Today’s peace practice, acceptance, speaks to my own inner peace before it speaks to peace in the world, but I will comment on both.
Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional, a Buddhist saying.
Acceptance. It’s simple but not easy, so they say. Accepting today for what it is and focusing on all its small miracles makes all the difference.
Small Miracles. Image from Beauty Awakens, facebook
I spent many years of my life suffering from deep depression, as you know if you have been following my posts. Thankfully, that ended well for me 15 or so years ago, I have a sunny life, but it easily could have ended much differently, and i would have missed the best years of my life.
When I was depressed, I found many things unacceptable, and yet I was powerless to change them. I could not change my then-husband’s drinking and rages and steady decline, I could not change my small income, I could not change the soggy Oregon weather, I could not change my children deciding to live with their father and step-mother, I couldn’t even change the heartache that was my daily companion.
Thing is, change happened for me when I took my focus off of all the things I thought had to be different in order for me to be happy, and the idea I had that it was terribly rotten and
that my life was as it was. Thing is, those things did not need to change to make me happy. I had to learn to accept TODAY for whatever it was and find the small miracles in it, and I had to accept and understand that I was the only one living inside my skin…that’s called a boundary… and that I alone was responsible for making me happy. That was never the job of my husband, my children, my job, and I when I let go of my expectations that I would be happy if only they changed, then I could feel the metaphorical and actual sunshine and see the flowers.
It took years in Al-Anon, and then both inpatient and out-patient therapy, for me to finally understand and actually use the Serenity Prayer. I am a hard-headed girl.
Lord, grant me the serenity to ACCEPT the things I cannot change,
The COURAGE to change the things I can, and
the WISDOM to know the difference.
Peace on the Planet
As we are becoming more aware of the dignity and rights of every human being, we are asked more and more to ACCEPT people for who they are, regardless of race, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, etc.
This shift to accepting people for who they are is part of the same problem I had before – some people think they cannot be happy as long as other people don’t ________( fill in the blank). They/we spend a great deal of energy fighting amongst ourselves about how we want the world to be, what is acceptable for other people to look like, to do and say and feel, and then we have none left over for Love and Peace.
I recognize that greed and lust for power and many other inner demons must be exorcised from our collective consciousness to bring lasting peace, but our full acceptance of other people and their full and equal right to happiness would be a great start.