Without acceptance of “this is where I am right now” we cannot move forward.
This is true of any journey we take. We cannot move to a new destination from any place other than where we presently are.
If we are in California and planning a trip to Europe, it won’t help to imagine we can start from New York.
When we wish to make any change, we must start from where we are. This is true physically, as well as psychologically.
True acceptance is a process, and often a very uncomfortable one. There are states through which we must pass. We cannot fly over them.
If there is a feeling of resignation about what has taken place, or a feeling of helplessness or victimhood, we have not gone through all the difficult steps, but tried to skirt our way around them.
Instead we are still really wishing things were different than they are.
This is not acceptance as we are resisting the natural flow of life. We are holding onto our position of seeing life. There is always another way to see things other than our way.
By facing and accepting that this is the way it is for now, the past cannot be changed and only our view of life can be changed, we open to new possibilities. Even science has shown that everything is in motion and change. Thus everything is impermanent.
Acceptance doesn’t mean there is nothing one can do. Resignation means you have to live with it—so suck it up!
The first steps are accepting our thoughts and emotions just as they are, without judging them. Instead we work with them just as they arise. It is truly helpful to know that everything changes. Nothing can last, neither moods nor attitudes. If we stop resisting them they can flow.
But please let us bear in mind that we never need act (and advisably should not) on negative emotions. Just feel them as they reside in our mind and body, noting what thoughts they are tied to, and let them pass away. Everything that arises, passes away.
My practice is to contemplate and listen to the many emotions I feel when there is a loss, I begin to experience more peace.
As I sit in the shadows of anger, fear, sadness, overwhelm, something lightens up. I realize that causes and conditions have brought things to this place. Whatever has happened has happened. I don’t pretend to know the future, but I ask, “What is the next right thing to do? What really feels right?”
And I discover I move on. Life takes on a new arrangement, and this is a new journey for me—an adventure.
I often ask myself what I want. More of the same? Or a more desirable way of living that is more productive and harmonious.
Yes, I fully know that change requires sacrifice. If we wish change we must find ways to release our tight hold on our opinions of what should happen and what others should do.
At first that goes counter intuitive. We may think If we let go nothing will get done. Wrong. Karma is always at work.
What gradually occurs is that we realize our old ways of thinking and being has kept us stuck in unpleasant and hurtful places. What we thought we had to have is no longer. So what next? Nothing? Or something?
At this point I realize the only sensible thing to do is throw myself on the benevolence of the Universe—the very Ground of Being out of which we all have come, and to which we will all return.
For I now have discovered that anger, sadness, bargaining with the universe does not work. It just keeps me on the same old merry-go-round, which isn’t so merry.
When I can truly see this, I let go my tight grip on what I thought life was, and pitch myself into the psychological abyss. I don’t know what is here. I just know what I have been holding onto isn’t bringing hope nor happiness.
I take refuge in the unknown. I let myself fall into it and find out where it takes me.
Just breathing and letting be what already is. It’s a simple practice. It doesn’t require work. Just on what is arising and falling away. This is the movement of life. We can trust it as we become observers who know the universal flow of energy moves all life just where it needs to go.
Equanimity phrases, such as the following, can help us let go our angst and sadness over what has taken place.
“Yes, this is the way it is for now, and it will change.”
“Joy and sorrow arise and pass away. This is part of the journey.”
“May my heart/mind open to this experience with balance and ease.”
Phrases such as these move us into an attitude that accepts that this has occurred and moves us toward new beginnings.
We feel renewed hope that life does know how to proceed. We begin to trust Universal Energy, the very Ground of Being and accept this as our true home.