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Excerpted from Happiness Is an Inside Job by Sylvia Boorstein. Copyright © 2007 by Sylvia Boorstein. Excerpted by permission of Random House, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.
 

"My own experience is that I keep learning this lesson, over and over again."

  Sylvia Boorstein
Happiness Is an Inside Job
, Part 3

Does that make sense to you on as many levels as it does to me? I understand it, primarily, as meaning "I have only a certain span of life allotted to me, so I don't want to waste a single moment of it fighting." Other times, if I catch myself on the brink of contention, the instruction reminds me, "Whatever is happening will change, and what I add to this situation is part of the change. Agonizing makes it worse." And sometimes, if I remember that whatever is happening will cause results that I really cannot anticipate (although I often do and worry needlessly), I say to myself, "I have no idea whether this changed circumstance, which I resent, is actually a good or a bad thing in the long run. I can wait to see."

Many people have told me, when I've asked for examples of wise people in their lives, "My granddad [or grandmother or elderly neighbor of my childhood or eighth-grade math teacher] always said, ‘You do the best you can, and then you live with what happens. What else can you do?' "

I think in these descriptions of wisdom, the important word is always. Those wise people always said . . . They did not forget. I forget. I know -- I think we all do from innumerable events in our experience -- that the moment in which the mind acknowledges "This isn't what I wanted, but it's what I got" is the point at which suffering disappears. Sadness might remain present, but the mind, having given up the fight for another reality, is free to console, free to support the mind's acceptance of the situation, free to allow space for new possibilities to come into view.

My own experience is that I keep learning this lesson, over and over again. My wisdom is definitely not unshakable. Here is an example, from all too recent an experience. I became distracted, and . . . Well, here is the story, which speaks for itself.

I went to the antique store in the town in France where I live part of each year to protest the unexpected 400-euro charge that had arrived along with the mattress and innerspring for the bed I'd bought there. I had telephoned in advance.

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