March 6, 2020
How many of us have read and memorized this brief prayer? Be it God, Buddha, the universe or simply to ourselves that we repeat the words. They are important. Twenty-six simple words with the power to change our lives.
I suspect many people respond to this poem like so many other things in their lives. A “That’s nice, I should follow it, now what’s for lunch?” attitude.
A quick look at what’s going on in the world today. Today–March 6, 2020. The Coronavirus dominates the world’s headlines. Are you a Bernie supporter, a Biden supporter or a Trump supporter? There’s plenty to consider in politics and plenty more people willing to tell you what to consider. The market falls a thousand points, rises a thousand points, falls a thousand points and people fret. A real estate person told me this morning they’d lost a deal an hour before it was to be finalized, on a one-point-three-million-dollar home. Fear of the market she said. If I could afford a $1,300.000 home, I might worry about that too. Thank goodness for being independently poor. Millions of people around the world are fleeing slaughter, starvation and murderous political corruption. Climate change may very well make the other issues moot. What can one do to change the world? Alone, probably very little.
I watch far too much news. I have my political leaning, but it doesn’t really matter if I lean left or right. There are more than sufficient numbers on TV willing to tell me to hate the other side. I say with some grain of truth that I wouldn’t care if the world went to hell in a hand basket if I didn’t have children and grandchildren. I mostly mean it when I say I like animals more than people. My dogs Louie and Denni have never called me a nasty name and they both seek nothing more than an occasional pat on the head. They don’t worry about what they can’t change.
Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. Enough said about those issues. The courage to change those I can. I can’t change the big ones, but I can help change them. I can participate. I can do my part. We all can do our parts. Give me the wisdom to know the difference. When I stop and think about it, I know the difference. An example you say. I can’t elect the next President. I can support and vote for who I want to win. Not a big deal, not a flash of secret wisdom. It’s a simple fact. But how many hours have I, have others, spent discussing, arguing, watching news reports, cursed, ruminated, fretted, debated, speculated and worried about who will be the next President? When I look at Louie and Denni, they seem to ignore the world chaos and be content with a soft place to sleep and a hope that they get a bite of our next pizza.
Buddhists speak of a mindful practice in life. To pay attention. It’s a simple way of practicing the serenity prayer. Maybe turning off the TV at the news hour (which we all know is now twenty-four hours a day). A simple mindful thing – walking out the front door and taking a stroll. There are millions of desert poppies blooming today, a testy Cactus Wren warning me to stay away from its hidden nest. Brilliant warm sun and a beautiful warm sky. There are thousands of books to read, music to hear and dances to dance. There are far more good things to concentrate on than bad news.
I’ve written my own Serenity Prayer.
Whoever is listening, grant me the power to not be dumb. To change my ways when I’m being dumb. To stop and listen to the wise voice telling me to keep my mouth shut and my ears open. Most importantly, grant me the ability to put my dumbness in a box, tape it shut, leave it packed away and to realize the difference between truth and bullshit. (Note to self, repeat often.)
Go well, David