Can I be at Peace when the Storms come?

zen-stones-1395147656aNVJ. Krishnamurti, the great Indian philosopher and spiritual teacher, spoke and traveled the world for more than fifty years, finally after all those years, he shared his secret.

“I don’t mind what happens,” he said.

He did not elaborate, but the statement implies acceptance of what is, no matter how difficult and even if one will take action in relation to what happened. There is an acceptance, a calmness during every step, every second of the action or non-action.

This means to be content as things are now even in the face of things that are hard for yourself or others, and then when the now changes, to accept again. To be in a state of inner peace, nonresistance or nonjudgement with how things will turn out in the future, but being active and at peace in the moment while traveling the journey- striving toward right action.

Every situation is simply met with the thought or statement, “Is that so?”

Always responding to what the present moment requires while at the same time accepting what is.

The ego wants to go crazy with rage, sadness, and frustration when things never work, when items or money are lost, when sickness, accidents or tragedy strikes, when others or yourself are unkind, dishonest, judgmental, forgetful, abusive or controlling, when basic needs are not met, when the news disappoints, when stress overwhelms, etc. but this is a dysfunctional relationship with the Now and the cause of unnecessary suffering and human drama.

Heal your relationship with the present moment. Decide that it is always your friend. Some may object crying, “What about justice, or what about this or that?” But if all injustice was considered, the Now would never be your friend and one would be in a state of constant misery and pain.

So use your imagination to become friendly toward the Now, welcome it no matter in what disguise it comes, and soon you will see the results. Life becomes friendly towards you; people become helpful, circumstances cooperate.

Don’t focus on accepting the future when things are resolved, but love the circumstances you find yourself in. Never being a victim of circumstance, but rather the ruler over your own life happiness.  Focus on this happiness even as you seek to make the world a better place.

  • Ideas adapted from Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth
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What Can We Learn From The Stoics?

stoicismStoicism is a philosophical school that arose in Greece and was influential in Rome. It shares the insight that  the most important aspect of our nature is the part that we share with the rational divine, which is a union with nature/the universe/the cosmos.

The Stoic philosopher Seneca was born about the time of Jesus, was educated in Rome and became a Roman senator. He wrote about the importance of using reason to control our negative emotions and gain control over our internal lives in response to a world that is largely out of our control. He suggested we should be internally skeptical about the causes of our anger, to be reflective and to rise above it.

Another Stoic philosopher, Epictetus who was a slave, reasoned that we should accept whatever happens to us, good or bad with good cheer, control our emotions and act in the most rational way forward. He said that because life is short and will end, we shouldn’t waste it on being unhappy and upset.

He said that we should find meaning in our social relationships and roles and responsibilities in our families and community. Getting along, and not letting negative emotions get in our way, is our most important task. First calm down and then approach any problems rationally.

He also discussed the cycle of life and that we shouldn’t feel any more anxiety about death than we do watching leaves fall from the trees. It is a natural process that should be accepted like all of the other processes we encounter in nature, but at the same time cherish the moments we have here on earth.

Marcus Aurelius was a serious student of both Stoic and Epicurean philosophy. He wrote about taking the long view of life and realizing that everything passes. Most things that we obsess over are really very brief and inconsequential in the long scheme of life, and so are not worthy of the attention we give.

The Stoics find meaning in reflective thought, a cherished finite life, and rational action in the face of an irrational world.

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