by Wendy Keller, author, inspirational speaker, woman who cares
It’s been a few days since I’ve posted anything original, because I’ve been stuck on a few sentences in a book. The book is called “Being Peace” by the Vietnamese monk Thich Naht Hanh. This is not the first time I’ve read this book, but since last time, someone must have come along and added a few sentences I never noticed before. Does that ever happen to you?
The sentences that have seized my mind are these:
“Reality, ultimate reality, is free from all adjectives, either pure or impure.” – page 24
It’s not “good” or “bad”; It’s not “fair” nor “unfair”. The bad stuff that’s happening in your life just Is. Reality is just that: What Is. We can hate it, we can suffer, we can squirm. But ultimately, that has no bearing on What Is. It only affects how we cope with What Is.
I think when Really Bad Stuff happens, coping goes way, way, way beyond “Think Positive Thoughts.” We may mutter under our breath to any chirpy person who dares to admonish us to think positively when we’re really hurting, “Let me shove your positive thoughts right up…”
But logically, let’s look at this. The Bad Thing has already happened. Nothing is going to grow back your amputated legs; resurrect your loved one; make your spouse into someone who doesn’t cheat; whatever.
Could it be – and I suspect it is – our “adjectives” cause us pain? I know it takes enormous effort to think this – really I do – but just for a split second, what if you said, “What happened to me isn’t Good or Bad; Pure or Impure; it just is What Is.” It’s a fact.
The minute we stop resisting something that’s already happened, the sooner we can decide to stop hurting and starting living again. The sooner we can begin to open ourselves to coping strategies, to recovery, to seeing what’s left in the ruins of our lives. It takes an unfathomable amount of mental strength to try to let go of The Bad Thing, to wash off all the words we use to describe it, and to just let it be What Is. Yet the minute we do, everything changes. Our perspective. Our feelings. Our coping ability.
You’re still alive. You made it through The Bad Thing. Why not make the best of it? What will it hurt you to try this little experiment? Why not take a stab at creating Peace of Mind by letting go (even for a second!) of the judgment you have about what happened, the labels you and society give it, and let a fresh breeze into your soul?
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“The Top Ten Tips to Coping with Crisis” today!