It’s so easy to complain about current circumstances. We do it all the time. Perhaps not verbally, but certainly in our minds.
“Why did he say that? What was she thinking? Oh no, not that again!”
With each upset we’re basically saying to the world, “I’m not happy, and this is why!”
Life will always present us with situations, many of which we will think of as bad or painful.
But there is a way out.
A beautiful, thoughtful phrase coined by Thai monk Ajahn Sumedho reads, “Right now, it’s like this.”
This is both a liberating and transcendent concept. Sure, someone may have done something very unkind. A situation may not be ideal. But those are the facts. As we read in A Course in Miracles, “No one can be angry at a fact. It is always an interpretation that gives rise to negative emotions.” (M-17.4)
Right now, it’s like this is saying, literally, this is the situation. It doesn’t feel good. In fact, it feels downright awful. But it’s just a moment in time, and I am free to give this situation any meaning I’d like. If I want to stew in my ego for a bit, that’s fine. But at some point, I’d like to come out of it and experience peace. I’d like to grow on my path toward awakening, not remain stuck in the throes of disappointment or fear.
Everything in this world is impermanent. Every person. Every atom. Every situation. We can embrace the ephemeral, momentariness of things by recognizing that conditions will continually arise and cease, arise and cease.
By returning to our mind and becoming the observer of situations, we transmute into the one who notices rather than the one who is taken over by conditions. This is what the course refers to as the holy instant. This is the miracle. And this is the way to peace.
Every experience can become one of learning and growth instead of judgment. These powerful lines from the course help make it clear: “The past held no mistakes; nothing that did not serve to benefit the world, as well as him to whom it seemed to happen. Perhaps it was not understood at the time.” (M-4.VIII.1)
So the next time we find ourselves in a situation that is unpleasant, we can silently contemplate that phrase: Right now, it’s like this. And then with much gentleness to ourselves and the world around us, we say “no thank you” to the ego and allow a different perspective to flow through us. We’ve now become an extension of love, and the peace that we emanate is extraordinary.
Join me in Thursday’s Zoom discussion where we’ll explore these concepts in greater depth, including how we can practice recognizing and embracing the tenuousness of each moment and transform them into holy instants of joy. I look forward to seeing you then.