A mom wrote to me: As a Buddhist practitioner, I remind myself again and again that the only thing I have control over is my own mind, and in turn my actions. The sooner one can accept this fundamental truth the sooner one can begin to experience inner peace because we aren’t constantly worrying about trying to control others’ actions, moods, choices. What we can do is generate love and compassion for those who are suffering and pray for them.
My reaction: When I was a child, my dad used to tell me, “You gotta make something happen, Dearie.” I grew up believing that if something went wrong in my life, it was my fault because I didn’t make something happen and, therefore, wasn’t in control of the outcome. Today, I think I misunderstood my dad’s words. He wasn’t telling me that I had to control all the events in my world, but rather that I needed to be in control of my own thoughts and actions. He wanted me to make decisions that would lead to a productive and action-oriented life.
Today’s Promise to consider: As much I as want to control the events in my life, today I accept that I am powerless over anyone other than myself. This starts with my thinking, my intentions and my behavior. As the mom writes, “I can control only my own mind and in turn my actions…and begin to experience inner peace.”1694