Calm & Peaceful

path to human happiness

Christmas is an almost universal Season of celebration, aligned also within the festivities of most cultures. Christmas itself is the celebration of the birth of one who gave His life in the name of love, justice, forgiveness, and peace.

I have recalled the following story previously, but it returns to my thoughts as we continue to live under the shadow of the COVID pandemic.  Several years ago, at this time of the year I visited the country of Laos where Don, my husband, was involved in a fund- raising mission. Rich with magnificent scenery, and gentle, welcoming and generous people, Laos is understood to be the poorest country in the world.

In its capital, Vientiane, there was no pre-Christmas rush. Lao is not a Christian culture. However, there were other celebratory events taking place for the country’s National Day.

Joyful activities had kept the city vital and alive until the resounding music stopped abruptly at 11 p.m. But the revellers continued at a considerate pace, well into the following day. Making our way through the crowd as we wandered about, my attention was drawn to a scene of absolute contrast.

In the middle of the road, slowly and laboriously weaving her way through the crowd, came a frail, elderly woman pushing an old wooden cart. This, her means of transport, was piled high with possessions including many discarded plastic containers of all varieties – and a very small boy. It was explained to us that she collected articles for re-cycling – and even on this festive holiday she needed to continue her work.

As this woman crossed a rough patch in the road, the cart lost balance, tipping the contents – and the little boy – helter-skelter. Our instinct was to assist as it seemed tragic for her tiring efforts to be so hindered. But instinct also told us that assistance was inappropriate as, perhaps with Buddhist acceptance, little by little she reassembled the load.

This woman acted calmly. She was uncomplaining and independent. She was not embarrassed but remained dignified, simply doing what she had to do with patience and persistence and living with existential patience by just calmly continuing her task. For her, there was no pressure, no rushing and absolutely no urgency. Even the onlookers, including ourselves remained quiet and respectfully observant within a scene so different from what would surely have been happening at this celebratory time of the year in our streets back home.

That contrasting event radiated serenity, simplicity, and contentment.

All great spiritual leaders have taught their followers ways of life by which to live well. These teachings involve the virtues of love … justice … forgiveness … peace and ultimately, human happiness. It seems we have each been given a particular role in life, a path to follow despite any discomforts that role may present.  So as part of our festivities..

 …let’s look to each day with the gift of serenity leading to positive action. Let’s enjoy those busy times with ease and immerse ourselves in the happy times that follow. Let’s live each day similarly, regardless of what it may bring…

There may be challenges or conflicts to address and resolve. There may be things we can do to assist others and indeed, to preserve our beautiful world. There may be New Year resolutions to make – and keep! And there may be fresh, exciting avenues to joyfully explore. Such as these and more will happen. It is how we live them that makes the difference to our life and human happiness.