Sunday, May 30, 2010

Talk Softly

I'm in the middle of reading Cynthia O'Neal, the founder of Friends In Deed's new book, "Talk Softly."  She has this one paragraph that I really loved and wanted to share.  (I'd share the whole book if I could, it's great.)

Many years ago, her husband, the late Patrick O'Neal, went to take the est training with Werner Erhard and Cy was pretty skeptical about his enthusiastic response to it.  But then she went to the training and wrote this about it:

"In hindsight it seems to me that est was simply saying exactly what we have heard from every wise teacher and thinker through the ages.  William James said, 'The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.'  In the Talmud it says, 'We do not see things as they are.  We see things as we are.' Proust said, 'The real voyage of discovery consists in not seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.'  Sophocles said, "The greatest griefs are those we cause ourselves.'  Agnes Repplier said, 'It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.'  Voltaire said, ' Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her. But once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.' Hazrat Inayat Khan said, 'Life is what it is, you cannot change it, but you can change yourself.' Shakespeare said, 'There is nothing either bad nor good, but thinking makes it so.' In short, the whole thing is an inside job."

I find that paragraph sums up so much of what I've been learning these past few years in my Buddhist readings, in Alanon, in therapy, at Friends In Deed - all of it - and I think that it's such a simple concept that most of us struggle with throughout our lives.  And when we give up the struggle and just accept it, it makes life so much easier.  It's hard not to slide back once in awhile, especially when life is handing you some serious challenges, but it really does work when you remember that it is all ultimately: "an inside job." There's no one to blame, there's only the work of accepting "what is" and looking at the lessons that you can learn from it. 

1 comment:

Zen Mama said...

I just love how you read and share all these great passages. It's like you're doing the reading for me. You are a constant source of inspiration for me!