Seven Steps to Serenity


Mercedes-LealBy Mercedes Leal

Many years ago, I asked my mother why I had to share my sweets among whatever numbers of children were present, when they hardly ever returned the favour.  My saintly, gracious mum replied that other people should never dictate my standards, nor should anyone else ever hold control of my moods and feelings. It set a standard for life. When she added that sharing with others multiplied my happiness by the number of people enjoying my largesse, it made sense.


I realised that karma is not necessarily linear. It often comes indirectly, although reciprocity should never be the reason for carrying out a good deed.

As a youngster, I applied these principles, doing my best to maintain consistency. At first, it rankled that someone, on whom I had showered extreme generosity of time and attention, would not be there for me in my time of need. If I gave in to the ego’s need for a return, I felt let down and inconsolably miserable. However, being a lazy teenager, I discovered pretty quickly that when I let go of expectation, disappointing situations often resolved without interference.

Often, that gap of need filled up before I had to wave a white flag of desperation. Sometimes the perceived problem just melted. I realised that karma is not necessarily linear. It often comes indirectly, although reciprocity should never be the reason for carrying out a good deed.  In loving the world and its people, there is no pay it ‘forward’. One just pays it gladly, whenever possible, and yes – in our family – there were many, genuinely free lunches.

Additionally, one very liberating lesson was that a gift should be what it says: a gift. The moment you hand it over, ownership should cease. So, if you see your cashmere shawl – which dented your birthday present budget  – lining the recipient’s dog basket, so be it!

If you have reciprocal attachment to your gifts, they cease to be gifts and become barters.

Letting go of expectation is not always easy, but it can make a mammoth difference to your happiness, as do releasing judgement and assumptions.  ‘Awareness’ should be your alarm bell, ringing when intuition is tugging at your hems, like a toddler, in need of urgent attention and whom you ignore it at your peril. As uncomfortable feelings arise, like those of suspicious division, when facing a different culture, race or religion, it helps to see the child in that stranger. That helps to avoid a return to possibly stereotypical programming and learnt discomfort about different cultures. Who can turn away from a child? Beneath the surface, we are all still children of different ages, needing love, care, time, attention and validation of our innate gifts.

What has helped me to find daily joy, whatever the circumstances, were:

  1. Knowing here is no such thing as ‘normal’, when we work from love. We just give our best, without judgement, measure or expectation of reciprocity. Other people should not dictate your ‘normal’.
  2. Understanding how the ‘system’ works.  Advertising will instil a need, or deficiency, in you before it can sell to you.  You will be told by very subtle hypnosis, through media articles, television and radio ‘programming’, that you are too thin, too fat, too unhealthy; or you are too weak, too short, too stupid, too something. A sense of lack and inferiority are what media giants seek to instil, because they wish you to know that they have the (often expensive) answer to your problem.
  3. I lost the obsession to be perfect.  Loving the shape you have, as well as the seemingly less than perfect people in your life, will add new light to your spirit. Everything and everyone is only on loan and you never know when those loans will be called up. Make time and appreciation matter.
  4. Prolonged support of others.  This is enhancing to the immune system and is an eliminator of depression and stress; the occasional gesture is not enough. The effort should be sustained, in order for both parties to build an enriched, nourishing bond; however, this is different from being a doormat to selfish people.
  5. Choosing to live in the world of consciousness, rather than the world of the material. You comprise over 50 trillion cells of super-intelligence, beavering away to keep you well, even when you sleep. This is the same intelligence that guides tadpoles to become frogs, and seedlings to become giant oaks. It will also guide you to your divine purpose, when you learn how to connect consciously to the same Source.
  6. Feeling the power of silence, even if you do not meditate.
  7. Believing that daily Joy is your right, not merely a privilege. You can upgrade your life at any time.