We all write our own narratives.

Have you ever wondered why some people are able to experience extreme tragedy but they deal with it in such an amazing way? The tragedy and grief does not seem to define them?

In The Book of Joy The Dalai Lama writes of his five decades in exile. Think about that – that’s 50 years that he spent separated from his country, his people, the things that he most loved.

Yet, instead of being bitter he looked at it with a different perspective. A perspective that would help us learn how to live a life of joy.

“If you look at life from one angle, you feel, oh how bad, how sad. But if you look from another angel at that same tragedy, that same event, you see that it gives me new opportunities. So, it’s wonderful. That’s the main reason that I’m not sad and morose. There’s a Tibetan saying: ‘Wherever you have friends that’s your country, and wherever you receive love, that’s your home.’

As we grow in our spiritual lives, whether it is as a Buddhist or a Christian or any other tradition, you are able to accept anything that happens to you. You accept it not as the result of your being sinful, that you are blameworthy because of what has happened – it’s part of the warp and woof of life. It’s going to happen whether you like it or not. There are going to be frustrations in life. The question is not: How do I escape? It is: How can I use this as something positive?”

There are so many times we want to escape the pain and situations of life that are less than ideal.

We find ourselves thinking, “If only this wasn’t my current reality.”

When we focus on thinking that way, we end up spiraling ourselves in a downward movement that does nothing positive for us except cause us to focus on the negatives we are experiencing.

If we change the way we examine those situations, it changes everything for us.

“What can I learn from this situation?”

Or – if the situation is at the expense of someone else, then ask, “What is it that he/she is going through that would cause them to act this way or treat me this way?”

So often our disagreements and severed relationships could be resolved if we would just take a little while to look at things from the eyes of the other person. Not to focus just on “what they are doing to us” but instead, think about their context and why they are acting in the manner they do. If we will focus on those thoughts, we will find ourselves viewing our own pain and tragedies much differently.

When we do this we transmit what could be negative into good.

Psalm 86The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm

86 1-7 Bend an ear, God; answer me.
I’m one miserable wretch!
Keep me safe—haven’t I lived a good life?
Help your servant—I’m depending on you!
You’re my God; have mercy on me.
I count on you from morning to night.
Give your servant a happy life;
I put myself in your hands!
You’re well-known as good and forgiving,
bighearted to all who ask for help.
Pay attention, God, to my prayer;
bend down and listen to my cry for help.
Every time I’m in trouble I call on you,
confident that you’ll answer.

8-10 There’s no one quite like you among the gods, O Lord,
and nothing to compare with your works.
All the nations you made are on their way,
ready to give honor to you, O Lord,
Ready to put your beauty on display,
parading your greatness,
And the great things you do—
God, you’re the one, there’s no one but you!