SeashellWhen you get upset or angry, or when you experience pain and suffering, it is only because you want something different from what life has given you. Learn to accept what is. It is only from that preliminary recognition that you can improve anything.

I read a story years ago about a man who was an inspiration to one much younger than himself for his calmness and wisdom. The younger one once asked him his secret. For his reply, the other showed him a small, very fragile sea shell.

“This is my secret,” he said. He then explained:

“I used to be very wealthy. Then I lost everything in the stock market crash of 1929. I decided the only solution was to commit suicide. I packed my family off on a vacation, and then rented a small cabin by the ocean. My plan was to walk out into the water until the waves took me.

“I began walking out, but my plan was thwarted repeatedly by strong waves that beat me back to shore. The last time I fell, beaten down by a wave, I saw this little shell swirling close to me. It was completely unbroken. I picked it up. How, I asked myself, was it possible for this fragile thing to go churning safely through the waves when I myself was thrown back by them every time I tried to go forward? The answer was obvious: The sea shell hadn’t resisted the flow! Might this, I reflected, be a lesson pertinent to my own case? Perhaps I’d been resisting the waves of my own destiny!

“I decided from then on that I would live, and that I’d go with the waves instead of resisting them. You see me now: successful again in business, but even more than that, happy and at peace.”

Be a Mental Surfer

Contemplate that last thought, and make it your meditation. Think of life’s circumstances as waves over which you have no direct control. Meditate on the thought of riding them. Don’t fight or resist them. Be a mental surfer, going with the currents of life, but seeking always, as you ride them, to select the best wave, and the best current. You can ride wisely or foolishly, but you can never command the waves to be as you want them to be, or to go where you want them to go. Learn to flow with life, not against it, if you want to win through to freedom.

Start a New Meditation Practice or Inspire Your Current One

The 10-week Ananda Course in Meditation online course is designed to provide in-depth instruction in scientific meditation techniques that bring more peace, deeper relaxation, and focused concentration to every area of your life, regardless of outer conditions.

These techniques are based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi.

Learn more