Sister Jacqueline Russell

Sister Jacqueline Russell


When I am relaxed and not feeling threatened, it is likely that I will feel naturally positive, hopeful and cheerful.  Stress is not so much to do with external situations as it is to do with my response to the situations.

When I realise how much my thoughts affect my feelings, I can take this understanding a step further and accept that I can have control over my thinking.  My thoughts respond to stimuli from my senses.  What if I make space between what I see, hear, feel, say, and read, to allow me to accept the situation and choose thoughts that will influence how I respond.

This is a spiritual practice, to accept what is in front of me, choose how to respond, and to move forward.

However, to be able to do this it is helpful for me to have a stock of “thought resources” – to understand how to bring the various qualities that are useful in interactions into play as well as a faith and trust in my ability to manage my thinking.

When we think about acceptance, reflect on it and practise it, we begin to understand how it can be used as a spiritual power.  Not to see situations as obstacles but to see them as test papers in the school of life, brings a feeling of lightness of heart and I am more likely to see the task optimistically and more clearly.

The intention is to change my thinking from thoughts that disturb me to ones that make me feel hopeful and good and for all the cells of my body to feel that way too.  When I focus on positive and encouraging thoughts, I am automatically reducing my tendency to think negative ones and this feeling of wellbeing not only helps me make clear decisions, but it even strengthens my immune system.  I feel stronger inside and out.

Included in the power of acceptance is the acceptance of myself, as I am, without judgement or defamation.  I can take power from the belief in myself when I understand and honour the spiritual within me.  These inner spiritual resources allow me to experience how my thoughts affect my feelings and enable me to maintain an attitude of calmness, with positivity.  However, this does need conscious attention and reinforcement.  We do know, however, that to respond to any situation with a calm state of mind is more likely to reveal solutions and a way to move forward.  Whilst it may take time to get it right there is real benefit in the practice.

Enquiries regarding the City of Greater Dandenong Interfaith Network: or 8774 7662.