Beyond the Clouds by Fr. Jacob Nampudakam, S.A.C. - Page 23

One of the most wondrous experiences has always been the air travel from Italy to Germany- especially Munich- in the wintertime. Rome, while it can get quite cold in December and January, hardly lacks bright sunlight. Yet as we soar above the Alps and their snow-covered peaks, the situation is not so. Soon, the thickest of white clouds rest beneath the plane for its sojourn; and when it finally pierces through them in its descent, we are faced with a situation as cold as the runway’s concrete; rainy, windy, and dark. No longer is there the bright sun and blue sky. How drastically different the situation is on either side of the mountains! How- in only minutes- the same person is exposed to entirely different situations! It is said that these climatic conditions have a tremendous influence on our personality and temperament. Often they are factors beyond our control, though they still have definitive impacts on every aspect of our lives. Thus, they are good to be aware of. Likewise are there such huge mountains in our lives, too. Mountains which can effectively block objectivity, as well as impartial perception and judgment. It is said that “whatever is perceived is perceived according to the mode of the perceiver.” Our emotions, affective memory, unconscious needs and conflicts, prejudices, etc., are indeed Alpian mountains, that can obstruct sound and objective perception, evaluation, decision making, and good judgment. Consequently, then, we will also have the same experience of living in the depths of the thickest clouds, not allowing even a ray of light to pass through. The result? A pessimistic, subjective, depressive approach to reality. One thing that certainly destroys life is chronic pessimism. It can be described as the attitude of a defeated soldier; in whom there is neither the will nor possibility to fight. At times, this can also be used as an excuse to avoid facing the pains of life; it is abject surrender to a situation that seems too overwhelming. We have abandoned the struggle! But in not facing the problem, we are likely to be accompanied by depression. 23