ACCEPT LIFE ON ITS OWN TERMS
By Rev. Saundra Washington D.D.
Those living on the highest levels of life have learned to accept life on its own terms. There are some realities about life that we must accept. This is the key to living joyfully in communion with the heavenly while abiding here on earth.
Life, no matter how we choose to look at it, is a challenge. It is the beginning of a struggle that continues until we breathe our last breath. Life is something that we did not request. None of us asked to be born. Neither did we ask to be poor, or Black, tall or short. We did not ask to be a part of one family as opposed to another.
Life is full of risks. There is a certain element of risk taking that is inherent in every venture we undertake; whether it is in business, or in marriage, in a profession or in athletics. We never have complete security within ourselves. For we know that every moment we live, our lives are in constant danger. A stray bullet may hit us, a car emerging out of nowhere may crush us, and a slip of the foot may result in our death. So life is unpredictable. We get no warning, we are afforded no red alert, and we get no second chance at life.
And we might as well face the fact that our life is a dying life. As soon as we are born, we begin to die and every day we manage to somehow survive, we have only gained another step towards our grave. Each morning when we wake up from a refreshing sleep, we have died a little during the night. As we go through the streets of the city, we are dying a little. As we go about our business on the job, we are dying a little. In essence, we are living in the land of the dying.
It will help you to accept life on its own terms rather than struggle against it. Identify and move from the limiting and conflicting, "either/or, "black or white, "all or nothing", illusory perception of life to an attitude that is open to all aspects of reality. We do this by accepting life on its own terms - accepting that pleasure and pain, happiness and unhappiness are all a natural part of the human experience.
Fighting against life's realities and adopting a stance of negativism only create unnecessary pain and difficulty in your life. Accepting life allows you to understand your frustrations, grow from them and experience life's abundance.
You have heard people who make comments such as "I go with the flow." What they are saying is this: I accept in life what I cannot change. I deal with it as it comes within the framework of my own knowledge and capabilities and spirit. When inner negatives are dissolved, our outer life will be more harmonious and fulfilled.
Understanding life helps you make the unconscious conscious; to see your misguided beliefs and negativity clearly, to understand their roots and causes, and most importantly - to transform them. A complete path, it offers a practical, rational, honest, and above all, gentle and self-accepting way to move from an attitude of you versus the world to one of you and the world; from you versus life to you and life.
Fundamental to accepting life is to give recognition to the supreme life-giver. Whenever we praise God or give God recognition and acknowledgement, it is for life. Whenever we give God a spiritual applaud or standing ovation, it is for life. Think about it - Life. God has given us life, something so tremendous, potent, and marvelous that no scholar has ever been smart enough to detail its composition or understand from where it derives its sustaining energy. Life - a force so complex that it cannot be duplicated. And, most amazing and thrilling of all, He has given us minds! It is through our minds, the thoughts we think with it, and the impressions we store in it, that we are conscious of living. In short, your life becomes just what your mind makes it for you and just what it tells you life is.
Few people go deep enough within their soul to realize in its entire fullness, breadth and scope the amazing gift of life that enables them to pursue a lifetime of accomplishment. What a marvelous gift. What power! God has endowed us with the power to think, to believe, to create, to imagine, to choose, to feel, to aspire. Having a wonderful sense of appreciation puts all our petty complaints and frustrations, irritants and negativity into perspective. You live on a realm beyond grudges, ingratitude, selfishness and take-for grant-ed-ness. You enjoy and value each moment and are determined to get the best out of every second.
Don't forget that God is a living energy to quicken, increase, and guide our own energy. The Infinite Power Source is a living elixir to lift up, sustain, and establish our own spirit. Being negative takes the spirit out of you. What is the point of God increasing your spirit while you at the same time decrease it with negatives? If you refuse God's gift of an abundant life, then you must do without it.
Our minds, which thinks so ceaselessly and insistently, is the most marvelous instrument imaginable; but it is up to us to control it and to choose the kind of thoughts we think, to train ourselves in appreciating all flowers that come into our life, and deal with the weeds.
Yes, we must come to terms with the silent and perennial truth that the field of human life will always consist of the good, the bad and the ugly coexisting together. We all experience the good in our lives, but intertwined with the good is the bad and the ugly. Finding the ugly and unpleasant mixed in with the wheat is an everyday experience and each of us has to deal with the inherent difficulties involved.
But lest we become arrogant, we also understand that not only do we live with and intermingle with both the wheat and the thistles but they exist within each of us. Collectively and individually, we are capable of heart-touching kindness towards one another as well as heartbreaking evil. We are capable of building up and capable of tearing down, capable of great love and capable of seething hatred, capable of horrendous evil as well as remarkable good.
When you are able to appreciate life and accept it on its own terms, you harmonize your mind with God's mind; with the universal intelligence, power and glory.
Every day lift yourself up in your own mind, mood, imagination, sheer inner conviction. Everyday, give praise to the author of life and glory in its wonders. Every day do something with a sense of freedom and spontaneity, something you have wanted to do or felt you should do, but have shirked because life is not going the way you want it. Every day try to do something to make life pleasant for someone else for no other reason than the joy experienced from it. Then watch as these active, happy, positive inner states increase and grow, to bless you and transform you, to bless and transform the world!
About The Author
Rev. Saundra L. Washington is an ordained clergywoman, social worker and Founder of AMEN Ministries, www.clergyservices4u.org. She is also the author of two coffee table books: Room Beneath the Snow, Poems that Preach and Negative Disturbances, Homilies that Teach.