Challenges are the driving force of life that causes us to evolve both physically and spiritually. We develop strength and wisdom by moving through the wounded and frightened places within our soul—even more than the places of calm and ease.
As the saying goes, “No mud; no lotus.” The lotus is a metaphor for the pure Essence of Being.
But we don’t have to stir the pot of suffering.
There are more helpful ways of meeting these places of annoyance, frustration and fear. We all have access to the healing touch.
It is my experience that healing does not come until we first accept the hurt, fear or anger without trying to run away or fix it. As we skillfully engage the suffering, accepting that this is the way it is for us now, we walk the path of healing and spiritual growth.
I have found the phrase “This is the way it is for me for now. And it will change” very helpful in helping me move me from fighting the problem, or ignoring it through distractions, into new ways of seeing and acting.
As I repeat this phrase again and again to myself I realize and begin accepting what is. This allows movement towards seeing the situation in a holistic way. Our seeing changes things.
By using this phrase I begin breathing deeply and allowing things to be just as they are. It is such a relief actually. I let go of that huge burden of worrying and trying to figure things out.
And then I begin to see the cosmic joke! After all, things already are just as they are. I’m not the one who allows it. It is already exactly as it is regardless of what I think about it! I’m the one who chooses to acknowledge it, to let it be, or to fight it.
Life doesn’t need our approval—only our acceptance.
Acknowledgment that things are as they are moves us into a place of truth. We take our blinders off. We admit the facts of the situation without deciding whether it’s good or bad.
It just is the way it is.
Things are not right or wrong (except in our view). They simply are the way they are.
And the way things are always leads to the next step. Life never misses a step. It doesn’t leap frog over anything, but evolves gradually, step by step. Whatever we are facing is what we must find a way through.
The way out is in and through. We can’t fly over and avoid what is before us.
It’s our choice whether we will follow the organic, natural flow of life or not.
My experience is that when I use equanimity phrases, such as the one above, I don’t stir the pot of suffering, I begin moving through the situation with more ease and grace.
Acceptance is the way things change and evolve.
Our emotions also need acceptance. Indulging or ignoring our emotions will not help us through our difficulties. Perhaps it may provide temporary relief, but finding healthy ways to experience our emotions is needed for real change.
Emotions need to be felt, but not identified with. It is wise not to act out our negative emotions, as this is definitely stirring the pot of suffering.
When we can stop telling the stories that are connected with strong emotions and instead let them be what they are, we step a bit away from them and can better see them for what they are. Emotions are energy in motion.
Each emotion lasts only a few seconds unless we repeat the story that is connected to it. Our story is just one point of view. There are many, many ways to see things.
Acceptance of our pain and our wounded places is vital. As we listen to ourselves with compassion, giving ourselves love, we note the hurt while knowing this is just a process we are going through—and we will learn much as on this journey.
We are a soul moving through life, learning and gaining wisdom by moving through challenges. It is important to note the courage it takes to do this.
Courage is always within our heart and available to us.
We cannot avoid and short cut our experiences. Distractions only prolong the suffering.
We need to engage with the experience without identifying with it. It is just stuff that happens.
A skilled therapist is an amazing help. We all need professional help from time to time. Perhaps more often than we realize.
Also vital is a practice of mindfulness and meditation.
Acknowledgment of our suffering is not indulgence. Acknowledgment does not include going round and round, stirring up the same memories, facts and conclusions, like a gerbil running on an endless wheel, but not getting anywhere.
Equanimity is an ancient Buddhist practice that leads to acceptance. Below are a few more helpful phrases:
All beings are the owners of their actions, heirs to their action. Their happiness of unhappiness depends upon their action and not upon my wishes.
All beings have their own journey, according to their karma.
Joy and sorrow pass away. This is part of the journey.
Whether I understand it or not, things are unfolding according to their true nature.
These phrases can help only when we use them!
This is my wish for you: “May you choose to accept what life presents you and develop mastery by moving through each challenge with grace and kindness.”