Resistance Training For Spiritual Strength and Endurance
In water, resistance increases with the cube of speed. At a leisurely swim, it isn't bad at all, but if you enter the water from a great height, it is nearly like solid rock. Likewise, soil has its own resistance, which at our speed is very high, but roots at their deliberate speed easily find their way through the ground.
When the seeker awakens and begins moving with purpose, there is also a resistance from the "world," and it too increases proportionately with the speed. I'm not sure whether this is a design flaw or the work of a conscious enemy; perhaps it is a security device to keep the crazies from thrashing about too wildly. But it must be very frustrating for one who sees his goal clearly and tries to get there in the limited time given him.
If I were a lesser man, I would have immediately deleted this outstanding comment by Magnus and then claimed credit for it myself. At any rate, it is a fine example of a couple of symbolic "chords" which the Raccoon may use as the basis for a little pneumatic improvisation.
Naturally, in discussing the transnatural, we must rely upon analogies and symbols from the ponderable world, such as "soil," "light," "speed," "height," "water," "resistance," and "asshole." This is not because spirit is a mere projection of these things, but rather, the converse; the "world" is the temporal manifestation of timeless principles that can be understood by the law of analogy ("as above, so below"). Thus, water flows like grace, the sun shines like Truth, and the lower gastrointestinal tract flatulently "speaks" in the manner of the Cosmic Troll, or "anti-Bob."
The reason why the world is so full of analogy, metaphor, and symbol, is that these aren't just literary devices but literal dei-voices, i.e., the ethereal Word made fleshy, or earthereal. No matter how lo One gos, the Logos goes two. And then three, as we shall see. (For if it were only two, that would constitute a dualistic stalemate.)
Thus, we shouldn't be surprised at the fractal and holographic nature of reality, meaning that we see the same patterns and principles repeat themselves at all levels. This is why the pneumanetwork of synchronicities in your life can become so thick that you could cut them with the knife you "coincidentally" hold in your head.
In my own way, I suppose I've always appreciated this analogical cosmic structure, but it took awhile to recognize what I was cognizing and to re-recognize it at a "meta" level. For example, as I've mentioned before, the topic of my doctoral dissertation was the parallels between psychoanalytic metapsychology, quantum physics, and non-linear, dissipative structures in biology.
In short, I saw clear analogies between the way the physicist looks at the subatomic world, the way the biologist looks at life systems, and the way the psychoanalyst conceptualizes the deep structure of mental functioning. "Seeing" is one thing, but seeing what you're seeing is another. And to see this is yet another. In fact, you could almost say that this is the trinitarian structure of transcendence: knowing (which an animal can do), knowing that you know (which humans can do), and then knowing that you know you know (what the gnostic knows).
So, as Magnus suggests, Spirit clearly meets with "resistance" in the herebelow. As for whether this is providential or demonic, let's consider the alternatives -- or whether there could actually be any on this side of manifestation. For example, if you want to create muscular beings with robust skeletons, you need to have gravity. If we had evolved on the moon, we couldn't have evolved, since there isn't enough gravity there to keep us down to earth.
Clearly, physical strength is a function of resistance. Could Spiritual strength function any differently? Isn't our character revealed and honed on the rocks of adversity, the playing fields of Eton, and other clichés? Could there actually be any excellence in the world in the absence of resistance? To put it another way, could any useful thought be produced if we all lived in the friction-free land of the tenured?
I am reminded of the beauty of the competitive free market. One of the reasons the North evolved past the South is that in the case of the latter, physical toil was felt to be beneath the dignity of a proper man. Thus, physical labor was outsourced to slaves and other "undesirables." But it is only by struggling with recalcitrant matter that one begins to unlock its principles. Thus, the North leapt ahead of the South in discovery, invention, and creativity.
For certain non-Western cultures, a similar problem arose, in that the world was regarded as fundamentally illusory and changing, so that the evolved man sought out the timeless principles "behind" or "above" the world. Thus, these cultures produced bupkis.
Only in the logoistic Christian West was it recognized -- or at least practically realized -- that matter is a declension of spirit, so that the world necessarily veils and discloses the "mind of the Creator," so to speak, and is worthy in its own right. This is why "beauty is the splendor of the true," why truth is buried everywhere we look, both surrounding and penetrating us, why the human mind is a mirrorcle of the Abbasolute, yada yada, etc., etc.
[T]here is no metaphysical or spiritual difference between a truth manifested by temporal facts and a truth expressed by other symbols, under a mythological form.... With God, truth lies above all in the symbol's effective power of enlightenment and not in its literalness....
Historical reality is less "real" than the profound truth it expresses, and which myths likewise express; a mythological symbolism is infinitely more "true" than a fact deprived of symbolism....
The uncreated Word shatters speech while at the same time directing it toward concrete and saving truth. --Schuon
In coonclusion, God is not so much a rigid mathematician as a playful mythsemantician.