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"The Wisdom to Know the Difference is about being able to change. . . . What is important is that we can make a change and transform ourselves into better, happier people." (His Holiness the Dalai Lama)
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can change; and wisdom to know the difference.
Millions of people have been moved by these famous last lines from the Serenity Prayer to make important and lasting changes in their lives. But how exactly can we know the difference? How can we acknowledge the real limits that we face without negating the possibility for dramatic change? In this wise book, Eileen Flanagan guides readers in determining what they can-or perhaps should- change in their lives, accepting what they cannot, and discovering the "wisdom to know the difference."
Drawing on her own Quaker faith as well as a range of other religious and spiritual traditions, Flanagan shows readers how such practices as sifting through culturally preconceived notions and listening to our own inner voice can help us determine when a change is needed in our lives or when instead acceptance is the answer.
This illuminating book takes the reader by the hand to discover the serenity that comes when one has gained the wisdom to know the difference.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.10(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.15(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Eileen Flanagan, a writer and public speaker, is the author of the Silver Nautilus Book Award–winning books, Renewable: One Woman’s Search for Simplicity, Faithfulness, and Hope and The Wisdom to Know the Difference: When to Make a Change—and When to Let Go, which was endorsed by the Dalai Lama. She lives in Philadelphia, where she works as a leader of the Earth Quaker Action Team.
What People are Saying About This
"Eileen Flanagan's delightful book is a source of wisdom and encouragement to which you'll return again and again. Blessing and inspiration await on every page."--(Brent Bill, Quaker minister and author Sacred Compass: The Way of Spiritual Discernment)
"The Wisdom to Know the Difference is about being able to change. We human beings are basically the same, wherever we come from, and despite the small physical differences in the shape of our noses, the color of our hair and so on. We are the same because we all have the same potential to undergo both positive and negative experiences. What's more, we also have the same potential to transform ourselves and our attitudes. What is important is that we can make a change and transform ourselves into better, happier people."--(His Holiness the Dalai Lama)
"We've all heard these famous lines 'grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, and the courage to change the things I can' but we rarely hear how to find the wisdom to know and act on the difference. Until now. This beautiful book weaves together fascinating stories and timeless wisdom from across spiritual traditions to create a practical map for all of us to navigate this very question."--(Diana Winston, Director of Mindfulness Education, UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center, and author of Wide Awake: A Buddhist Guide for Teens)
"Full of wisdom and everyday stories that become parables in Flanagan's hands.'"--(Phyllis Tickle, author of The Divine Hours and The Great Emergence)
"In The Wisdom to Know the Difference Eileen Flanagan effortlessly weaves the wisdom of the ordinary people she has met on her path with the extraordinary wisdom of many spiritual teachers into a rich tapestry. I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking spiritual wisdom."--(Karen Casey, Ph.D. author of Each Day A New Beginning)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
At the end of May 2011, I read a post by Eileen Flanagan, looking for book reviewers. While writing book reviews was a new idea for me, reading books certainly was not! I replied to Eileen and a couple of weeks later the book arrived in my mail. The act itself was spur of the moment, and I spent the next few weeks furtively looking at this book, about this prayer that was not one of my favourites!! I must have been crazy to volunteer for this task! Toward the end of June 2011, I ventured into Eileen's world, and began to learn a little more about this prayer, and how it has impacted a number of lives, Eileen does not simply go out into the world, ask people if they know the prayer, then ask their opinion of it. Rather, Eileen's choice of people to write about, are clearly a small sampling of a much larger group interviewed for this book.We learn about these individuals, their life stories, and how the emotions of The Serenity Prayer have played out in their lives. One of Eileen's literary devices is that throughout the book, some of these main characters reappear. It is not just a matter of them being introduced and described to us, but, at key intervals throughout the text, Eileen brings them back by reminding us of their stories, and how their stories continue to evolve - with The Serenity Prayer continuing to play an important role. In some cases, the individuals themselves are not necessarily aware they are living out the prayer. And that is one of my favourite portions of the book. People, who live according to their own values and characteristics, yet can be an example to me, the reader, of the impact of this powerful prayer. Eileen Flanagan has a knack of writing that I find particularly appealing - repetition. Now, don't get me wrong, I do not mean simply stating the same thing over and over. What I mean is gently, without boredom, Eileen imprints key points for the reader. Making her points stronger over time, but in each telling and sharing, being done in new and informative ways. One of my favourite Christian writers - Ronald Rolheiser - has this same story-telling knack. Gentle - soft - peaceful. Bringing the reader to an "Ah-Ha" moment with skill and dexterity, without being the least bit repetitive or tedious. It is a tremendous way to learn new concepts and thought processes. Through the reference to other Christian authorities, Eileen brings additional credibility to her own research, and a familiarity to her writings. The Serenity Prayer holds some big words: serenity, courage, wisdom. Eileen starts by narrowing down these words, to smaller, everyday expressions, phrases, and examples; and concludes the book by bringing them all together in the amazing words of the prayer itself. My journey with this prayer, with this book, "The Wisdom to Know the Difference", has been a very personal one, and this is not the place for review of my prayer journey. But, this is the place for a review of this book. And my opinion to you is that your own prayer journey will not be complete without spending some time with The Serenity Prayer, and definitely some significant time with Eileen Flanagan's book: "The Wisdom to Know the Difference - When to Make a Change - and When to Let Go".