You are facing North. You want to face South. What do you do?

Obviously, rather than trying to turn the entire world around you, you simply turn yourself around.

Now another puzzle: You want your partner to start acting differently, or you want the weather to be nicer, or your body to look a different way, or you want not to be ill. What do you do? You want things to be a certain way, but they aren't.

Just as it is easier to turn yourself around than to turn the Earth around you, so it is easier to direct your own mind than it is to direct the course of the whole world around you. This is the gift of mindfulness; it is the ability to embrace things just as they are; it is an act of radical acceptance.

This certainly does not mean being passive, doing nothing to work towards a better world, or to stand up to injustice.

However, external events will always be unpredictable, and our control over them can never be relied upon. The only thing we can control is how we direct our attention and intention in the present moment.

Mindfulness is the gift that allows us to see things just as they are, even if they are not how we want them to be, and yet not make our well-being dependent on changing anything. It is understanding without analysis, and acceptance without resignation. 

Look for the opportunity, within those occasions when things are not as you want them, to practice making that inward turning. If you develop this skill, you will stop seeing the world only in terms of how well it meets your wants, and that world, just as it is, is a beautiful world to see.

Ollie Bray