Destruction and New Growth

I am so excited to see all the visitors & comments on the blog – thanks!  This NaComLeavMo is quite an experience – I feel a bit overcharged with trying to keep up with reading & commenting.

The comments on my last entry “Building Character” have given me a lot to think about.  One comment in particular set off a little fireworks in my head.  CandidEngineer said:

“This reminds me of when I learned of the Indian god Shiva- Shiva is the god of destruction, and it struck me as odd that one of the main 3 gods would be about something as terrible as destruction. It was only later that I realized that in order to rebuild our lives, in order to reshape our minds and our hearts, we first have to tear down. ”

I think it is saying basically the same thing as the book quotation, but for some reason this way of explaining it really resonated with me.

My background is in biochemistry/biology and the first image that leaped into my head was that of bone formation.  Even when our bones have grown all that they need to do, they are constantly being remodelled.  Cells called osteoclasts “destroy” or absorb bone, while osteoblasts constantly make new bone.  Essentially our bones are always being remodeled, while maintaining their basic shape.  If we stress the bones, as in weight bearing exercise, then we are able to make them thicker & stronger.  The process of tearing down and building up is constantly going on, allowing us to regulate our calcium and phosphorus, acid/base balance, make new blood cells, allow for movement, absorb harmful things (like heavy metals) from our blood stream to be released gradually later on – pretty amazing stuff.  

Another image would be that of a wildfire that razes the prairies or the forests – allowing for new growth to come forth.  Or even after a volcanic eruption, new life eventually takes hold, and in fact the soil is even more rich and productive than before. 

I follow a Christian tradition, and other than “Siddhartha” and “The Tibetan Book of the Dead” I am most familiar with Christian and some Jewish writings.  It is very exciting to have some of the book recommendations from commentators, to explore how suffering fits into our being from other perspecitves.

While I am open to believing it’s possible we do need destruction in our lives to clear the way for new growth … hopefully better growth … it can still be very painful.  I remember thinking once that the more sadness we know, the greater the pit that the sadness has created in us – the more joy we can hold – the greater volume of happiness we can take in, like rain falling into the pit.  I don’t know if that is a good image or not.  Perhaps the more pain we feel, the greater our capacity to feel … absence of pain??  what is the opposite of pain?  perhaps exultation?  ecstasy?

I’m afraid my thoughts here are in very rough form.  I’d like to know what you think … is destruction necessary for growth?  what is the opposite of pain? 


5 thoughts on “Destruction and New Growth

  1. Tanya says:

    I don’t necessarily think that growth requires destruction. However, I do think it gives us more of an opportunity to grow. It allows us to appreciate what is left to a greater extent. Just picture a barren landscape where fire has destroyed all living things… or has it? Soon tiny shoots are springing up, growing tall and strong and the rebuilding begins.

    Well… that’s about as philosophical as I get after midnight…

  2. margalit says:

    The opposite of pain is supposed to be pleasure, but I don’t think that’s actually correct. I think it’s peace. When you’re in pain, or when your body is in some sort of destructive mode, you feel pain, but you also feel out of balance with your enviroment. So for me, it seems like the calm and peace of being pain free is about as good as it gets.

    Hi from NaComLeavMo!

  3. babyamore says:

    hi I am here from NCLM

    I think it is true is some instances but not necessary for everyone to know destruction and pain to experience joy and happiness.I like what Tanya said too
    warm regards

  4. I agree with Tanya- I think it would be perfectly fulfilling to grow (even minimally) without pain and destruction, but this is very unrealistic. The gift given to those in pain is that the happiness and the growth will be so much more appreciated (because there is something to compare it to).

  5. loribeth says:

    Hi Andie, I’ve been reading & thinking. Still not quite sure how to respond, but I’m glad you are raising these kinds of complex questions — good brain exercise! lol

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