Happiness and peace are not same; they are different.
This is Lent… Jesus Christ’s suffering – through physical torture and humiliation – comes before me. On this earth, He wasn’t God; He was like you and me – a mortal soul. So, He went through all the feelings that you and I would go through in times like the ones He had gone through before He was crucified - fear, doubt, helplessness, shame, betrayal and isolation… Yes, He had to experience all these feelings in order to conclude, “Father, it is not my wish… It is Thy”.
Nobody can experience happiness when humiliated and tortured. Certainly, Jesus Christ amidst pain and fear was far from happiness. Had the ‘test’ been taken away from Jesus by His Father, perhaps, He would have felt happy. So, Happiness depended on that condition…
But, when the ‘Test’ could not be taken away, Jesus surrendered to the will of God… With that came Peace…
The struggle to undo the “Test’ by oneself is how it starts for all of us… We all want the difficult and painful situations to go… the ‘Test’ to be taken away by our Father… Yes, that’s our first prayer… But, to recognized the truth that when ‘Test’ cannot be taken away, we need to handover our affairs to the will of our Father is that wisdom which the ‘Serenity Prayer’ hails…
“Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.”
We cannot change each and every situation in our lives. We have problems and difficulties which cause us unhappiness just because we are not free from the stories we make around our problems and difficulties. Many of us cannot comprehend the truth that despite our painful situations, we can be at peace with ourselves… For that, we need the wisdom to recognize that truth… With that wisdom, our ego drops, stories end… peace comes about…
In the morning, today, my friend, Jaypee had shared this message with me:
“The most difficult task is to make everybody happy…
The simplest task is to be happy with everybody.”
It reminded me of Eckhart Tolle’s beautiful analogy of how ducks find peace after their fights. Just yesterday, I had read about it in one of Marelisa Fabrega’s (the author of the book ‘How to Live Your Best Life’) blogs. Let me reproduce a section of it:
Eckhart Tolle shares his observation that after two ducks get into a fight they do the following:
§ They separate and float off in opposite directions.
§ Then they each flap their wings vigorously a few times to get rid of the surplus energy that built up during the fight.
§ After flapping their wings they float on peacefully, as if nothing had happened.
However, if the duck had a human mind, it would probably tell itself a story such as the following:
“I can’t believe he just did that. Who does he think he is? The nerve . . . he has absolutely no consideration of others. He thinks he owns this pond. I’m sure he’s already plotting some new way to annoy me. He’s not getting away with it; I’ll show him.”
The lesson we can learn from the ducks is this: flap your wings. That is, shake off the surplus energy you feel after a negative encounter, let go of the stories you’re telling yourself, and return to the only place of power: the present moment.
In addition, we need to become attentive to our thoughts and emotions. Ask yourself constantly: “Is there any negativity in me at this present moment?” Then watch out for thoughts that attempt to explain or justify.
What my friend Jaypee’s morning message wanted me to remember was: when happiness is found in the here and now, it is called Peace. Ducks find it, you see!
Pic.: Rajiv Sharma