Of course there are a number of ways that this presents itself. We may be disappointed that something didn’t happen (we didn’t win the lottery), or that something did happen (a car accident) or that we did something stupid that we blame ourselves for, or so on. There are two ways of resolving this.
- Attempt to change the world so it becomes more like you want.
- Change your relationship to your problems so that you accept whatever happens.
The first is the way of the West. We complain, we invent, we use science, we go to counselling, etc. The second is traditionally the way of religion. God created the world for a reason and things happen for a reason. By accepting that, we learn what we can from the situation.
Strangely, the way of the West doesn’t make us any more satisfied with the world. The more we change things the more dissatisfied we become.
Of course taken to its logical conclusion, I hear you say, wouldn’t that mean we were still living in caves trying to eke out a living by hunting? Well, let’s consider – but let us go back 40 years instead of a few thousand. Before the advent of mobile phones and the internet. We would be lost without these gadgets, but were the people who were around at that time unhappy because they didn’t have them? I was there and the answer is quite definitely ‘no’. In fact, in most cases people were happier then than they are today. If you’re not used to having technology you can’t miss it.
So if were to try to adopt the method of acceptance then how do we do it? First is meditation. Slow the mind down so it’s not always racing ahead into ridiculous possibilities. Stop lusting after technology and become satisfied with what you have. So it’s not the latest smart phone? So your car does not have the latest things?
Become satisfied with the people around you. Of course your spouse / kids / parents / friends aren’t perfect. Even if they were you would probably find something to complain about.
And most of all: become satisfied with yourself. That doesn’t mean you don’t attempt to improve yourself. It means that you acknowledge your faults and resolve to become a better person without beating yourself up. Treat your faults as you would treat the faults in your friends. And treat the faults in your friends as if you have the same issues.
By Philip Braham on .