An oyster produces a pearl by releasing a substance called nacre when sand (or any irritating substance) slips into its shell. Over time, layers and layers of nacre coat the sand until the gem is formed.
We, too, can learn something from the oyster. Instead of shunning or running away from irritations or troubles, why not embrace it and let something useful come out of it? As Eckhart Tolle points out, behind every disappointment or frustration is a good thing that is waiting to come out. Of course this is easier said that done. We live in a civilization that wants to enjoy life to the fullest and turns away from it at the slightest hint of trouble. We want to have a good time all the time. We only see one side of things, which distorts our perspective. We are not balanced so when sadness and frustration come (and they will), we feel disoriented and then resort to drugs, alcohol, projection into the future, blame, or anything that gets us out of the current situation.
This is a recipe for unhappiness. The key to lead a balanced life is not to focus on one thing (the good) and turn away from the other (the bad), but to let both things (good and bad) come to the fore without any interference. They are the two sides of life: one can not exist without the other. So we leave things alone so life can work on its two opposing aspects, reconcile them, and then release its magic. We are then able to uncover the gem that was hiding behind the situation. Like the oyster, we embrace life’s irritants and turn them into pearls.