We are giving away a copy of The Freedom of Being At Ease with What Is, by Jan Frazier. Check out this excerpt from the book, and then leave a comment for a chance to win your own copy of this book!
Acceptance: Unplugging the Suffering Machine
An Excerpt from The Freedom of Being At Ease with What Is by Jan Frazier
Here is a formula for misery: resist a fact. Lament something that has occurred, dwelling on how it could have been otherwise.
If you were to altogether let go of resistance this moment, never to start it up again, by that single gesture, you’d liberate yourself from an enormous burden of suffering. Whatever time remains would feel conspicuously different from all that has preceded.
Allowing reality to be itself means you no longer blame life for your inner condition—or credit it, if things are going well. The potential exists to be at peace no matter what.
Confronted with reality, there are two options. You can acknowledge the fact of it, without resistance, or you can argue with it. When you oppose reality in any way, you’re taking on a terrible weight, which you then carry. It becomes a part of you. The burden wears you out.
The alternative is to directly look at what’s real, now. To stand in its presence, in full, unresisting recognition. To let the fact of it be primary, prior to everything else, like how you feel about it, or whether you might want to take action.
When you accept, you align all of attention with what’s here. You are literally one with it. There’s no perception of distance from the real, no room for resistance. Only when you distance yourself from reality does it become possible to reject it, to disapprove (or approve) of it. If feelings are stirred by what’s happening, you yield to that inner reality too. It’s all in the picture of what’s real.
When your primary sense of a thing is its factuality, the attention of the higher self is engaged. But when the focus is on your orientation to it, your familiar-self awareness is in charge. The ego-mind is trying to inject something of itself into outer reality—to project a positive or negative value, some kind of label—which is different from just letting it be what it is.
Resistance versus acceptance has everything to do with which “one” of you is showing up. The choice determines whether the machinery of suffering starts up or is allowed to remain at rest.
Your higher self does not suffer. Your familiar self can hardly figure out how not to suffer.
The Experience of Resisting
Resisting is a tensing-against something. It gets revved up via some kind of mental handling (complaint, story-spinning, denial), leading to emotional distress.Whatever difficulty you’re experiencing in the presence of something you’d prefer hadn’t happened, resistance compounds the challenge by piling on negativity. It heaps suffering on top of suffering, intensifying the pain of what’s already hurting. Pushing against something that’s insisting its presence into your life involves pointless exertion. It’s tiring.
If you tense your arm for an injection, it hurts more.
At a time of challenge, you need to save your valuable resources for addressing the situation. If you wear yourself out in anger or denial, if you allow yourself to get stuck in the past (how the situation could have been avoided or foreseen), there won’t be as much positive energy and creativity available to do something useful to improve things.To move on from here.
Before fruitful moving-on can take place, here has to be seen for what it is. It has to be allowed.
Jan Frazier is a writer, spiritual teacher, and the author of several books including When Fear Falls Away: The Story of a Sudden Awakening. Her poetry and prose have appeared widely in literary journals and anthologies, and she has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She lives in southern Vermont.
Excerpted from the book The Freedom of Being At Ease with What Is © 2012 by Jan Frazier. Printed with permission from Weiser Books.
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