“God, grant me the serenity. . .” Serenity Prayer
“Never miss a good chance to shut up.” - Will Rogers
For some reason, many of us grow up thinking we are responsible for the World’s problems. Or, if not responsible for the problems themselves, we are responsible for finding a solution. Perhaps it is the result of having grown up with a parent that tells us, directly or indirectly, that we are the cause of their problems. Perhaps it comes from being part of a family where dysfunction was the norm, and you yearned as a child to solve the problems. Of course we were not equipped and all we knew to believe was what we were told.
We see injustices in our lives. On the road, I am learning much history, and when you go to the locations that history happened, the normal “spin” given us in our history books and by our media isn’t there. The facts are usually pretty clearly portrayed, and if they are not clearly stated the “spin” is missing. And so you can see who the folks were that were involved in those things that have brought society the most pain.
If I revert to my childhood tendencies, I want to start convincing people of the causes of the ills in our country and what needs to be done to correct them. I want to engage in debate – I want to give unsolicited opinions and advice. And I am completely convinced that I am justified – matter of fact I am providing a much needed service. And the next thing you know I am just another empty husk – a shill that is promoting more unrest and not being of service to anyone.
When I wrote the article on Meher Baba in Myrtle Beach, I wrote about his words to Ghandi when he was asked for advice. He told Ghandi that this is a spiritual training ground. He said that if Ghandi were successful in his quest to obtain self-determination for the Indian people, the Universe would conspire to create some new element of strife and struggle on this earth. Why? Because we are here to learn lessons, not to “fix” things.
This is a hard concept for me to swallow. I want to “fix” things, and the grander the scale the happier I think I am going to be. But experience tells me that the only time I make a lasting difference in life is when I find a way to be of genuine service to the spirit represented by the person right in front of me this moment. And experience tells me that when I try to “fix” others it ends badly for me.
It is only when I work to act as a “channel of peace” that good and lasting things emerge. And so I complicate my thoughts and my life until I get into enough pain that I again run for the refuge of the serenity prayer. God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the thing I can and the wisdom to know that thing is me.
Today, may I clean my side of the street.
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