The truth is that you do!
A quick story.
I got to a point where the burden and stress I was creating for my life became so intolerable that it finally brought me to my knees. Humbly I asked, “I wonder if there’s a better way to live!”
I became obsessed to understand and study human nature and our relationship to stress and grief. “Is a life of consistent peace and joy even possible?” — that was my question. To my surprise, the people that were the happiest and fulfilled were also the ones who had faced extraordinary challenges. My problems were frail compared to what some of them had gone through.
The second thing I found with the people I looked at, was that in spite of having faced such adversity, they all had a transformative experience that left them with tremendous resilience and fulfillment. The most intriguing thing about the people I studied was that instead of staying chained to their pain, they all came out on the other side with a huge sense of gratitude and peace. Without exception, these people seemed to have stumbled onto something that propelled them into a life of peaceful bliss.
I was intrigued.
“What do these people know that we don’t?
I read about these people’s lives and their experiences. I attended their talks, I listened to all they were willing to share and I was stunned to learn that there is no mystery at all to what they knew. This gift, this knowledge they had acquired, that broke them free of their suffering, is actually available to anyone who seeks it.
It all boils down to five principles that we all universally face, but we often ignore. After studying and applying these principles myself, this is what I’ve come to understand — it is our avoidance of these principles that gives root to most of our human suffering. Conversely, the key to achieving our most desired goal: lasting peace and happiness, depends largely on us learning to embrace these universal principles.
Today, I’d like to share one of the five principles that deal with accepting life as it is rather than as you want it to be. These principles have drastically transformed my life and the lives of many before me. I hope it can do the same for you.
Being Receptive to the Flow of Life:
You create your own pain. Sadly, the majority of our lives are spent in survival mode, ruled by the hormones of stress. This may sound absurd for you since we are conditioned to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Paradoxically, however, when we are in pain we attach ourselves to the hurt and often make it a permanent emotion in our lives.
The main culprits? Our expectations and resistance to what is. Yes, the principle is that simple: zero resistance, zero suffering!
We spend our entire lives trying to change external outcomes in an effort to obtain what we think we want and need. These include everything from our relationships, possessions, lives, goals, health and even our own mortality.
The ideas we have about how things should be, only exist in our heads.
Am I saying to sit back and do nothing? Not a chance. What I am saying is that there’s a specific way to deal with life circumstances as they happen.
The toughest of the five principles for me is to view the situation as it is instead of what it could or should be. If you desire to live a more peaceful life, you will need to stop expecting the world to turn out the way you tell yourself it should be.
The ‘could and should’ are often separated by a big scary void from what actually ‘is’. I spent years living in anxiety and disappointment due to the stories I told myself about how the world needed to be in order for me to feel good and safe. Anything that didn’t turn out the way I had envisioned would set me off on a tantrum, upset and thus, I created a lot of unnecessary stress for my life and those around me, who sadly felt the wrath of my discontent.
It was not until I began to surrender to the flow of life, without judgment and expectation that I began to experience peace in my life. When shit happens as it often does, accepting that not everything will go your way is a quick way to get over the disappointment or preventing the feeling of disappointment altogether.
I spent so much time trying to make sense of why things happened as they did, why someone did what they did, or why someone said what they said — a great recipe for insanity, don’t you think?
I have come to accept that it is not my job to understand why others do what they do. Surrendering the need to know the why of things was a quick way to remove the frustration and disappointment I had in my life. We don’t have to know the why of everything that happens. Sometimes things just are.
Now before you object, I was once like you. I used to think that people who accepted things were nothing but conformist, settlers and as such unsuccessful because they just accepted whatever happened to them without putting up a fight.
I could not have been more wrong.
“You have to accept, believe and surrender” – Joe Dispenza
Accepting reality as it is, is not giving up. On the contrary, accepting life for what it is, frees you from the feeling of hurt and frustration. It allows you to free enough of your energy to create a more positive state of being. We become free to act without being controlled by the hormones of stress. You can actually think clearly and become a more conscious and active creator of your life.
The mere fact of accepting life for what it is, allows you to move on to achieve your goals because you are not stuck on the negativity of things and that makes you unstoppable.
Let me repeat this again, ACCEPTANCE IS NOT BEING WEAK OR GIVING UP. It doesn’t mean you throw in the towel and all of the sudden you are resigning yourself to a life where you have no power or influence, putting up with just whatever happens to bump into you. It also doesn’t mean that you have to like everything that happens, not at all.
Accepting that things are as they are, allows you to move away from the mindset that often enslaves you. The quicker we accept that things are as they are, without resistance, the quicker our mind can open itself to other possibilities that we may not have previously considered — because we had focused all our energy on one possibility only.
Resisting life as it is happening blinds you from seeing alternative avenues and experiences that await for you outside the narrow path of possibilities you often create for yourself. Trying to control the world around you to mold life to the way you think it needs to be, will only make you miss the wonderful things meant for you because you simply cannot even conceive of them.
For years I held on to ideas, people and emotions that were detrimental to my wellbeing. I was so attached to an illusion, always judging and interpreting life through my blurry and narrow lenses and in that process, I wasted so much time in anxiety and disappointment when instead I could have been enjoying the life I was meant to have.
Looking back now I can see that the happiness I was chasing after was always there, in front of me. I passed up my happiness for misery because I didn’t do one thing.