Embracing What We Cannot Change

December 24, 2010 by  
Filed under blog

There were so many awe-inspiring, extraordinarily beautiful, and even startling sights during our recent trip to the Asia. But one of the oddest things—or at least one that really struck me—was the incongruous vision of Buddhist monks walking around the temple areas, looking down as they went, at something we are all very familiar with yet would not expect to see at a Buddhist temple–cell phones! Yes, these monks, ages anywhere from, (would you believe) 8 or 9 years old to 80 or 90 years old—were walking and texting or talking on that very, modern invention.

It didn’t seem to fit at all and it took a while to get somewhat used to seeing the simple Buddhist ways combined with modern technology. Didn’t Buddhist traditionally renounce conventional living? But it occurred to me after a while, that they also attach great importance to community and isn’t keeping in touch part of that? And then there’s the Buddhist philosophy of “if you can’t change something then accept it”. And I’ve been thinking about that particular outlook on and off ever since then.

It’s really a very important idea, one that we should all make a part of our lives. Whether it’s a simple thing like not getting upset at standing in line or being in a huge traffic jam or the heart-breaking circumstance of dealing with the illness or death of a loved one, we need to focus on accepting what we cannot change. Fighting it by getting angry, depressed, or taking any other destructive or non-constructive path will not make it better and often leads to more unhappiness.

I know it’s easy to say, accept it and let it go or embrace it, and much harder to act on that idea. But if there is any time of the year that would make it easier to try and live by this philosophy, it must be now, during the holiday season when forgive and forget, be of good cheer, and learning to see that it’s “A Wonderful Life” is being preached and practiced all around us. So, let’s all think about that and put it into action in our lives and I promise that we will all feel so much better.

A Happy Holiday to you and yours.