Gerry ChidiacThe mantra of American meditation expert Bill Harris is: “Let whatever happens be okay.”

Harris was talking about the process of meditation, which can lead to tremendous inner peace. It can also put a person to sleep or even result in temporary discomfort. When meditating, any outcome is fine, though we may need some guidance in understanding our experiences.

“Letting whatever happens be okay” can also bring peace to other aspects of our lives. There’s so much that we have no control over. Two years ago, who would have expected the changes that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic? And we’re experiencing global conflict, inflation, climate disruption and mass migration. Watching the daily news, regardless of who’s reporting, tends to be disheartening.

I don’t believe that “Let whatever happens be okay” means that we shouldn’t care about these problems or that we shouldn’t do what we can to resolve them. We never control the outcomes of our efforts; we only influence them. We set goals, follow the principles we believe are important, choose our attitudes, words and actions, and things have a way of turning out as they’re meant to.

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I believe my purpose on Earth is to use the gifts I’ve been given to make the world better and kinder. My talents are primarily those of an educator. So the best way for me to achieve this goal is to model these ideals for others, draw out their talents, and hopefully inspire them to use their gifts to make a better and kinder world as well.

My best hope for building this kind of world is to embrace life-giving principles. These are universal, and they’ve been a part of every successful human civilization. Not embracing them has historically led a civilization toward its demise.

Among these principles is a love for all humanity, recognizing that I’m a significant and gifted part of that humanity. I accept that I don’t know the answers to all life’s mysteries, but I constantly seek truth with humility. Of course, accomplishing anything takes hard work and persistent effort.

If my goal is to make the world better, I will achieve it, even if many of my efforts don’t turn out as I planned. It’s also vital for me to recognize that I have no control over the choices others make or even the way people perceive me. I also have no control over the impact of my efforts. I only control whether I put forth my best effort – and that’s okay.

Looking back on life experiences, I recognize mistakes I’ve made, along with their unforeseen consequences. If I can say I made the best choice possible with what I knew at the time, or even if I look back and say, “That was clearly an error,” I’ve gained wisdom. If I can accept this with humility and a sense of responsibility, I can still do much good.

Each person is unique, and each society is different, yet these principles don’t vary. Each of us is a gift to the world, yet none of us completely understands what’s needed to overcome our difficulties. We need to respect each other and listen to one another with humility and wisdom.

The challenges we face in the world today aren’t new. Selfish and cruel despots have always been present. The vast majority of people are good, and as long as we remain true to our principles, we will make it through these difficult times.

We know what to do and we have the courage to persist. Whatever happens really will be okay.

Roslyn Kunin specializes in languages, genocide studies and works with at-risk students. He is the recipient of an award from the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre for excellence in teaching about the Holocaust. For interview requests, click here.

The opinions expressed by our columnists and contributors are theirs alone and do not inherently or expressly reflect the views of our publication.

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