The Life of Pi and Facing Adversity

Topic: The Life of Pi and Facing Adversity

Today’s topic is the book and film “The Life of Pi” and the message we get from the story about facing adversity without losing faith and without giving up.

In the story, Pi is a humble but deeply spiritual young man who is on a journey across the ocean when the ship he is on sinks beneath the waves. He ends up alone in a lifeboat, lost at sea with a Bengal tiger for 227 days, trying his hardest to survive. (Due to an amusing mixup, the tiger’s name is Richard Parker.) Through it all, Pi is certain that he will make it, that his gods will look after him. He refuses to accept defeat, no matter what the ocean and the tiger throw at him. He also refuses to waste time feeling sorry for himself because of what he has to endure, as he is certain that he will make it.

There is an important lesson to be found here. In our lives, sometimes we feel like we are lost at sea, not sure what to do or how to move forward. I felt like that after both of my divorces. It is during those times that we must open our eyes in order to see messages and blessings from the Universe as well as what resources are available to us. You may have to get creative, but most of the time, there is something you can use. We also learn that suffering is temporary, even when it seems to go on forever. We will find a way to make it stop, one way or another, and it is important not to lose sight of that.

Another takeaway from The Life of Pi is that we can make peace with those who would wish to destroy us. Pi never just pushes the tiger into the ocean to drown; he finds a way to make sure both of them have enough to eat so the animal will not turn on him. He recognizes Richard Parker as a kind of ally, a fellow survivor who also deserves a chance to live, rather than an enemy to be vanquished. We have talked before about living your life in such a way that you do not make enemies, and about how your attitude and actions can influence others. The relationship between Pi and the tiger is never easy or comfortable, but there is a sense of mutual respect and even cautious regard.

One last thing we learn here is that sometimes you find something that seems like  Paradise, but then it turns around and tries to kill you. During his incredible journey, Pi comes across a lush island full of trees and meerkats. It ends up being a carnivorous mat of algae that becomes poisonous as soon as the sun goes down. This can be an allegory of a relationship that at first appears to be just what you need, then it develops into a nightmare of abuse and gaslighting. Like Pi, the best thing we can do is to leave it be and move on with our lives.

In the end, how a person handles difficult circumstances is a reflection of their character and perserverence. Can you think of a time when you were metaphorically lost at sea in a lifeboat with a tiger? How did you deal with it?


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