Those who have read many of my words know that I often talk about accepting what is. It’s the Zen idea of accepting reality (what is). In so doing, life gets easier. And one more time let me quote Buddha: “It is your resistance to what is (reality) that causes your suffering.”
We resist the way someone else is, and get upset by their actions or inactions, their words or deeds. Just when I think I have learned this lesson, I seem to come face-to-face with a new test, often resulting in some form of suffering. Someday, I am going to “get it.”
If every time you touch a hot stove, you burn your finger, eventually, if you have any intelligence at all, you will learn to stop touching hot stoves. The idea is to learn through love and wisdom, not through pain.
And if the base premise of accepting what is were not difficult enough to deal with, there is a lot more to the concept that I do not normally communicate. Accepting what is, is a matter of living in reality -- not in a world of assumptions, interpretations, judgments or conclusions.
To live in reality allows you to become aware of what you want and don’t want. You would no longer get together with friends out of any feeling of obligation -- only because you would truly enjoy the time shared. You would not allow what someone else thinks to keep you doing what you are drawn to do.
In her book, “If The Buddha Got Stuck,” Charlotte Kasl, Ph.D. says, “When we live in reality we simply hear what people are saying without adding or subtracting any interpretations or meanings. We take note of those nagging feelings that say, ‘don’t do it,’ or the bright feelings that say, ‘why not, it could be a great adventure.’ If someone is harming us, we don’t make up excuses or reasons; we see the harm. Conversely, we also are open to the incredible care, beauty, kindness, and love that is all around us.
“Being in reality helps us make wise decisions about jobs, relationships and lifestyle changes, as well as all the little decisions that pepper our lives. We feel an internal resonator instead of a critic and censor. Rather than being confused by thoughts such as, ‘I don’t deserve something so good,’ or ‘What will my parents think?’ we ask ‘Is this job realistic for me, does it fit with my relationships, my goals, desired lifestyle?’ It feels much simpler.”
Living in reality is also a positive force for loving relationships. Krishnamurti says that when we look at each other without the barriers and screens of our prejudices we come into true communion with each other -- heart, mind, and spirit.
If you want something new to happen in your life, look at life without the filters and accept what really is. Kasl says, “You can ignite the spark of fresh ideas and aliveness within your body when you step out of the shadow of the past. You take off a veil of tired old reactions and patterns and step into the reality of the moment. It might be to see unhappiness; it might be to see a new possibility or realize someone cares about you. It will definitely broaden your view and free you to experience awe and wonder at this incredible universe.”
Good things can have bad outcomes. Bad things can have good outcomes. Rather than panicking or rejoicing, wait and see.
When a man won the lottery, his wife decided her share of the windfall provided the money to leave him and start anew. Although the man was devastated, he ended up finding the love of his life and he and his first wife both had the means to be comfortable and happy.
A corporate officer attained a major promotion and a big raise, but her new responsibilities gave her ulcers and gray hair. She quit and decided money did not bring happiness. She's now a counselor to inner-city youth and feels no regrets.
Twelve years ago, a man contracted a severe form of arthritis. He was in bed for a year, but the disease strengthened his immune system and he recovered. Although he has been HIV-positive for ten years, his strong immune system has protected him from any T-cell decrease or the onset of AIDS. He is alive and loving life.
A woman who had a car accident met her husband while recovering in the hospital.
After spending most of his adult life working as an electronic specialist for a major corporation, a man lost his job when the company closed down. He moved to Prescott, Arizona and started a home-security alarm business. Today he makes a lot more money and prefers his life in the quiet, mountain town.
Don’t try to second-guess the Universe. Things often happen because they are destined to happen--to get us from here to there, so we can resolve our karma and fulfill our dharma--our earthly purpose.