People find it hard to give up attachments to outcomes: “My partner should do X when I arrive home”, “If I present X report to my manager, I should earn a promotion”, “I am always on time to meet my friend, so she should not be late to my event.”
This is particularly true when people feel they are being threatened, or when things are not going the way they perceived them. In these situations, many of us become defensive and react. It’s natural. A fight or flight response. A “need to control” response.
Unfortunately, the likelihood of a resolution diminishes as the conflict and response are repeated over time. You know those circling disagreements you get into with your spouse? The ones you’ve discussed a million times, but the behaviour and outcome never seem to change? This kind of charged, emotional reactivity can often be a cover for underlying cumulative resentment of something or someone else.
Before there is understanding or resolution, there has to be acceptance. Acceptance of our situation; our present circumstances. Acceptance of ourselves as we are, and the people around us as they are. This is where humility comes in. Without adopting some level of realistic humility, we cannot move forward.
Often there is resistance to acceptance. People feel that if they do so, they will lose control. They feel this means they have “lost” or been defeated in some way. This belief has been ingrained into us by our competitive, “winner takes all” society. The truth, however, is on the contrary. Acceptance is the beginning, not the end – and it starts from within.
You are not your thoughts. This is what meditation shows us. A pretty soothing realisation, right? You do not have to identify with, or be a slave to, your thoughts. Meditation is the vessel to this kind of freedom.
If I am upset about someone or some situation, it is because I believe that person or that situation should be different. I can let my thoughts run wild and speculate about how things “should” be better; obsessing over how to fix things or why they got there in the first place; reliving the past and rehearsing the future. I can dwell on how I believe things should be or how people should change. But what’s happened here? I am out of present moment awareness. I am disconnected from what really IS.
By being in the present, we are able to witness our thinking: our speculations, accusations, prejudices and resentments. We can allow ourselves to be in the “now” and know that everything is exactly as it is meant to be. We can let ourselves and others off the hook: “I made mistakes and others made mistakes. This is what happened at that moment in time. Now what?”
Nothing in this world happens by mistake. The real lesson begins with acceptance of what IS.
If we are disappointed with our situation or our life as it is, it is because we expect it to be different. To have an expectation is to have an appointment with disappointment. When we allow ourselves to live in expectation, we never allow ourselves to see what actually is.
Letting go and accepting our situation is the key to advancement. It gives us a new path to view life from. It gives us the opportunity to forge forward, be creative and solve ideas.
The secret? Choose to see through these eyes: alive and enthusiastic about what will come.
– Angela L Braun