Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Just Two Words

There once was a monastery that was very strict. Following a vow of silence, no one was allowed to speak at all. But there was one exception to this rule. Every ten years, the monks were permitted to speak just two words. 

After spending his first ten years at the monastery, one monk went to see the master. "It has been ten years," said the master. "What are the two words you would like to utter?"

"Bed... hard..." said the monk. "I see," replied the master.

Ten years later, the monk returned to the master's office. "It has been ten more years," said the master. "What are the two words you would like to speak?"

"Food... stinks..." said the monk. "I see," replied the master.

Yet another ten years passed and the monk once again met with the master who asked, "What are your two words now, after these ten years?"

"I... quit!" said the monk. "Well, I can see why," replied the master. "All you ever do is complain."

Some people drift through life never learning anything at all. At times life may seem to be a difficult journey and some people master it better than others. One may wonder if they have particular talents, or more luck than others, but their secret is quite simple. One's circumstances are only a frame that holds the canvas, but each of makes a more or less conscious decision about the painting that appears before us.

Many people live in a state of denial and self-deception. They either refuse to accept what is, or create a distorted vision of their own situation.

The very first step to happiness, however, is to accept what is. This does not mean that one has to resign oneself to one's circumstances. But by simply accepting the reality for what it is, we are able to make some changes.

By accepting that things are the way they are we simply open our minds to new possibilities. Acceptance helps reduce resistance to change and liberates inner potential for growth.

We might not always like where we are or even hate everything that our lives may have become. But acceptance is necessary if we want to change our condition: I am in a mess and unless I do something about it, I am destined to fall even deeper. Unless this shift in our minds happens, nothing will ever change.

This is a good starting point. The bed is hard and one may not like it at all and not even be able to do much about it this very moment, but instead of wasting time on contemplating how bad things are, one should shift the attention to one's own potential.

Instead of repeating over and over that "Life sucks" one should say "I accept". But waiting for another ten years makes no sense at all. So why not say "Change now" and work towards a better, more fulfilled life.

By Dominique Allmon ©2011

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Image source unknown but greatly appreciated