If there is a “key” to happiness and world peace, I think that key is acceptance.
Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control and some things are not. It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and can’t control that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible. This quote from the Stoic sage Epictetus argues that much of the suffering that we experience is self-created, by trying to control things that are beyond our control. If we reflect on our lives we can see the truth of this assertion. So much of the stress and difficulty we experience is NOT directly the result of events that fortune has handed us, but through our efforts to control: things from the past, the future, other people, our external circumstances, the weather, the world.
There are very few things that we can exert full control over and simply put they can be reduced to one thing: our beliefs. The only aspect of our experience we really control are the thoughts, opinions, judgements, and the attitudes we adopt towards the events and things that happen to us. All other things are beyond our control. However, despite this limited range of power, these things are in fact the most potent factors in determining the quality and happiness of our lives!
Acceptance IS what IS in our control. It can even be the attitude with which we deal with unwanted situations that we cannot control or change. Acceptance is a choice, and is very different from giving up. Acceptance is empowering, it comes from our power center, giving up is disempowering.
The Serenity Prayer, beautifully makes this point:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference.
Don’t demand or expect that events happen as you wish them to. Accept them as they actually happen. This way peace and serenity is possible. By becoming mindful of our thoughts and desires brings them into harmony with the way things are. When we accept things as they are, we relinquish our resistance to life and find peace and harmony.
Everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.
With this new attitude, you’ll begin to see that peace doesn’t always mean being blissed out, loving everybody and everything. Having an attitude of acceptance means accepting things just as they are now, relaxing into and giving space to people and situations.
Enjoy this week’s Mindful Monday Minute!
Love & light,