“One person walks out their front door, and notices a brilliant morning sky. They stop for a moment, take it all in and feel joy. The next-door neighbor, preoccupied with the day ahead, sees the same sky as he walks out the door but it has no or little effect. Same sky, different experience.
One person has a vacation planned at the ocean, and the day of their departure their flight is delayed for several hours because of a weather situation in the city where they are making a connection. They are disappointed, frustrated and stressed and the entire day is a nightmare. Another vacationing passenger on the same flight rolls with the punches and gets started on a new book that brought with them to read while on vacation. Same dilemma; different experience.
Consider that in your moments of pleasure or pain you will inevitably find that it is not in the thing itself that is pleasant or painful, but the situation of which it is a part, namely the relationship between the person and the thing of pleasure or pain. And the essence of it is acceptance. If it is acceptable, it is pleasant. If it is not acceptable, it is painful. Acceptance is the decisive factor. When it comes to difficulty or hardship, not denial of pain, or shrinking back from pain, or hiding pain, or theologizing or spiritualizing pain, but acceptance, which will look different in every situation.
Joy, peace, and freedom are not about pursuing pleasure and shunning pain. Accept both as they come, enjoy both while they last, let them go as they must. Even in hardship, acceptance of pain, non-resistance, courage and endurance – these open deep and abiding source of real happiness and true joy.”
– Jim Palmer, Notes from (Over) the Edge