The quality of my life is going to depend on my response to the next thing that happens, not the next thing itself.
We do have a choice on how we respond to stimulus. Notice that the quality of my life depends on the response and not on what happens or how I may choose to judge what happens. The focus of attention is on how the genuine self can choose to respond to the event.
On the other hand, the conditioned personality reacts out of conditioning instead of responding to whatever happens. It is tied to emotional reactions instead of the combined response that can be represented by the awareness of presence. We find ourselves acting out in ways that we don’t approve of, usually later when we have taken the time to process.
So, perhaps I have made plans for today. Something happens and my plans will change. Will I focus on what I need to do about the changing plans? Or, will I focus on what happened and how I didn’t want my plans to change? One way I focus on what I need to do to accept and work with reality. The other way I reject what is and enter an emotional state concerning my need for reality to be different. One is centered in change and the other response is centered in the resistance to change.
Which path provides a better quality of life? My suggestion would be to try both ways to see how it feels. I was already familiar with reacting to wanting reality to change. I was willing to try addressing the quality of life issue by doing the work to develop an acceptance of reality just as it presents. The “work” sounds dramatic, but it’s just a self-awareness of where I am and attending to what’s in front of me. We take that second and come back to conscious breathing, be in presence, and do what needs to be done next.
ACCEPTANCE: Is the simple act of saying yes to that which exists as itself. No labels or concepts or coming from conclusions. It’s all about being here in the wonder of the process of experiencing without resistance. We have a simple choice about acceptance. You can, A, accept what is happening, or B, don’t accept what’s happening which automatically means you will spend energy resisting. Acceptance doesn’t mean approval. Acceptance is Acceptance, there are no lasting emotions or opinions attached. I simply experience a relationship in awareness with no stories about the relationship.
What is happening in this very moment is going to happen whether you accept it or not. Living in resistance via ongoing opinion based in delusion and illusion changes nothing, and you experience suffering. You suffer and still remain with the experience you could have experienced with no suffering.
My encouragement is to return to the breathing cycle when you are aware of being compressed and feeling tight. “Take a deep breath” is that age old advice that takes practice to remember and implement but it works. You don’t have to meditate, just oxygenate! (Having a meditation practice can’t hurt! It helps the process of conscious breathing!)
Well explained, Bryan – it has taken me quite a few years of personal growth after a midlife crisis caused by a few key attachments not ‘paying out’ to bring me to the buddhist/taoist way of mind and heart and I’m in such a better place now!
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