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Between Accepting And Fighting
Some reflections from our Awakin Circle today on Marc Lesser's post on the juggle between accepting circumstances and fighting for change:
In response to Ifeoma's request for articulation, here are some words to the flowchart above ...
I love the Serenity prayer that invites us to find the "serenity to accept things I can't change, courage to change what I can, and wisdom to know the difference." In practice, though, we can ignore the service we are called to and start fighting for things that aren't ours to change. It's hard to find that "wisdom" in each moment.
When we accept circumstances, we might just be acting lazy and escaping. Or we might just lose all ground and become a punching bag for others to grow in negativity. In between those, how might we find the sweet spot of responding with equanimity and poise? Strong back, but a soft heart.
Similarly, when we are fighting for change, it can be a reaction to our internal frustration, anger and impatience. Still, in anger, there is a meaningful element of dissatifaction; if we can see that everyone is continually on a pathway of that dissatisfaction, it can lead to compassion. If it isn't in a wholesome proportion, though, it can lead to self righteousness and a downward spiral of hating the other person or world view. In between those, how might we find the sweet spot of responding to dissatisfaction but with compassion? Strong back, but a soft heart.
When acceptance with equanimity comes together with a heart of compassion, an act of service naturally blossoms.
Given our imperfect perception, though, even our acts of service can be easily hijacked by the devious manipulations of the ego. We can start to think that we are special, right, and gifted; we get greedy for change to happen on our timeline; we want to get credit for what we do. As insurance around this tendency, it helps to remember that we are not serving to help or fix others, but rather to transform ourselves through the process of performing that small act of kindness. Then, we are effortlessly grateful that we *get* to give, and we trust in grace to deliver the outcomes as conditions ripen.
Such service at the intersection of equanimity and compassion yields a quiet kind of inner transformation that dismantles the tools of our ego. Less of me and more of we.
That field of "we" profoundly expands our capcity to serve. Because we are no longer burdening our ego with the responsibility of fixing the world, we are free to serve more. Because we are no longer sneakily transactional, our shallow bonds with others mushroom into noble friendship and afford us the resiliency to bounce back from setbacks. Because we want nothing in return, the winds of nature flow through our hollow flute to play a glorious song we never get to hear -- because we are It.
By finding the equanimity embedded in acceptance, and the compassion embedded in transformation, love is made visible. We then serve for our inner transformation, or through our very existence.