fall. For instance, a belief in the achievement of material status may elicit the need to accumulate many things at the expense of financial reserves. When a bankruptcy or financial calamity occurs we are forced to reassess the importance of such things. This compels us to reassess our core beliefs thereby casting off those that no longer hold true.
We can also find ourselves in the abyss when we compromise our morals or integrity. Each of us possesses an inner wisdom or inner voice that tells us when we are on the wrong path. When we go against what our spiritual self is trying to tell us we risk falling into darkness. The wise inner voice can keep us out of harm’s way if we heed its wisdom. It is ironic that this voice would be called our consciousness because indeed it is a higher state of consciousness that resides in all of us. This is the voice of spirit. It is our goal through life to live and act from this state. Not listening to this voice, others may try to impart their wisdom on us but more often than not we learn through trial and error.
Since the Ego thrives on success this often leads to a sense of arrogance. Hard times or prolonged periods in the abyss subdue our ego and increase our emotional sensitivities from the experience. Through our familiarity with emotional heartache, physical pain, and traumatic events we become sensitive to witnessing the same in others. Personally experiencing what someone else is going through allows us to demonstrate genuine empathy as we can relate to their pain. Having been through the complete cycle of an event we are able to help another to recognize what stage they are in while assisting them through the process. It is through these experiences that we gain humility and develop compassion for others.
The only thing we have to fear in the abyss is coming to grips with our own fear. Fear is a belief, it is a self-created reality forged in darkness that only the light of love and a higher consciousness can dispel. This phobia begins to dissipate as we crawl out of the abyss. As we climb out we learn more about ourselves as a person and begin to see what we are made of. The sides of the abyss are lined with mirrors that reflect back our values and our character as a person. These metaphorical mirrors also reflect back to us the blind spots that we tend to develop in our perception and thinking. Death is the ultimate fear and when threatened with our own death we find ourselves deep in the abyss. During the process of crawling out we learn that as fearful as we may have been, we are still alive. This affirms the old saying of “that which does not kill you will only make you stronger.” We think we know how we will react in a crisis, but until we are actually put to the test it is only a concept of ourselves. We may fear a situation but once it comes to pass we realize we were able to deal with it much better than we thought.
Forgetting the growth concept
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” ~ Dale Carnegie
What is growth? How is it different from learning? Learning is the acquisition of data but growth is the use of that data in enhancing our experience in life. The sequence of a Maple tree provides a good analogy. As the seed lies on the ground it is dormant. Contained within that seed is the potential for a tree of enormous size and beauty. Enclosed within this seed is stored enough energy to push out its first root in which it can start to draw its own energy. In its first act of its own it must first push its root system into the ground to seek out water and nutrients from the soil. Only then can it leaf out and grow more above ground to “soak up” light which it then converts to energy. It uses this “light” energy to push itself more into the ground, seeking more water and nutrients. In this example one season of the year it sheds its leaves in a most beautiful display and then goes into a period of remission awakening again in the spring to start a new cycle of growth. In this new cycle of growth it starts with a clean slate so to speak allowing for a new season of experience. If the plant no longer forces itself into the unknown ground because of some past failure than it can no longer experience new growth in plain sight. It may leaf out again the following spring but it will not have grown. Another example of this is illustration of a transplanted tree. When a ten foot tree with a five inch circumference at its base is dug out of the ground and transplanted, it will literally take five years (one year for each inch of circumference at its base,) for it to start growing again. It will leaf out every year with some appearance of growth, but it will take five years of reestablishing its root system for it to start growing again.
Growth in human terms can be used as a similar analogy. We must push ourselves into unknown territories so that we may find vital nutrients/knowledge/experience for our continued growth. It is critical to understand that only by pushing ourselves, (insinuating effort,) that we are able to find the critical elements for our continued growth. As we examine our own life we will find there are many activities that do not provide any nourishment to our own growth. Since all growth requires the shedding of the old in order to experience the new we too must discard old ideas and thought patterns in order to experience new ways of interpreting our world. In this process we clear the way for new experiences and beliefs.
All throughout nature there are various examples of this from the skin cells we shed every minute to the drastic molting of a snake’s outer skin to the complete transformation of caterpillar into a butterfly. What if our entire physical life experience was this same type of molting process whereby we come into this realm of physical existence to grow and eventually shed our body? To experience a lifetime of growth requires that we continually shed old ideas, old beliefs, old habits and old thought processes in order to experience the new. Learning in many ways is the replacement of old ideas, beliefs and thought processes in order for us to learn and experience new life. This may be the gradual detachment of ideas and thoughts to the more profound changes that can occur as a result of an experience with the abyss. It is as if we create blind spots by our entrenched thought processes, and only by removing them are we able to see things from a new perspective and begin to perceive things previously unnoticed.
To illustrate a point, let me share an experience that provides a different perspective on beliefs. When I was married I would exercise early in the morning and during part of the year it was still dark when I was finished. My wife always slept late so when I entered our bedroom I did so with the lights off. I became accustomed to navigating my way through the bedroom to the bathroom. In doing so I came to expect certain things at a certain distance, I learned to reach out and knew what I should be touching as I made my way to the bathroom door.
Our beliefs and how we react to them are similar to how a blind person might navigate their world in the dark. You learn from repetition, what hurts, where to navigate and what to expect to touch after reaching so far. In many ways this is exactly like navigating through life with our beliefs. We eventually learn the easiest paths, learn to steer clear of obstacles but admittedly will never know those things that lie in the darkness. We build a familiarity to our world or perceived reality by following the same paths, reacting the same ways and holding onto the same beliefs knowing without any doubt what to expect as we navigate our way. Those beliefs and patterns of behavior, whether they are good or bad, provide a safety net and structure for us. Beliefs allow us to interpret the world with a certainty that we know why things are happening. We find comfort in the repetition of events in our lives and the sureness of why they are occurring. In this way of thinking we react to life with known responses and this predictability brings us comfort.
Falling into the abyss makes us confront who we are by making us aware of the unconscious programming that drives our daily behavior. It is this repetition in life that blinds us to the destructive nature of our increasingly dysfunctional thought patterns and habits. Life is thrown into chaos when we are faced with the abrupt end to a long established routine. Divorce is perhaps the best example of this concept as the abusive spouse loses their victim partner, or the unmotivated pessimist loses their positive hard working spouse. This inability to see our own destructive patterns finally comes to light after divorce as the successive relationships fail for the same reasons. By remaining in co-dependent relationships people remain blind to the underlying beliefs and behavioral patterns of these unhealthy relationships.
It is surely easier and safer to never take risk in our lives and as a result never face the abyss. The irony in doing so is that we create the ultimate abyss in which we spend our lives. Any species which does not experiment, take risk, adapt and grow ultimately grows stagnant or extinct. All of nature seeks expression of this life force. It is evident in life all around us. Life itself has taken up domain in every place on earth, it has exploited every possible niche it can find. This is what life is meant to be. We are driven to exploit every conceivable advantage we can. In the human species it is to use the mind we are given and our consciousness to connect to the greater consciousness that exist. This life force that flows through all things is evidenced by all things which seek growth. As a thing is compelled to grow, a loving force nurtures it by supplying all that is needed in its development. In human endeavors it brings about all the things that are needed at the appropriate time so they can be used. We are called upon to grow, it is the nature of all things. Is it any wonder why when we stop learning and get set in our ways that we feel so listless, bored and depressed? At this point we fill our life with fruitless activities to fritter away our life. These other mindless distractions keep us occupied through life when we don’t have the courage to grow.
So what happens if a thing has no desire to grow? It shrivels up and dies. It is not unlike a human existence whereby someone has settled into life and no longer has any desire to grow. This lack of growth ends up cutting off the life source for lack of use. If we reflect upon people who have cut themselves off from those around them and have decided on living a life of relative seclusion, would that not be similar to shriveling up? Should this same person start to engage life around them and start to become part of the social network, it could be said that they have started to push out roots and grow again. While there are some people that decide to live life in seclusion for the purpose of contemplating life and seeking spiritual enlightenment, this is different. It is not uncommon for people to retire and find that their quality of life diminishes quickly because they no longer have a passion in life and so they stop growing and experiencing new things. Those people who are full of vitality and have a purpose for living tend to live longer, more enriching lives. Life holds only potential, whether that potential is reached is based upon our capacity to understand and identify truth.
Techniques for getting out of the abyss
There is no shortcut to learning a lesson and there is great value in dealing with hardship. As we look back at the abyss after finally emerging from a long encounter, we can’t help but to have a great deal of gratitude for having escaped the darkness. In this gratitude we find the joy in existence, without it, we only exist.
Fear tends to be the essence of our experience in the abyss, so in simplistic terms it is letting go of this fear that is the catalyst for crawling out of its depths. Fear makes us feel trapped and unsure of what to do, in turn we panic and exhaust our energy fighting the anxiety itself. Fear is also a fragmenting emotion; it separates us from the whole and makes us view all things as separate. It is when we come to grips with the reality that the situation hasn’t killed us, that we are able to center ourselves. For many, listening to our spirit for guidance and relying on faith ultimately helps us in deciding what to do. Seeking the help of others is available to us at any time as there are always people around us that are willing to help. Spiritual people are comforted knowing that all prayers are answered in some form or another. Help comes in many forms and on many levels, but we must ask in order to receive. This requires that we let go of pride and fear of embarrassment humbling ourselves to the greater consciousness that exist. Through a network of family, friends and those we don’t know, help will come. Like many helpful people who have experienced hardship, you too will grow to become one of these sources. Believe that this is so and it shall be.
There is no single technique that can be used for overcoming fear. It would seem necessary to go through a series of stages before accepting our situation and by going through this process we are able to start overcoming our fear. Once we have accepted our situation we can then work on removing ourselves from it. Developing a purpose or target allows us to pull ourselves towards something other than our current circumstances Once we have established a goal it allows us to focus on something beyond our current state. One of the most common attributes of being deep in the abyss is indecision and lethargy. When we have a goal to achieve or a plan to be implemented then we start to motivate towards something different. Eventually we dispel fear by changing our belief in it.
This is also a time to lighten our load, to release the cart we drag behind us containing all our hate, resentment, guilt, pride and bitterness, these are all attributes of the ego. People who become bitter and unappreciative can remain in the depths of the abyss for a long time. These same attributes can oftentimes be the initial reason for our fall, so releasing these tend be a natural undoing of the mindset that that got us in to begin with. When we experience hardship we should consider the beneficial lessons that we gain from the experience. This can be nearly impossible when we are in the midst of the hardship itself, but after some time we should reflect on the knowledge learned. It is only by having experienced the depth of despair that we can know its opposite of pure joy.
In times of adversity we learn what we are made of. Through hardship we begin to learn the consequences of our decisions and by which compass we will navigate the future. In the absence of these experiences it would be difficult to know who we are as a person and what we are made of. The process of crossing the abyss acts as a catalyst for gaining a new and different perspective on life. Those that feel they spend their life in this void will find gratitude begins the process of crawling out. It is only by counting our blessings that we are able to lift ourselves from a life at the bottom of the abyss. Each Abyss challenges us and provides the opportunities for growth. The experience is meant to challenge us gauging our strength and progress along the way. Each painful experience provides a lesson and forces us to reflect on what matters most in life. If we are always blaming others for our failures then we shall learn nothing. Only when we take full responsibility for our life are we able to learn and grow.