Perfect Resignation

Thomas Jefferson once wisely observed that:

The most fortunate of us, in our journey through life, frequently meet with calamities and misfortunes which may greatly afflict us; and, to fortify our minds against the attacks of these calamities and misfortunes should be one of the principal studies and endeavors of our lives.

As was befitting a man of his caliber, he didn’t stop there. Instead, he went on to suggest the means by which this could be accomplished:

The only method of doing this is to assume a perfect resignation to the Divine will, to consider that whatever does happen, must happen; and that, by our uneasiness, we cannot prevent the blow before it does fall, but we may add to its force after it has fallen.

While I am not so sure that I agree with Mr. Jefferson’s fatalistic interpretation of Divine will, I do believe that a perfect resignation to Divine will is necessary and in fact sufficient to overcome in a fractured world. In my view, this “perfect resignation” brings about a state of constant radiance, one that is undimmed by calamity or misfortune and one that, if you will allow me to weave my interpretation into Mr. Jefferson’s original statement:

…may enable us in some measure to surmount the difficulties thrown in our way; to bear up with a tolerable degree of patience under the burden of life; and to proceed with a pious and unshaken resignation, till we arrive at our journey’s end, when we may deliver up our trust into the hands of Him who gave it, and receive such reward as to him shall seem proportioned to our merit.

10 thoughts on “Perfect Resignation

  • In a fractured world, it is very hard for any of us to come through this life unscathed. What is represented here by yourself and a wise man who lived many years ago, is a precious key to not only survival but to overcoming the often unforeseen obstacles that we need to hurdle. It takes courage, patience, abiding faith and trust, to “let go to” and let “thy will” and not my will be done. I can say from experience that under extreme duress and pressure, allowing this to occur lifts one above the clouds of the circumstance. This begins to lighten the load, and allows a perspective that brings rest, a sense of peace within the storm and at times, solutions that would never have been obvious down in the mire. We cannot know the gifts in store for us if we are not willing to proceed with a ” pious and unshaken resignation” to Divine Will. In this state, we can all become harmonious one with the other, and maybe the larger calamities relative to our broken world may begin to subside and our world may heal. I do find myself under pressure, trying to fight this control, but this post reminds me that my goal in this life is to assist in returning that which was taken back to its original owner. One divine choice at a time. Thanks!

  • I think the theme of your blog, it’s purposeful trajectory of onward and upward, is one to remember in those times of dismay. We are designed for resiliency but I believe it is like a muscle; use it or lose it! Learning how to navigate the small issues graciously and to be consistently radiant through them can train your response to handle the bigger challenges that usually befall us all. It seems to be as with most virtues they are gifted to us in seed form; we must nurture them to grow. I’m thoroughly enjoying the Jefferson quotes; no surprise there!

  • Resigning to Divine will doesn’t mean that everything that happens is a result of Divine will. However, resigning to Divine will does mean that regardless of what happens as a result of human will, that we will have the greatest opportunity to reflect the Divine in that circumstance.

  • Graciousness is indeed available to us in every circumstance, I appreciated your addition to Mr. Jefferson’s musings. Thank you Gregg.

  • Having any other attitude than perfect resignation to Divine will is like a child sulking while throwing a tantrum. Just like a small child would be in no position to judge a parent’s decisions, what we see as misfortune might not necessarily be such; really we have no way to know the full circumstance. It is better to take the constant attitude of doing your absolute best with what you have. In that way there is no need to judge circumstance.

  • The concept of resignation may seem rather passive or acquiescent to some, but I believe the resignation described here involves the strong and noble ability to yield to what is true, beautiful and right regardless of the distorted effects that may confront us in various ways. We are never rightly yielding to the circumstance, neither are we resisting or fighting it, but there is great transformative power in remaining open and receptive to the perfection of the Divine impulse.

  • I am intrigued to consider more what divine will actually is from your very fine post. Thoughts that come to mind regard living in the spirit of one’s highest and best. That divine will is always streaming its volitions of healing, constructive integrative wonderful creating and radiance from the core of love. As these realizations come more into my awareness it is compelling to really want to be resigned to divine will. What more could we ever ask for that is already been and is being given to us. Your posts are an indeed an invitation to receive the tremendous gifts of the will of the divine giving all of us the opportunity to invite our world to so do so. This is fulfillment and the realization of the pursuit of happiness.

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