"Accepting What Is"
Just some of my rambling thoughts on acceptance.. I thought I would share...
As I sit here in the evening thinking about going to work tomorrow, I am worried about what the next day will bring. I feel discomfort, a knot in my stomach. I'm wondering what surprises there will be to greet me and what challenges I will face. Once I realize I am not in this moment but rather in an inexistent place and time, I turn my attention to this awareness in the moment. I bring in the practice of mindfulness to help me be the observer of what is going on. I notice information coming from conditioned mind telling me something bad will happen and I won't have what I need or know how to deal with it. I notice these thoughts as well as the resulting fear and worry.
Becoming aware of my own conditioning, I see two main themes. First, conditioned mind has a lot to say about how I will perform at work. It scans the past looking for problems and issues searching specifically for difficult circumstances that have been or could be. I get the message that something bad will happen and I won't know what to do. The internal scanner finds behaviors of mine from the past which I suffered over or didn’t handle as skillfully as I could have. Or, it conjures up illusory ideas and projects them onto others presuming to know what others have thought of me or think of me now. It imagines people saying bad things about me because I didn’t get something done on time or I didn’t do it right. Conditioned mind tells the story of how I made a big mistake and I am going to get fired because of it. Next, my family will become homeless because of my poor performance. Even as I write this, it is telling me not reveal these thoughts because someone will think I am weak and I am not good enough. It’s telling me people will think I’m insecure or not confident. I remind myself this is conditioned mind not ME.
Conditioned mind assumes it knows everything. It thinks it knows what happened in the past, what is happening, and what will happen. This way of thinking and feeling presumes, assumes and concludes. It takes me down a path of looking for the wrong and the bad in my life. It thinks of me as incapable, lacking and not good enough.
As a result, I become worried and fearful, afraid of the next day and of my future. When it’s got me about a hundred yards down the path of suffering, it brings in “overwhelmed”. Not only won’t I be able to handle difficulties, I also won’t be able to complete everything I need to do. Then, it throws in a little self-doubt and regret just to put the icing on the cake of doom. “You know so-and-so will not follow through on that job and you’ll have to counsel her again.” Or, “You have so much to do and you are going to make a mistake, for sure.”
Once I become aware of these messages, I realize they are all lies, convincing only because they are in my head. The actual truth is the opposite. I am good at my job and successful in my work. The truth is I do the right thing. I have all I need to succeed and all the capability to perform at high level. What’s all the fuss about? The fuss is conditioned mind trying to ruin my life. If I don’t become aware of it and remain present, it will. The truth is my life is BLESSED! I work with awesome people who support me a thousand fold. I am admired and respected by my colleagues, superiors, and staff. When I am present through the conflict, anger, sadness, and disappointment and through all the joy, success, accomplishment, and satisfaction in my work, no matter what it is, there is a miracle, a lesson, an AHA!
Second, I notice a tendency to be resistant to what is. I don't want to deal with the conflict of addressing poor performance with an employee. I don't want to face an unhappy customer and listen to what was wrong having to bear the responsibility. I don't want to deal with my boss asking questions about my work or demanding a late report. What “I” (conditioned mind) wants is silence and ease. “I” wants to hide from the world and have peace and quiet or lie on a white sandy beach with blue, clear water. It wants only pleasure and comfort; to get away from discomfort and unpleasantness to enjoy an easy life. Conditioned mind’s mission is to find a way to get what it wants. It wants no problems, no bad feelings, and no conflict. It wants an endless supply of money, perfect health, vacations and no work. It wants what IS NOT. What conditioned mind wants and idealizes is not reality. It is an imagined world we do not live in.
When I bring awareness to the resistance of what is, I see that avoidance of "what is" is not freedom. If my peace is dependent on the "whats" in my life, then peace is not really what I have. When I am enjoying comfort or pleasure, then conditioned mind is informing me about all the bad things that will happen. When enjoyment is present, it is telling me about the other side of enjoyment and pleasure, which is suffering. It is telling me the next thing will be bad. I notice when I am not aware I'm not really here enjoying anything because I am listening to conditioned mind telling me about what’s wrong or about the next thing I need to do to get the pleasure and comfort it wants.
Ah, freedom. What is it? For me, it is freedom from conditioned mind. It is seeing what really is, not what conditioned mind says it is. Freedom is to accept what is no matter what is happening. No avoidance, no resistance, only acceptance. Acceptance means I see it and recognize it. I may or may not approve of it. Freedom is the attitude of "bring it on" instead of "get me out of here". I will be here for it and I will be present to it. I don't have to run or hide or look for silence or pleasure. I can be with the discomfort and the unpleasantness. I can be present with myself and with the employee as I give them difficult feedback or the angry customer or the demanding boss. Accepting what is is not approval of anything, just a lack of resistance or denial to what is or the illusion that what is is something else or could be something else. Accepting what is, even embracing what is, is the key, because "what is" is my life and there is no other, separate life that exists. This is it!
As I sit here in the evening, I see conditioned mind for what it is. It creates an illusion of another reality existing which is not my life. As I sit here on the cushion, meditating, breathing, and watching, I see conditioned mind conjure up a tale. It says, “You really should sit more. That way your life would be better and you would be more peaceful.” I notice that it’s telling me to do the very thing I’m doing, give a little chuckle and come back to the breath.
Thank you for taking time to read my thoughts.
As always I wish you peace.
Memory can only tell us what we were,
in the company of those we loved;
it cannot help us find what each of us, alone, must now become.
Yet no person is really alone;
those who live no more echo still within our thoughts and words,
and what they did has become woven into what we are.
I wish you peace and a level path on your journey...
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