On our recent travels, Donna and I encountered a Buddhist Monk who offered us some advice:
“Work smoothly. Lifetime Peace.”
In a world that increasingly makes us feel as though we need to scream, shout, push, hustle, and elbow our way into other’s attention, this token is a welcome reminder to focus on our own work, at our own pace.
I don’t propose to have the solution to world peace or perpetual happiness for all, but something tells me the realization of those pursuits is not found in 100 hour work-weeks accompanied by overworked, over-stressed, and dis-eased lives that constantly seek the attention and approval of others.
“If you want to be old after 42 years,
keep dropping the hammer and grinding the gears.”
– Drive By Truckers
I’m not saying we should throw up our hands, and let the winds of fate blow us where they will.
If you know me, you know that’s the opposite of my beliefs.
So the answer my friends must lie somewhere in between.
Control what we can control to the best of our abilities and then let go.
I guess that’s why I always loved this prayer written in 1951 by Reinhold Niebuhr (and famously adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous).
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Regardless of our spiritual preferences, there is a common theme here – seeking to find the balance between making things happen and accepting that which we cannot control.
Don’t force it. Learn acceptance, pacing, patience.
Appreciate, don’t expect
Measure success by intrinsic factors, not extrinsic.
Chase an ideal, a standard of excellence, an internal vision, not the approval of others.
Remember that THERE is not better than here.
Run your race. Focus on yourself and your stuff. Put on blinders if need be. Avoid toxic goals. (3 C’s, if you missed that episode, it is linked in the show notes)
Work smoothly. Lifetime Peace.
Links & Resources:
- Better Human Workshop: 10/26/19 at BCI in Madison, Alabama
- Tao Te Ching (the Stephen Mitchell translation)
- Toxic Goals with Paul Reddick on the BHP
- Serenity Prayer
- Outfit – by Drive By Truckers on YouTube (lyrics by Jason Isbell)