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Just For Today

 What do we really need to be happy today?

 What do we really need to find peace in day-to-day life?

All too often, we tend to blame outer circumstances for not allowing us to be happy or for failing to provide what we need for peace. We blame other people, we blame the weather, we blame the media. But, unfortunately, pointing the finger of blame anywhere "out there" is nothing more than self-deception which impedes the discovery of the inner wonders of true happiness and enduring peace which are to be found deep within the calm, pure depths of your own loving heart.

The incessant chatter of the mind is an attractive nuisance which obscures the calm and peace of our own true nature. The most troublesome situations often arise when we begin to pay too much attention to that chatter and begin to mistakenly believe that our thoughts about "me" and "mine" describe who we are. Our thoughts are not who we are. Our thoughts about "me" and "mine", "who I am" and "what I need", are merely a cover, a veil, over the inner beauty which is our true nature.

The undisciplined mind often portrays life as an onslaught of menacing trials and tribulation all impinging upon "me", while the same events, when viewed from a calmer, quieter perspective, stripped of all undue concern about "me", become a playful panorama of opportunities and wonders unfolding with miraculous grace.

True happiness and enduring peace are not brought to us through external circumstances, but rather, they will only arise when one is calm enough, still enough, quiet enough to become aware of that "still small voice" within, the Spirit of guidance, the voice of Divine Presence which is ever-present throughout this magnificent journey of life.

In order to be calm enough, still enough, quiet enough, we need to overcome our attachment to the incessant chattering of the undisciplined mind. To do so, we need to find some useful tools to help us rise above the undisciplined chattering which can so easily obscure the Divine Presence and lead us toward unfortunate symptoms such as jealousy, anger, guilt or discouragement. Selfless service, meditation and prayer are all a very useful tools. But the success of these tools  relies upon the active presence of positive thoughts and worthy ideals. So, ensuring an adequate daily diet of positive thoughts and worthy ideals is essential in order to find the peace and happiness which are our birthright and which are our true nature.

The subconscious mind is continually, and powerfully, striving to bring into fruition anything that we focus our attention upon. If we focus our attention on thoughts such as failure or guilt or unhappiness, then the subconscious mind helps to bring those things into our life. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to spend some time every day immersed in uplifting activities such as reading scripture, musing over inspirational poetry, listening to uplifting music, or contemplating the wonders of nature. If we fail to feed positive thoughts to the subconscious mind, it may feed itself in other ways which bring great suffering.

Recently a dear friend gave me a bookmark that she picked up at an Al-Anon gathering, because she knows how much I enjoy these sorts of things. I've been delighted with this simple, yet powerful, list of positive thoughts and worthy ideals which any of us can employ to help to overcome our habitual falling prey to the incessant chatter of our own mind... that chatter which separates us from lasting peace and enduring happiness.

Al-Anon is founded on the same twelve-step method which has proven so useful in Alcoholics Anonymous, and even though such programs are most popular in overcoming substance abuse, these positive thoughts and worthy ideals are exactly what we all need to overcome our own addiction to the whims and foolishness of the undisciplined mind. With sincere intention, these simple practices can help to put an end to the incessant chattering of the undisciplined mind, and allow some light to shine on the path toward lasting happiness and enduring peace.

The following is a copy of the text from that little bookmark. May these  thoughts and ideals be a blessing in your life, helping day-by-day to focus the vast energy of the mind toward worthy ideals!

just for today

Just for today I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle all my problems at once. I can do something for twelve hours that would appall me if I felt that I had to keep it up for a lifetime.

Just for today I will be happy. This assumes to be true what Abraham Lincoln said, that "Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be."

Just for today I will adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my "luck" as it comes, and fit myself to it.

Just for today I will try to strengthen my mind. I will study. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.

Just for today I will exercise my soul in three ways: I will do somebody a good turn, and not get found out; if anybody knows of it, it will not count. I will do at least two things I don't want to do - just for exercise. I will not show anyone that my feelings are hurt; they may be hurt, but today I will not show it.

Just for today I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress becomingly, keep my voice low, be courteous, criticize not one bit. I won't find fault with anything, nor try to improve or regulate anybody but myself.

Just for today I will have a program. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it. I will save myself from two pests: hurry and indecision.

Just for today I will have a quiet half hour all by myself and relax. During this half hour, sometime, I will try to get a better perspective of my life.

Just for today I will be unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and to believe that as I give to the world, so the world will give to me.


Lord make me an instrument of Thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.

0, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


        Click here for a PDF version of "Just For Today"

Note: The "Just For Today" thoughts are from a bookmark produced by:

Al-Anon Family Group
Headquarters, Inc.
1600 Corporate Landing Parkway
Virginia Beach, VA 23454-5617
Phone: (757) 563-1600 Fax: (757) 563-1655


posted December 05, 2008