Transcendence is what we call growth in the human spirit, and is similar to the process of maturing. When we are infants and new to the world, we become upset over the smallest thing. Hunger causes anguish and anger, and we scream and kick, throwing a tantrum until we are fed.

As we grow older, we gain what are called coping skills. These skills allow us to take the bumps of life in stride, to be able to understand the ways of the world, and accept life as it happens, or to change our world in a responsible way. If we find find ourselves hungry, we summon the will to supress anger at the unfairness of life, and expend the energy to fix dinner (or for those of us with less well-developed coping skills, pour ourselves a bowl of Lucky Charms).

Transcendence allows us move on in spite of emotions, to rise above the twisting tyranny of human nature. Transcendence is a beautiful ideal, for it is this that allows us forgive.

You've been hurt by someone, been dealt a stunning emotional blow. Our first instinct as humans is to react with anger and self-pity. Self-pity is an amazing thing, and it is self-propagating. It allows us to feel like a martyr. And who doesn't want to be a martyr? You are perfect, an innocent, the one who's been wronged against. All your feelings are righteous, and all your problems can be blamed on someone else. Who would give this up?

And yet, people who have been wronged in terrible ways find it in themselves to let go of anger, to let go of self-pity, of hate, and allow themselves to forgive. They have transcended this set of human nature. If you can do this, you can understand the beauty of transcendence.

For anyone who has ever received advice along these lines, you know how difficult it is to follow. Most of the time I can see the wisdom behind such advice, and can understand the benefits of letting go and moving up. But it can be so painful. I'll do it, yes yes. Just give me some more time.

Can't I be a child for a little longer?

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