Peace begins with a smile. — Mother Teresa
If someone hits you, will you consider it a blessing? Jain monks and lay people strive to live the ideal of complete imperturbability. The underlying feeling is one of “whatever happens today, I accept it with calm serenity. I am at peace with the world.” This feeling of equal-mindedness views all situations and events with forbearance and evenness-mindedness. Equanimity is the aim regardless of the situation. It’s akin to the notion of spiritual surrender.
The Jains tell a story: If a house burns, instead of lamenting the woman inside it remarks, “With no roof to obstruct the view I can now see the stars.” The perspective is one of looking for the good in the worst and most painful situation. If someone loses her temper and you become the target of harsh words and insults, the wise ones advise us to disregard the cruel words and not take them to heart. But they take it farther and suggest we not get angry when beaten and to even refrain from hurtful thoughts. Rely on patience and endure with peace in the heart. They suggest the ideal attitude should be, “If I am hurt, it could be worse. I could have lost my life.”
Can you imagine many people taking this path? What if we did? What if when someone spoke sharply we responded calmly without harsh words in return? What if when someone insulted us instead we reacted with a quiet outpouring of love rather than the usual stream of returned insults? This would radically and profoundly transform our world right now!
Imagine a world where even a small percentage of people act with conscious self-control — where instead of reacting, people hold fast to their inner peace and remain anchored there even through the hurtful and hateful insults. What a revolution! For today, will you make that imagined dream your conscious reality? Become part of that peaceful revolution.
Debra Moffitt is author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life. A visionary and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices at the Sophia Institute and other venues in the U.S. and Europe. Her mind/body/spirit articles, essays and stories appear in publications around the globe and were broadcast by BBC World Services Radio. She has spent over fifteen years practicing meditation, working with dreams and doing spiritual practices. Visit her online at http://www.debramoffitt.com and http://www.awakeintheworld.com.