Life can appear challenging at times. For some people, it appears this way often, and for others, less frequently. The key word here, though, is “appear.”
Our mind and the relationship we have with it will determine how we see our life situation. There is a difference between our own ‘inner being’ and our ‘mind’, just as there is a difference between our ‘life’ and our ‘life situation.’
Our being is our inner body and soul. It’s who we really are. Our mind is an instrument that we use to think and make decisions. We are not our minds, nor are we the many thoughts that our minds tend to create for us.
Our life is our purpose and the reason we are alive, derived from God, our Creator. Our life never dies. Even when our physical body inevitably passes on, we never actually “die.” Conversely, our life situation is the way we view our life and how things are going in it. This viewpoint usually comes from the mind, which remember, is not us.
As you can tell from the descriptions above, our inner being and our life go hand in hand. They are interconnected. They are everlasting. And they live on forever.
But our mind and our life situation are connected as well and can skew the way we interpret ourselves, most of the time in a bad way, unless you have full control of yourself. Both of these eventually die along with our physical body.
Your life and inner being are what truly matters. It’s what is real and what is truly us. Our life situation is just a perceived notion created by the mind. The mind is detached from our real being and contributes to countless false realities.
Knowing this, it’s important to separate these things and understand reality. We are not our minds, so instead of associating with it and allowing it to think freely and dictate our emotions and how we feel, we can observe it and let the thoughts pass with no judgement or negative energy. We can accept what is passing through but refrain from giving it any power. Taking control of your mind, instead of letting it control you, will allow you to tap into your inner being, which is key to living a peaceful life.
This brings us to the title of this piece. Acceptance, non-resistance, and the impermanence of all things. If you can grasp these concepts and implement them, life becomes easy. To be fair, there aren’t a lot of people out there that can say they have mastered this. It takes a high level of awareness. Some people even prefer not to and would rather maintain their self-pity and the illusion of who they think they are and deserve to be. But, in order to unlock your true potential in life, ridding yourself of negativity and sadness, you must understand these concepts.
Acceptance doesn’t necessarily mean just letting go and allowing everything and anything to happen to you. You have some control over your life and how things play out. But you must surrender yourself into the “now,” the present moment, and accept what ‘is’ in this realm of presence. Once you do this, you will have no resistance or emotional negativity towards the situation at hand. Then, you can analyze it from a positive, present light and direct your attention to what you can do to change it or make it better. Thus, the action that you take will be a positive one, free of negativity, stress, or fear. If you can truly accept it, there will be no personal judgement or mental labels of the situation, and your mind will be cleared to take the best possible action. This becomes a lot easier, too, when you realize that most of the time, you cannot change what has already happened. Realizing this and accepting it is the first step to a positive change.
For example, let’s say you are driving, and suddenly, you hit a big pothole, leading to a flat tire. A typical response is filled with frustration. You become angered by the fact that you must now deal with this unfortunate situation, taking away time, money, and energy from your life. But it happened. There’s no changing it, there’s no going back. Accept what happened and offer no resistance to the situation in which you can’t change. Then, take positive action to get your car towed, your tire fixed, and your situation improved. The negative emotions would just make the unfortunate situation that much worse. Why not accept that it has happened and focus your energy on making it better?
This logic also works for more serious situations as well, though it may seem harder. You got laid off unexpectedly from your job of 10 years today. Or you lost a close loved one tragically. Both scenarios are awful and very sad. However, looking at the reality of them, you cannot change either one. The emotions you will feel from these events – the anger, sadness, pain, depression – will come directly from your own inner resistance to what happened. And what happened is in the past. Fully accepting what happened will lead to the understanding of ‘what is’ at this time. You will still feel sadness and that’s normal. But the difference is you will have a deeper inner peace from staying present and accepting the circumstances to be reality.
Acceptance can work for any situation or thought and make it much easier to let it go and stay present. If you’re in a situation that you are unable to accept, and you let your pain-filled emotions out and resist reality, there is still yet another chance to practice acceptance. You can fully accept what you’re feeling and bring it to the present, as opposed to continuing to resist your reaction to the outcome and creating more sadness. Accept that you are hurting. Once you accept what is transpiring in the moment, any negativity fades away. You have accepted what ‘is,’ and no longer resist what comes along with it. This is a major key to mindfulness and always maintaining a sense of inner peace.
Read the below quote to yourself, which comes from a Buddhist monk:
“All I have learned in the twenty years that I have been a monk I can sum up in one sentence: All that arises shall pass away. This I know.”
Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now, sums this powerful quote up perfectly.
Nothing in life is permanent. Think back to the many times in life you were sad and hurting. Think back to the times in life you were happy or excited. All those times have passed, and the feelings or emotions associated with them are gone. The pain or satisfaction was temporary. Some of those feelings may have lasted a couple hours, others maybe a couple days or weeks, but the logic remains the same- they were temporary and didn’t last forever. I bet if you could go back in time and know what you know now- to accept the situation and offer no resistance towards it- you would do just that, since you know the pain and sadness would dissipate. In that moment, things seemed so bad. You were hurting, and maybe you didn’t know how you would overcome it. But you did, because you’re alive today, and presumably feeling much different than you were back then. It was impermanent.
Even during happiness or good times, acceptance and not letting yourself get too high in the moment will make it easier to adjust to normalcy when you inevitably come down from the feeling. There will be good times, there will be bad times, but your inner peace and understanding of acceptance with the impermanence of everything should never waver.
The bottom line is this: resisting reality and the present moment makes life more challenging than it already is. It brings on added stress, anxiety, fear, doubt, and uncertainty. Acceptance, to most people, seems like a simple concept that is extremely tough to abide by consistently. But once you do, and the more you work at it, inner peace will become abundant. When you get into any situation or thought, big or small, stop for a moment and try to accept it before reacting to it. Accept it, offer no resistance towards its current reality and the fact that it does exist, and realize that whatever is happening is impermanent and likely to pass soon. Then, you can go about solving the scenario logically, or enjoying the happiness if applicable. Doesn’t that sound so much better than instantly worrying about what might happen (the future) or being stuck on how unfortunate it is that it did happen (past)? Stay in the now (present) and come to terms with what ‘is.’ The past is gone. It’s over. It’s not real any longer. And the future is a fantasy. It isn’t here, and it may never be here. It’s an illusion created in our minds. All we have, all we’re guaranteed, is right now. The present. So, apply that logic to every thought, feeling and emotion that arises and discover an inner peace that enables you to ride through life with a strong sense of positivity and mindfulness.