This morning I was reading “A Path with Heart” by Jack Kornfield. And true to form, I got just what I needed. Kornfield was discussing the good old topic of letting go but with a twist. He shared that letting it be could be useful when letting go does not happen easily. He states “whenever arises, whether it is pain, fear, or struggle, instead of letting it go, be aware of it, let it come and go.” He spoke about this oldie but goodie song from the Beatles and I thought, huh, that’s cool. Letting things go when you are in a struggle feels well, like a struggle. When you are in that struggle you can then start feeling like you are not doing “it” right as if there is a right way of practicing a spiritual principle. This kind of spiritual perfectionism can really cause a person to get caught in the hamster wheel. But the concept of Letting it Be, well that feels freeing, sort of like a big exhale. You can say to yourself “ok, I see you fear, I hear you, but for right now I am just going to let you be.” This relates to another concept that Kornfield goes on to talk about which is “Putting aside” which is about where you put your attention. “Putting Aside” sounds a lot like the concept of the Law of Attraction. In our chat Your Eyes Go Where Your Car Goes we discussed how we can manifest our destiny by what we focus on and the energy we embody. Which is also what the Law of Attraction indicates. You draw more of what you focus on towards you.. Kornfield describes how there is a time and place for everything. That when we are in the thick of a crisis, it may not be the time to deal with it. Ahhhh the old “you can’t see the forest through the trees” bit. Yes even deep spiritual Buddhist teachers can offer up simple wisdom that we all know but can at times have a hard time practice.
Tara Brach’s famous book “Radical Acceptance” has been quoted and used often in psychotherapy. Here .is is an article Brach wrote about Radical Acceptance, Buddhist philosophy and it’s use in psychotherapy http://www.tarabrach.com/articles/trauma.html. Much of our problems in life is our own difficulty with accepting what life is serving up. We don’t like the way someone at Dunkin Donuts made the coffee so we complain about it to everyone including the manager, you don’t think the people in the cars in front of you are moving fast enough so you beep or yell, you don’t like the way someone in your life does something so you ca vetch to your friends/family. Sound familiar? I bet it does because in a bad moment I am right there with you. Luckily, with more time to practice yoga and meditate, I am there far less often. But it happens and it feels icky when it does. All that negative energy floating around in my body. Bleh. Radical Acceptance is about accepting what is arising in the moment WHETHER you like it or not. You don’t have to agree, all you have to do is accept. Why would you do such a thing? Well a) because it’s happening anyway whether you like it or not and b) because if you accept it freedom will come rushing in to help you u in case you were waiting to exhale. Radical acceptance brings on the haaaaaaaaa (yogis will get the pun we tend to do this exaggerated exhale in class at times to indicate a moment of letting go although most of us have not…actually….let go:)
Freedom settles in when he can just accept what is rather than trying to change it. There is a line in the Big Book (Bible of AA for those not in the know) that goes like this: “And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation, some fact of my life, unacceptable to me, I can not find serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it supposed to be at this moment. Nothing absolutely happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I couldn’t get sober. Until I can accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to change in the world but what needs to change within me and my attitudes.” Now that is some wisdom that has the potential to heal the world! Whether you believe in a God or Higher Power or not, I think we can all agree that a little acceptance goes a long way to bring peace and serenity into our lives.
So Let it Be, Radically Accept it and then may be Put it Aside for a bit. Life has a funny way of working itself out. I can even count how many times I have freaked out about something, spending countless hours worrying only to have had that situation completely work out with out much effort on my part. These days it comes as a challenge to get out of my own way at times. But that is why I share this with you over some tea because when I share, I hear and then it reinforces my own practice. We teach what we need to learn was told to me once. And as the saying seems to go in pop culture these days….TRUTH!