‘Resilience’ is the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape, the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. One must know that resilience is an ability, which indicates that one needs to undergo training and reflections on one’s process of dialogue. Dialogues are not easy; it is not merely walking up to someone and talking face to face. The amount of depth and learning we need in order to dialogue is critical and needs to be explored in all its length and breadth. Developing this ability of resilience to rise back every time we fall and to ensure that we never give up on dialogues, even when they have failed, is what will give us access to self transformation. We all are vulnerable in some way or another, and resilience will help us overcome our failures and will lead us to powerful dialogues.
Daisaku Ikeda, President of Soka Gakkai International (SGI) in his peace proposal 2014 to the United Nations talks about the importance of enhancing the resilience of human societies. The quote from philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche reads, ‘what does not kill me, makes me stronger’. Resilience is crucial for dialogues in a world where we face challenges, right from our individuality to global crises. We often break down and give up on these situations. Thus, resilience is vital to keep our dialogues going to come back on track again if we have derailed from our activism. It is important not to give up and rise back to life making contributions to build a better world in our own unique ways. I learned the importance of resilience during my nature appreciation walk organized by a few environmentalists. My curiosity for dialogue helped me reflect on this intimate dialogue between Nature and humans, which I could also connect to a mother and her infant. I call it ‘Heard’ when the mother speaks and the baby responds through a smile or gestures and ‘Unheard’ when the emotions or the unspoken words are ignored by the world outside. Resilience in dialogue is to keep exploring these heard and unheard cues that the world offers us through their thoughts, words and actions. It is a constant struggle to find the gap in human dialogues and to bridge the gap through our learning. Nature while it is destroyed, heals itself, nature teaches us how to be resilient.
Walking in the forest early morning helped me dialogue with nature: I said something in my heart and the nature responded in unique ways which I can’t express in words. There was a sense of give and take as I walked through the narrow paths. This is how perhaps a mother and a new born communicate. There is so much that she must have experienced and felt during those nine months and when she holds that little one in her arms, she just dialogues a world of emotions, sometimes through her words, sometimes through her breasts and sometimes through her gentle hands and most often through her eyes that make her feel so blessed every time she sees the fruit of her womb. I wonder now, there must be so many dialogues within this realm of nature that we have not heard. Theologian Teilard De Chardin says, ‘We are spiritual beings, having human experience’. Nature helps us experience that divine dialogue, which leads us to affirm faith in our incarnation as humans. Indigenous communities have always been my inspiration, as they truly understand the symbiosis of human beings and nature. They have taught me to love nature, to respect nature and to let nature take its course. At the nature appreciation walk I learned about trees through stories, poems and other sharings, I felt like a kid curious to know more about this mysterious circle of nature, to understand the alpha and the omega. It just made me fall in love with life and appreciate the depth of nature’s beauty. Indigenous people say, ‘have faith in nature, trust that they will protect you,’ and I did experience that while I walked in the wilderness. The wisdom and understanding of our own divine essence is like a beacon that invites us to have deeper dialogue with ourselves and with everything around us. In dialogue the heart matters. We often give up hope when someone breaks our trust and makes us feel unworthy. It is here that we need to develop courage to face the situation and rise up back to life and keep our dialogues going. The essence of dialogue is not to experiment but to experience a world of emotions. As the famous sufi Rumi says, ‘You have to keep breaking your heart, until it opens’.