Life has a character, just like we humans. It expresses through any number of laws -- whether overt or subtle. One particular principle is that progress in life occurs through our contradiction and conflict with others and circumstance. It is only through these adversarial relationships that each party can make a breakthrough in consciousness and thereby progress. In particular, when we find the higher harmony beyond the contradiction, then each side moves forward. Otherwise life remains in standstill or even goes backwards. If we look closely, we will see this dynamic everywhere -- in our own lives and in the world around us. It is Nature's secret method.

A closely related principles is that the greater the opposition we encounter in life, the greater the opportunity for us to rise and progress. We can observe this law in real life or in the world of literature and film.

For example, in Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice there is a great scandal midway through the story when one of the Bennet sisters elopes with a scoundrel, threatening to ruin the family, both socially and financially. And yet the final outcome of that particular episode was that three of the five Bennet daughters find love, are married to attractive husbands, and come into enormous sums of money. Thus, a family once teetering on the edge of financial ruin comes into staggering good fortune. In essence, the intensity of the opposition that life brought through the elopement set in motion conditions that enabled the three marriages to occur. Because circumstance was so intensely negative, individuals reacted in such a way that caused them to come together in ways that would not have otherwise occurred.

A more recent and non-fictional version involves the case of Apple CEO Steve Jobs. In the 1980's he was tossed out of the company he founded by the board of directors for going in a direction that the company foolishly thought was reckless. Though he went through dark moments in the years that followed, he rose to the challenge, took up a number of creative initiatives, including the founding of the companies Next and Pixar, and was eventually rehired back at Apple along with the many assets he had developed while in exile. As a result, Apple, which was on the verge of bankruptcy when Jobs returned, increased its revenues by an astounding 10 times in the decade and a half that followed (on its way to many times more), making it the most powerful corporate turnaround in US history, and catapulting Apple to become a four-time in a row Fortune magazine the most admired company in the world.

In other words, intense opposition and difficulty provided Jobs with the "initiative" to strike back and take things to a new level. Adversarial conditions gave him the strength, fortitude, and determination to push his way forward and create conditions for his former company that no one would ever have imagined. Not only that, but it resulted in products that had a profound impact on the nature of society -- including the IPod, IPhone, and IPad, etc., whose sales have boomed around the world.

If you examine your own life, you will likely see this same dynamic at work; that the greatest difficulty you encountered -- whether an outer opposition or an inner demon, was the force that enabled your greatest success. Or to put it another way, the greater the outer resistance, conflict, contradiction to our aspirations and goals, the greater the possibility for achievement and growth; i.e. the higher we can rise.

We can actually go a step further and philosophically say that the negatives we encounter are actually positives in disguise. Or better still that those negatives are simply more intense forms of the positive; providing the energy, force, and push that compels us to rise much higher.

Having said this, there is an alternate approach to progress. We can rise in consciousness and act in ways that tend to attract the positive and avoid opposition. In that way, we rise from peak to ever-higher peak of the positive. In order to do that, we will need to overcome our limitations, utilize the spiritual Force that is there to set right life's conditions, and live a life of increasingly conscious behavior. In that way, there is an intensity -- a positive intensity -- that compels us to move forward. It is not opposition, but energy and joy that drives us to the next level. This is no longer Nature's Way, but that of Spirit and Soul.