Much of what is discussed in this week’s chapter is what brought me to mindfulness in the very first place. Earlier this year, I was working through a challenging situation and looking for another way, another way to ‘do’ something, to ‘fix’ what was wrong.
I recall during one of our first sessions together with my mindfulness coach. She told me this:
We are first going to do nothing.
Well, you can imagine how my ‘doing’, let’s fix it fast, this next way will/must/should work’ self reacted to this idea. And I was paying her to do tell me to do ‘nothing’?!?!? I was frustrated, curious, confused and annoyed.
At the same time, my ‘being’ self and quite honestly, my ‘I’m so tired, sad and confused’ self was ready to try anything, including NOTHING. I had been trying to solve the difficulty for so long, much in the same way I’ve solved other challenges in life — but it wasn’t WORKING. My DOING wasn’t WORKING. So, I thought I would give this NOTHING idea a go.
When I am mindful and turn towards difficulty instead of away, I am aware of all of the ‘shoulds, coulds and ought-tos’ running through my mind. Over time, I have realized I’ve let go of some shoulds, as when thinking about it in the present moment, I realize I don’t want or need to do the ‘shoulds’ my auto-pilot mind normally tells me.
During this time of working with this difficulty and starting a mindfulness practice, acceptance began. First and foremost, I had to define (or re-define) what acceptance actually meant.
I thought it was about giving in or giving up and throwing in the towel. As in this chapter, acceptance is not about giving up. It is not about ‘not feeling anything’ anymore. The word that came to me during my work with my coach was ‘indifferent’. It felt empowering, freeing to finally have found a word to articulate my acceptance of the situation and describe how I was feeling. I finally felt like there were choices in a situation I was defining as set, stuck, decided.
‘Acceptance allows the mind to embrace the true, deep understanding of how things really are. Acceptance is a pause, a period of allowing, of letting be, of clear seeing.’
I’m reminded of what comes with acceptance of how things really are – judgement of myself, the situation, the ‘shoulds and coulds’. I continue to remind myself to:
- Practice kindness first and foremost with myself about whatever is coming up when turning towards difficulty.
- Treat myself with compassion.
- Everything changes. Everything ends at some time, including difficulty.
How did this week go for you? Difficult dealing with the difficulty meditation?
Hope you are all doing well and sending peace out to those who especially need it this week.
PS: If you haven’t had a chance to read the entire chapter, I recommend a few key pages. The poem by Rumi, The Guest House, on page 166-167, is one of my favorites. And give the difficulty mediation on page 172 a g as well.