Stop Resisting, and Accept What Is
I have written several times on this blog about accepting what is happening right now. This does not mean liking it, but just acknowledging what is here and not fighting it, or otherwise resisting. There is great power, and often great relief in being able to let go of resistance, but getting to that point can be difficult. How do you stop resisting the loss of your house due to foreclosure, your partner’s infidelity, the loss of your job, or the death of your child?
I think that we resist things we don’t want to be true, because, in some strange way, not accepting it makes what happened seem less real. If we accept that it happened, then we have to come to terms with it and what it means for us, now and in the future. I think it’s normal to go in and out of acceptance in the first hours and days of a loss, but also I suspect that the longer you hold acceptance at bay, the more difficult it becomes to grieve your loss.
Jon Kabat-Zinn is a physician and Buddhist who developed, and teaches, a course in Mindfulness for people with chronic illness and/or chronic pain. The course covers a number of modalities including building awareness of the body and mind through a daily body scan, yoga, and mediation. When those with chronic pain who were receiving both medical treatment and mindfulness training in the stress clinic, were compared with chronic pain patients waiting for admission to the stress clinic and just receiving medical treatments, there was a huge difference. Those receiving both medical treatment and mindfulness training when compared to those just getting medical treatment showed the following percentages of improvement in pain reduction 36:0; reduction in negative body image 37:2; improvement in mood 87:2; improvement in psychological distress 77:11.
In his book “Arriving At Your Own Door: 108 Lessons in Mindfulness’ Dr Kabut-Zinn has this to say about Accepting What Is.
Acceptance doesn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, mean passive resignation. Quite the opposite. It takes a huge amount of fortitude and motivation to accept what is – especially when you don’t like it – and then work mindfully as best you possibly can with the circumstances you find yourself in, and with the resources at your disposal, to be in wise relationship to what is, which may mean at some point acting to mitigate, heal, redirect, or change what can be changed.
Are you resisting something? If so, can you accept what is? Changing what can be changed and relating differently to that which cannot.
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