Everyone is expecting us to be our best and fast! Our self-worth is often determined by how much we do. And this, often results in the need to control reality. We are scared to imagine a life that does not go ‘our’ way. Uncertainty of future deeply distresses us. Surrender is a very scary thing for a generation that can track their footsteps, location, courier-packages, and so on. When things do not go as expected, planned or desired, we struggle deeply. This resistance or non-acceptance is marked by physical as well as psychological sense of contraction: shrunk body language, suppressed breathing, dysfunctional digestive system, hormonal imbalances, anxiety and so on. In fact, most of us judge ourselves for not doing or being enough and start looking at life as a problem to be solved. We even create unconscious defense mechanisms to escape, avoid or suppress our unpleasant thoughts and emotions. An extreme expression of resistance to life is: suicide. It says: my life is not how I want it to be, I cannot accept it, I quit.
Acceptance is the fundamental law of life. It is vital to accept that some situations will not be in our control, wherein we can only control how we respond. It is important to let go of the illusion of control and certainty and redefine self-empowerment. You can play the game of life gracefully only if you accept that somethings will be out of your control. Extraordinarily, when we accept the reality, slowly life seems to become a part of our team. We act within the frame of our influence and let go of the rest. Our surrender expresses itself as a sense of trust in life outside as well as inside. This nourishes our self-connectedness and harmony with the world. We do not feel defensive or offensive so easily, for we don’t feel threatened by life anymore. This means that life is no more of a problem to be solved. Life becomes a sequence of events to be witnessed, co-created and experienced. There is no room for blame for we are in a position of active responsibility. Joseph Campbell said, “participate joyfully in the sorrows of life,” recognizing that life contains challenges and we must embrace the experience by living affirmatively.
What is the major challenge in developing an attitude of acceptance towards life? Habit. We all carry habitual patterns which have become our automatic responses to life-events. Since these are unconscious, we often do not see our own role in creating our suffering. As a result, we feel powerless in the equation of life. One of our unconscious habits is overthinking. Our mind keeps telling us un/related stories about everything all-day long. These mind-stories are full of uninvestigated fears, unverified assumptions, repetitive conditioned biases and unnecessary associative-thinking. And, before we know, we become trapped in our mind-stories like an ant inside an upturned glass, confusing the glass to be the real world. How does it feel? Restless, suffocated, tiring, limiting, compulsive and unfree. This isolate us from the immediate physical, three-dimensional experience of living life. We lose our light-heartedness, spontaneity and playfulness.
If you relate with what I shared above, I invite you to pen down your thoughts and emotions. This simple exercise will help you witness your thoughts. You are not your thoughts and emotions. Your thoughts are not facts. If you start believing in your thoughts, it abbreviates the experience of life into a heavy psychological cloud. Pause. Take a deep breath. Just right now in this very moment, tune-into your senses, what do you hear? What do you see? What do you smell? Look at your hands. Be here now. Everything is alright in this moment. Mindfulness is an awareness practice which helps us become aware of our unconscious habits of suffering. It trains our awareness to play the game of life moment by moment, wholeheartedly, fearlessly and playfully.
Charnita Arora is a Delhi-based Mindfulness Expert, Holistic Wellbeing Coach and the Author of Mindfulness for Beginners in Plain English. She is also the founder of Perfect Life Spot, an institute of holistic wellbeing. Her youtube channel offers free wellbeing videos.
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