Do you ride the constant waves of being happy because everything in your life is going well… and then in the very next moment, it seems, this feeling of inner bliss and contentment is sabotaged because someone wronged you, or work was slow, or the grass grew?
Facing life’s ups & downs without riding the happiness to unhappiness peaks and troughs roller-coaster can be a constant process of inner reflection. And we can all fall into this trap of superficial calm when all is well – only to feel at war when you are stuck behind a slow driver and you are running late for an appointment.
Rather than fixing your attention on the external, look within and ride the waves like a pro surfer. Mindfulness is the key – the ability to remain balanced amidst ever-changing conditions. Stay in a state of even-minded openness that allows for a balanced, clear response to all situations, rather than a response borne of reactivity.
There’s an old story that illustrates the wisdom of this state of mind. A farmer’s most valuable asset is the one horse he owns. One day it runs away. All the townspeople commiserate with him, “Oh, what terrible luck! You’ve fallen into poverty now, with no way to pull the plough or move your goods!” The farmer merely responds, “I don’t know if it’s unfortunate or not, all I know is that my horse is gone.”
A few days later, the horse returns and following it are six more horses, both stallions and mares. The townspeople say “Oh! You’ve struck it rich! Now you have seven horses to your name!” Again, the farmer says, “I don’t know if I’m fortunate or not; all that I can say is that I now have seven horses in my stable.”
A few days later, while the farmer’s son is trying to break in one of the wild horses, he’s thrown from the horse and breaks his leg and shoulder. “Oh, how terrible! Your son has been so badly injured, he’ll not be able to help you with the harvest. What a misfortune!” The farmer responds “I don’t know if it’s a misfortune or not; what I know is that my son has been injured.”
Less than a week later, the army sweeps through the town, conscripting all the young men to fight in a war… all except for the farmer’s son, who’s unable to fight because of his injury.
The fact is, you can’t know what changes your life will bring or what the ultimate consequences will be. There is a bigger picture that we are not aware of. Have you ever experienced a delay while driving, perhaps even got frustrated by it… only to be spared being involved in an accident because if you were able to, you would of been in the exact place where an accident has only just occurred in moments before?
Allow the mystery of things: the unknowable, uncontrollable nature of things to be just as they are. In this radical acceptance lies peace and freedom. Choose happiness from within – be centred and balanced, unattached to how you think things should be. When we are open to the truth that there is actually very little we can control other than our own reactions to circumstances, we learn to let go… to surrender…