January 7

Today's quotation:

We win half the battle when we make up our minds
to take the world as we find it, including the thorns.

Orison Swett Marden

Today's Meditation:

Thorns are a problem only when we aren't careful of them.  Millions of people handle roses every day without being stuck by thorns, and as long as we're careful we can do the same.  Why do we see the thorn as such a negative part of the rosebush?  If it weren't for the thorns that make animals avoid eating the plants and flowers, we probably never would even have roses.

Life has its thorns, too.  Orison is saying that we need to accept those thorns, fully and unconditionally, as we accept the world just as it is.  Not how we want it to be, and not how we think it's supposed to be--just as it is.  Many parents live under the mistaken assumption that the best thing they can do for their kids, for example, is to remove all the thorns from their lives so that they don't have to face as many problems.  Dealing with the thorns, though, is what helps young people develop problem-solving skills, as well as important personality traits such as character.

One of Orison's key points is to "make up our minds" to accept the world.  This is a decision, and not always the easiest one to make.  In my life there are plenty of thorns right now, especially in financial matters, but they are what they are and no amount of fretting or agonizing will change the fact.  I have to deal with the thorns, and that's okay.  The problems are helping me to learn more about myself and how I deal with adversity, and they're helping me to develop my faith in God and life.  They're there, and while I'm doing my best not to get stuck and hurt by them, I do accept them for what they are.

I don't see life as a battle, but I do see that we often are caught up in battles of our own as we try to find peace, happiness, and balance in our lives.  I believe that if we can accept Orison's advice here, the idea of being at battle will go away and we'll begin to see life as a process of cooperation rather than conflict.  And that all because we decide to accept thorns on the roses, bumps in the road, obstacles in our paths.

Questions to consider:

How do you see thorns--as positive or negative?

What would life be like without the thorns on the roses or on other bushes that have thorns as a form of protection?

Why do many florists cut the thorns off of roses before they sell them?  What message about thorns are they sending when they do?

For further thought:

The happy and efficient people in this world are those
who accept trouble as a normal detail of human life
and resolve to capitalize it when it comes along.

H. Bertram Lewis

  

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