Hi wa kiyurédomo tô-shin wa hiyédzu.

Translates: “Though the flame be put out, the wick remains.” ~Patrick Lafcadio Hearn. In Ghostly Japan. 2004. p. 173. Print.

Although the passions may be temporarily overcome, their sources remain. We must overcome desires every day, for mankind is an imperfect being who strives to attain perfection. It is not always wrong to desire, but true strength and resolve belongs to those who can rise above basic human instinct; thus they achieve enlightenment.

The Serenity Prayer

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

~Reinhold Niebuhr

I have always felt that ideals cross the boundaries of traditional religions. Themes from this prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr, a Neo-Orthodox theologian, span across many differing religious sects. These words have inspired people of varied backgrounds and belief systems.

Too many people waste precious time quibbling (and worse) over differences in belief, when in reality there are far more similarities. Its the similarities which are significant, not the minor differences. From Buddhism to Christianity, ideas of who we are, what our purpose is and how we should behave are strikingly similar.

Many insist their method of worship alone will bring salvation. There is no way to prove any one way is better than another. Just because one person meditates while another receives Communion doesn’t condemn one to an afterlife in hell and the other a pass into heaven. Live and let live. Forcing a system of belief on people does not make believers; rather it seeks to manipulate and coerce the weak willed.

This moment is all there is; if we allow it to pass by we will never have it again. Seek to connect with others in your limited time; be amazed at how two beings, each comprised of a completely unique arrangement of trillions of cells, can have such similar ideology and belief.

Accept that some things are beyond your control; Find the will to change not only the world around you, but yourself; and finally, search your conscience for guidance, recognizing which decisions are moral and which are out of your reach.