With acceptance there can only be inner peace and happiness

No one can make you unhappy or disturb your inner peace unless you allow them to!    
We often end up blaming others for the way we feel about the situations we are in. For instance, you order a coffee at a café and it arrives lukewarm. You tell the waiter to replace the coffee. He refuses. And you get angry. Till you arrived at the café and ordered that coffee you were in fine spirits. But that experience leaves you fuming. A friend who sees you stomping out of the café seeks to know the reason for your lousy mood. And you blame the café and the waiter. Now, while they may have served you bad coffee, the truth is you served yourself the lousy mood. Think about it – did the coffee or the waiter cause your unhappiness and anger or was it your expectation that the coffee be hot and the waiter be polite that caused you to lose your cool? The coffee arrived the way it did. The waiter behaved the way he did. You had an expectation that was different from reality. And so you were upset. In all situations in Life, if you choose to remain unruffled, no one can make you upset or angry, and no one can make you unhappy.
Happiness is always accepting, and loving, what is. In the example above, happiness meant accepting the coffee the way it came and accepting the waiter for the idiot that he is. This does not mean that you should not object to the poor service. Of course you can and you must. But don’t lose your equilibrium, your sense of happiness and inner peace, over someone else’s behavior. In fact, on a daily basis you can use the hundreds of provocations that Life throws at you, to train yourself to accept what is, the way it is and to be peaceful and happy. Someone cutting across the road as you drive, an irksome fellow passenger on a plane, a nasty auto-rickshaw or taxi driver, a shopper who elbows past you at the check-out late in a store, your rebellious teenager at home – each of these interactions offers you an opportunity to learn to be happy despite the circumstance, despite the provocation. Currently, you are succumbing to the provocation. You are responding with anger because you are questioning why someone is behaving the way he or she is. But if you let them be and if you agree that you are not going to lose your balance, your cool, you will find that you can be both peaceful and happy – all the time!
Responding to Life peacefully is a lot more sensible than reacting to Life. Reacting comes with impulse. Responding requires reflection. When you reflect over every event in your Life, even if it’s just for a moment, and then respond, you are giving yourself the chance to first accept your reality and then frame your action. And wherever there’s acceptance, instead of resistance, there can only be inner peace and happiness.

The three ‘R’s of Intelligent Living

Intelligent living has to be learnt – just the way you learn to speak a new language, with consistent practice.

Many people ask me if there are methods to live intelligently. They want to know if there are models they can study and learn to live their lives better. And my response to them is that living means to simply, totally, live – with whatever you have, with things, people and events, just the way they are! But oftentimes people are not convinced. They prefer complex treatises to simple approaches to live. They don’t get it when they are told that Life – and living – are not at all complicated.
Even so, here are some simple, universally appealing tenets, the three ‘R’s, that anyone, including those who look for methods and models, can embrace in order to practice intelligent living.
Reflection: This is a very important quality we must all develop. As we grow through Life, our responsibilities and challenges only increase. Most of the time we are leading hectic lives in the material realm. We are all the time in the earning-a-living mode. Every once in a while, we must pause and ask ourselves if we are earning-a-living or are we living – the Life we want to live? This is what reflection can help you achieve. Reflection happens when you pause running the rat race. Any practice of meditation can help you with reflection. But a quick disclaimer is important here – reflection is a deeply personal and intense exercise. You cannot borrow a practice from someone else. You have to try many and choose what works for you.
Resilience: Most of us are afraid of what awaits us – the unknown – when we are faced with Life’s challenges. A quality we all are capable of summoning is our inner strength, our resilience. And this quality will come to the fore only through reflection. Being resilient means to know that no matter what the circumstances are, you must face Life. It means that you don’t have the choice to cop out or run away from a challenging situation. It is our lack of awareness that makes us imagine that we are not resilient. All of us are equally strong – that’s the way we are created and engineered. To let your resilience – your inner strength – surface, you need to be more aware of your true Self and that can come only through reflection.
Resourcefulness: We are so steeped in our wants that we are hardly aware of what we have. Through perpetually wanting things or people or events to be different from what they are, we are missing out on what is. When you are deeply reflective, when you are totally aware of your true Self, your inner strength will let you see every situation you are in clearly. Through this clarity, you will learn to accept what is and learn to live and work with what you have. Resourcefulness is the ability to know what you have and to be content with it, while never giving up your efforts to overcome the odds, overachieve and win!
These three ‘R’s are the baby steps to learning to live intelligently. You can adapt these three perspectives to suit your lifestyle and preferences. When you begin with reflection, you will feel different. And that feeling will egg you onward, on the spiritual path, one day at a time. Intelligent living is a necessity more than a practice. But it is an art too – that can be learnt and mastered. When you live intelligently, you learn to live in this world – with its manic demands, pressures, pulls and pace – and yet be above it!