Nobody has the perfect life. This is how things really are. This is the nature of things.
We all struggle and strive to attain health, wealth and personal happiness. Yet these three big areas: our health, our wealth and our relationships are where we all get hung out to dry – sooner or later.
I say "sooner or later" because there have been many people I have known and whose lives I have been able to observe, from within the context of normal social interaction, and who really did seem to "have it all".
In some cases I went through periods of feeling quite envious of these folk who led – or appeared to lead – such charmed lives.
Yet over a period of time – usually five to ten years but sometimes quite a lot longer - what I have noticed is that even those seemingly special ones who lead such apparent charmed lives were in fact nursing secret and private difficulties and unexpected tragedies – fractured family relationships, deaths, serious illness, sudden illness, business failure, redundancy, money problems etc.
I too have been severely tested in some of these areas.
It is as though there is an inbuilt design flaw that ensures that we all suffer at some point - one way or another.
Often, in these situations, we find ourselves going through a transition as we try to deal with the personal impacts of imposed change.
Here are some empowering resources for when you feel lost and stuck in a period of transition.
The Buddhist perspective
In the Buddhist perspective, "seeing things as they are" [Sanskrit yatha-bhutam darshanam] basically means to see that all human experience is stamped by three characteristics:
This is how things really are.
As we become aware of these characteristics our point of focus shifts away from the content of our experiences and toward their structure.
To see how things really are is to become conscious of our unconscious assumptions about ourselves and our world, and to bring them into the light of full consciousness, and to notice how, on close inspection, these assumptions often contradict our actual experience.
Wanting reality to be different than it is, is like trying to teach a cat to bark.
You suffer every time you believe a thought that argues with what is.
When your mind is perfectly clear, what is, is what you want.
If you want reality to be different than it is, you might as well try to teach a cat to bark.
You can try and try, and in the end the cat will look up at you and say, “Meow.”
Wanting reality to be different than it is - is hopeless.
And yet, if you pay attention, you’ll notice that you think thoughts like this dozens of times a day:
These thoughts are ways of wanting reality to be different than it is.
If you think that this sounds depressing, you’re right.
Much of the stress that you feel is caused by arguing with what is.
The Stoics referred to this as "the dichotomy of control".
Modern psychologists refer to an “internal locus of control” and an “external locus of control.”
What this basically means is that if you have internal locus of control you will most likely believe that you are responsible for most of what happens in your life.
The consequence of this is that your response to events determines the outcomes you experience.
You focus on what you could do better or what you can influence in pursuing your goals.
Whereas, if you have an external locus of control you will tend to blame others for your problems, find excuses to not pursue your goals, and generally live a frustrated and unfulfilled life.
Evidence show that if you have an internal
locus of control there is greater likelihood of you being happier, less anxious,able to make better
decisions and accomplish more of your goals.
This idea has been around for millennia in various formats. In modern times it is best known as Reinhold Neibuhr’s “Prayer of Serenity”:
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference."
What I have learned the hard way over
many, many years, and without doubt or reservation, is that we need to
use the leverage of energy - the same energy that creates everything in
the universe – The Energy Of Life.
You may have noticed that some people seem to lead a “charmed life” or have “the Midas touch”. It can appear as though they have an advantage over everyone else.
At the other end of the spectrum there are so many people who strive so hard and yet achieve so little for all their effort. This may not seem fair but in all of my lived and observed experience of life that really does seem to be how The Energy Of Life works.
That doesn't seem fair does it? But all the evidence seems to suggest to me that's the way the universe works.
We are culturally conditioned and brought up to believe that there is “no gain without pain” and whilst there is a truth in that, it is not the whole picture.
What matters is the energetic state applied to all that effort.
Suffering is an integral part of the human condition.
There are times when there is nothing more we can do to alleviate it.
In these circumstances we have two powerful options: we can RESIST it OR we can ACCEPT it.
The power of acceptance is the freedom that it gives you.
Freedom from the tyranny of your thoughts and emotional responses to the events and circumstances of your life.
The transforming power of acceptance is that it:
Acceptance is the foundation stone upon which all personal change is built.
Here is a simple proven practice for practising the power of acceptance.
Next Article: I Did It MY Way
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