“God grant me the serenity to accept that which I cannot change, courage to change that which I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Those few words express a directive which can guide me to a habit of living which is essential to a content and fulfilling recovery. The things ‘I cannot change’ in a nutshell are my past and other people. When I give up trying to play God in these areas, my life becomes serenely simple. Dwelling in past glories or past transgressions removes me from the beauty of now. Focusing on a future which is as unpredictable as a capricious mistress leads me away from the truth of the present.
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
Those ancient words from Jewish wisdom tell me to stop! Stop thinking, stop worrying, stop striving, stop planning, stop conniving, stop judging, stop trying to be God! That quiet space which then occurs between my thoughts is a God-space. That moment when nothing is in my mind is a moment when God holds the floor of conversation. When I am able to “be still”, the presence of a higher power has the opportunity to clean me up and fix my brokenness. This is not Larry power; no, it is wisdom which the ancient mystics have shared in scriptural narratives for centuries. It is not a recently discovered new age philosophy, but rather a way of living life in the present moment which has been practiced in contemplation, reflection, and meditation by followers of all the major religions.
But, it is not easy. It requires one of the mental disciples which, unfortunately, Western culture does not value. For me to find a noiseless place, a still woods, a meandering stream, a lush meadow, a seaside beach or just a sunny window by a quiet recliner chair is sometimes a daunting task. The society in which I participate is geared to continual visual and auditory assaults from a variety of sources. Five minutes alone with my HP can be a daily challenge.
“We live in a time with more easily available obstacles to presence than any other period in history. We carry our obstacles in our pockets now, vibrating and notifying and emoji-ing us about everything and nothing. And let’s be honest: most of our digital and personal conversation is about nothing. Nothing that matters, nothing that lasts, nothing that’s real. We think and talk about the same things again and again, like a broken record. Pretty soon we realize we’ve frittered away years of our life, and it is the only life we have.” Father Richard Rohr