The child would read the small prayer every day, the young mind trying to understand the meaning of the word serenity. He had come across this prayer, written on a piece of paper while rummaging through his grandfather’s desk drawers.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things, I cannot change.
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.”
It took him half a lifetime of ups and downs, broken dreams, disappointments, and heartbreaks to completely understand the true meaning of this wonderful prayer.
When his dreams and plans lay broken at his feet, he realized that he did not learn the wisdom to know the difference.
But it is never too late to learn the difference between things which are in your control and things which are not.
A great deal of time is wasted in planning and trying to achieve things according to our way. We forget that there is a greater plan, (most of the time it clashes with what you have planned.)
The young man decided to take this up as a mantra through his journey of life. He wished he had learned it earlier in his life, but he had to go through his foolish, senseless, and absurd youthful days to come out wiser. (Wish youth brought wisdom with it, imagine yourself, young, beautiful, and wise, an exceedingly rare combination, though)
It took me two long years to shed that extra weight, to feel healthy, and to get back my self-esteem. Two years of struggle in which I repeatedly failed as I fell back into the dungeon (the dark place of potato crisps, pizzas, and all the good things)
My plans repeatedly failed, and I complained about not losing even an inch. It seemed nearly impossible that I would ever fit back into my old jeans.
My trainer (more patient than me) sternly told me to work hard and trust the process. The process of working out, sweat, and grime! Well, I did and now after two years, I wonder why I was so impatient. It had taken years to put on all the chubby cuteness so could I have expected to go away overnight?
I was trying to control the process, sticking rigidly to my plans, thinking whatever I had planned for myself is as good as it gets. I was so wrong! I was living in scarcity not opening to the possibilities of something bigger, bolder, better. No one puts it better than Einstein, “Insanity is trying the same thing and expecting different results.”
You will not see those six-pack abs, after a week of healthy living and a couple of workouts. You can start seeing the change after weeks of concerted efforts.
Now I understand why gyms have the before and after pictures displayed on the walls. To make us realize that the process requires patience and perseverance.
Leave Room For Shortcomings, We’re Only Humans!
I learnt to forgive myself for my momentary lapse of purpose or poor judgment, but I also decided not to make it a norm. Failure is evident then. If we slip, if our passion and commitment wanes, the outcome of the process will surely be negative (you reap what you sow)
A cheat meal is just that, a cheat meal, not a habit. Do not fool yourself into believing otherwise. A forest takes years to grow from newly planted saplings. The process demands your trust and fearless patience. And of course, your best attempts.
I have learnt it the hard way, tasks undone, not up to the standards or deliberately forgetting to address a task, it comes back to bite me. The process demands that we do not lower our standards. The outcome will be what we feed it.
Intentions have to do with how you want to be in your journey of life; goals have to do with what you would like to accomplish. Understand the difference between intentions and goals and you will find your relationship with trust maturing.
You must learn to trust that life is ever-changing and that the mixture of what is pleasant and what is unpleasant, constantly shifts. This is the process of your journey, everchanging yet dependable.
Let us see this scenario; you are asked by your friend how your newly started business is getting along. You say, you are trusting the process yet deep in you there is a nagging feeling, Shouldn’t I be seeing results now? If trusting the process works, then, would not it be different by now? Things should have changed for the better, shouldn’t they?
These questions, these inner critics are bashing you, you put in your absolute best and wait. Isn’t that what trusting the process is all about?
Fear Goes Away By Facing It, Not By Waiting It Out
People wait to feel the absence of fear before trusting the process. That is what they end up doing, waiting, and waiting…. resisting from taking any actions.
Do not wait for the fear to go away before trusting the process, it will not instantly, do not wait to feel right, you are only trying to control the process. Put your trust in it without fear and worry about the outcome.
Fear of the Unknown
What is this fear of? It is the fear of THE UNKNOWN
The child stood shivering by the side of the pool, refusing to jump in. “I am scared!” is what she kept repeating. What did she fear? She was too young to know what drowning was, she just knew the fear of the unknown. It is this fear of the unknown which prevents us from trusting the process. We need to be fearless to trust. Gather that courage deep in you to wait and trust the process.
Most of us deal with unskillful fears as parents, friends, siblings.
The unskillful fear that anything wrong could happen anytime. As parents, you fear for your children, the unknown fear which nags you all the time. The fear you feel when you send off your children to school and a movie starts playing in your mind. It conjures up images of the worst possible that could happen to your children.
You keep worrying when they go to their parties, to their friend’s birthdays, the fear of the unknown in all its unskilled beauty raises its head and you make life miserable for your children. (Poor souls!)
You believe anything can happen in the next moment. You are not putting your trust in the process of life; you are trying to control the changes in your life.
Not a good idea, spending your life in the grip of a fear of the unknown, waiting for the worst to happen.
Living in constant fear and trying to control your life, trying to change it according to what you have planned.
Here, you are not trusting the process. It is fear which is hindering the smooth natural process of life by complicating matters.
Skillful fear is the flip side of the coin.
Buddhism believes in watching your fears, getting closer to them, and finding pure things like love and patience underneath that fear.
Do not let fear build up a doom’s day scenario for you, study your fear carefully, and try to redirect your energies into something more creative and beautiful like love and kindness. Use your fear as a tool to uncover better feelings that lie underneath.
I remember a camping trip with my friends, in the mountains. Late into the night, with all my friends deep in slumber, I sat up, my eardrums resonating with my fast-paced heartbeats. I felt fear, deep fear. I thought of the dark gloomy woods around me, the silence cutting through me, sharply. I was fearful of the jungle animals, I shivered with fear at every small twig crackling.
Then I decided to study this fear of the unknown closely. What was I being fearful of? The deer, the rabbits, and all those animals around? Or maybe was it a cannibalistic creature that has a remarkable resemblance to the one from Wrong Turn? It was the latter if you’re wondering!
I was in a beautiful camping spot close to the river, and the woods were lovely. Why was I imagining things which did not exist? I am an animal lover and an activist. Why would the creatures of the wild scare me?
So, I got to know my fear up close and felt deep within me my love for animals and nature. Do not use this fear as a defense, use it skillfully and you will unearth beautiful and productive feelings.
To trust the process, you need to not let go of fear but to practice skillful fear, no matter what your fears may be. Letting go of fear completely is not possible, but you can look at it skillfully and deal with your fears with a mind aware of the process.
Mindfulness is being sold to us and we are buying it. It is a fad, and everybody is joining the bandwagon. Little do we know that mindfulness is the crux of Buddhism.
Being mindful of the present, it is not something that you can learn in a day or a few classes. Sit cross-legged, be mindful of the present, get rid of all other thoughts…. easier said than done!
Mindfulness therapy is growing in popularity, it is said to release our stress and make us happy in the present. Here we come to an important point, Buddhist meditation was not designed to make us happier but to change our sense of self and how we perceive the world to be.
Today, mindfulness has been separated from its roots and away from its spiritual connotations, it is sold to us like a therapeutic pill. Being mindful is being in the present. Accepting that “This is it.”
This is it; this is the present and this is all that matters now. We must learn to surrender and drop all fears and questions. To stop the judgment. Life is now, this present moment. In the present moment, you are in alignment with the source of life. Surrendering to the now is one of the most powerful practices to know your true self without name or form.
Surrender to what is in the tiny segment called now
Without fear and judgment, if you surrender yourself to the now, you ultimately start to trust the process. Throttle back, let go of prejudices and fears and be in the moment. And the process will continue, leading you to what is meant to be.
Trusting the process is not about hanging up your boots and waiting for nature to bestow you with whatever you desire. To work hard with patience and perseverance without lapsing, and then trusting in the process, the key to a more mindful existence.
This giant wheel of time and fate will continue turning, spinning along with it our lives, our fates, pasts, and futures. It is not something we can control. It is not for us to ask why. It is for us to do our best and leave the rest to that energy which controls the process.
Trusting the process is freeing ourselves of unwanted chains of worries and judgments. Surrendering to the present, being mindful of the present. It is when you truly surrender, that you become internally free of all the external circumstances and you become aligned with the now, with the present.
Surrender does not mean giving in, it is acceptance of what is now and let the process follow its course, without any judgment or reservations. Allow the thoughts, emotions of the now, to be, and then let them go.
You are being aware and letting those thoughts and emotions be, but that does not mean you cannot take action to bring about positive change. Surrender is equally compatible with action. Stop asking, “Why is this happening to me?’ no matter how small, how random, and insignificant it is, all events are interconnected in this universe.
J Krishnamurthy says, “Do you want to know my secret? I don’t mind what happens.” This is that supreme surrender of mind when you let go of self and become one with what is. Inner acceptance of the now makes trusting the process easier. You need to be concerned only with your inner state and the outer will gradually fall in place.
How do I stop stressing and start trusting?
Trust is when you have confidence in someone or something. Trust whatever life has to offer you and feel safe in your relationship with life.
When you make up your mind to trust the process, the first step is to let go of your worries and stresses.
No matter how much you worry over something, things will always unfold according to the great plan.
The trick is to be mindful of the present and be grateful for now.
Go with the flow and feel the positive vibes within you.
How do I embrace the process and trust it?
Here are some tricks to embrace the process.
Embrace whatever comes your way and learn to live in it and if possible, to enjoy it, whether it is good, bad, or ugly.
Relax and release stress preferably through exercise and meditation.
Know exactly what you want, get it clear in your mind, and repeat positive energies with.
Life is good, life loves me.
Learn to enjoy whatever life throws at you, take it in your stride. If life throw lemons at you made the best margarita ever.
How can I let go?
Why would you want to stay with something toxic inside of you? isn’t it better to let go and move on ahead?
Letting go is remarkably simple, provided we make up our minds to let go. Trust and do not panic, no matter how bad things get, you will get through and this too shall pass.
Believe in a higher power controlling things, why would you want to interfere in that? Let go and flow through the process.
Life is a journey, not a destination.
How does being resilient help?
We all are born with the ability to adapt. Resilience in times of adversities is bouncing back when things do not go as planned.
They do not wallow in self-pity or cry over their misfortune for long, they jump right back, acknowledge their situation, learn from their mistakes, and get back into action.
Resilience makes you feel that you have control over your circumstance to a certain limit and that gives you greater satisfaction.
Why is it important to trust the process?
Whether you believe it or not, failure is a good thing. It teaches you that there will be hurdles in your way, you must learn from them and move ahead.
You realize that in the journey of success, every lesson you learn brings you a step closer to your goal.
Life is a journey and it is a process in which your role is to put in your best and be patient, to accept gracefully, and not give up.
The process will lead you to your goal.