The mantra of American meditation expert Bill Harris is, “Let whatever happens be okay.”
Harris was specifically talking about the process of meditation, which can at times lead to tremendous inner peace. It can also put a person to sleep or even result in temporary discomfort. When meditating, any outcome is fine, though we may need some guidance in understanding our experiences.
“Letting whatever happens be okay” can also bring peace to other aspects of our lives. There is so much that we have no control over. Two years ago, who would have expected the changes that have resulted from the Covid-19 pandemic? Today, we are experiencing global conflict, inflation, climate disruption and mass migration. Watching the daily news, regardless of who is reporting, tends to be a disheartening experience.
I don’t believe that “Let whatever happens be okay” means that we should not care about these problems or that we shouldn’t do what we can to resolve them. We never control the outcomes of our efforts; we only influence them. We set goals, follow the principles we believe are important, choose our attitudes, words and actions, and things have a way of turning out as they are meant to.
As a human being, I believe that my purpose on earth is to use the gifts that I have been given to make the world a better and kinder place. My talents are primarily those of an educator. I therefore conclude that the best way for me to achieve this goal is to model these ideals for others, draw out their talents, and hopefully inspire them to use their gifts to make a better and kinder world as well.
My best hope for building this kind of world is to embrace life-giving principles. These are universal and they have been a part of every successful human civilization. In fact, not embracing them historically leads a civilization toward its own demise.
Among these principles is a love for all humanity, recognizing that I too am a significant and gifted part of that humanity. I accept that I don’t know the answers to all of life’s mysteries, but I constantly seek truth with humility. Of course, accomplishing anything takes hard work and persistent effort.
If my goal is to make the world better, I will achieve it, even if many my efforts do not turn out as I’d planned. It is also important for me to recognize that I have no control over the choices others make, or even the way people perceive me. I also have no control over the impact of my efforts. I only control whether I put forth my best effort, and that is okay.
Looking back on life experiences, I recognize mistakes I’ve made, along with their unforeseen consequences. If I can say that I made the best choice possible with what I knew at the time, or even if I look back and say, “That was clearly an error,” I have gained wisdom. If I can accept this with humility and a sense of responsibility, I can still do much good.
Each person is unique, and each society is different, yet these principles do not vary. Each of us is a gift to the world, yet none of us has a complete understanding of what is needed to overcome our difficulties. We need to respect each other, and we need to listen to one another with humility and wisdom.
The challenges we are facing in the world today are not new. Selfish and cruel despots have always been present. The vast majority of people are very good, and as long as we remain true to our principles, we will make it through these difficult times.
We know what to do and we have the courage to persist. Whatever happens really will be okay.
Gerry Chidiac is a Prince George writer.