After recently attending a Buddhist meditation I rediscovered how closely happiness is linked with acceptance
Happiness can exist only in acceptance – George Orwell
This came at a perfect time for me, as I was unhappy with circumstances and was feeling stressed. The patient practice of acceptance helped. I hope you enjoy this post as you stretch along your own journey of acceptance.
I had just moved from Sydney to the Sunshine Coast with my partner, I was yet to find work, had little money and was pregnant. Although I am so grateful and blessed that I was able to have this experience, I was in a tough head space. I had two miscarriages before this pregnancy and was terrified that it would happen again. While this was going through my mind and emotions were everywhere, I was also physically very ill (vomiting and when not vomiting, feeling like vomiting). I would cry when walking past a sushi store (sushi is a no-no whilst pregnant) and when watching a TV commercial about puppies.
I felt overwhelmed and angry that this “pregnancy joy” that others talked about had been taken away from me by my fear of another miscarriage. On my lowest days, I found it hard to get out of bed and would spend most of my day asleep. I was trying to fight my circumstances instead of accepting them. Instead of needing to change my circumstances, I needed to adjust my thinking.
I began exploring the Buddhist teachings of Gen Kelsang Tsalden who believes it is not outer circumstances that make us happy or unhappy, rather it is our minds reaction to what is happening.
If we can change how our way of thinking, we can be happy. Simple… right? She said sometimes it can be very hard, but to keep practicing.
Below is a reflection following a morning meditation along with some thoughts from my yoga experience.
PRACTICING PATIENT ACCEPTANCE
How I will practice patient acceptance?
When something that happens that doesn’t quite go to plan I will think “this is not what I would have chosen for myself but it’s happening.” Instead of the opposite thinking “No no no no, why is this happening to me? Whose fault is it? Who is to blame?” I will accept that it is happening now and to me and then can figure out what to do.
I will think for a moment and ask myself the question “Is there something I can do about my situation?” If yes, great! I will make a plan and do what I need to do. There is no need to be unhappy. If there is nothing I can do… Well then there is nothing that I can do to change my situation… so there is no need to be unhappy.
I will keep practicing.
I will understand that we all have difficulties. Every being suffers. Every being feels pain. Ultimately what we all want is to be happy. I will remember that I am not alone. When I go through difficult experiences, I will know that these things do not just happen to me.
When these hard things have happened in the past, I’ve found that down the track I’ve been able to support someone else that has gone through the same thing.
I will remind myself that there are two parts to any circumstance. What is happening and how I think about it in my mind. I can increase my suffering and make it worse by thinking negatively about my experience.I can choose to get angry or upset and this can manifest into physical pain. I’d rather choose happiness.
When I do have physical pain I will sit quietly and try to locate the pain. Once I have found it, I will practice acceptance. I will say to myself
I accept that this pain is here. I will remind myself that pain is only temporary and ‘this too shall pass’
Life is full of ebbs and flows, ups and downs and nothing lasts forever.
When I feel angry about a circumstance I do not need to let it out on the ones I love and cause them to be angry or upset. Neither do I need to pretend my feelings are not there or try to ignore them. I will accept how I am feeling in that moment and make a choice to be positive.
I will be compassionate to myself and others. I will release expectations of others and my expectations of how the world should be. I will accept myself for who I am and will accept others for who they are. I will forgive and let go of my attachment and wishes for something different. Something that I will say to myself when I faced with a circumstance I would not have chosen is,
“Stop and breathe. Everything is as it should be in this moment right now.”
FREEDOM IN POSITIVE THINKING
This way of positive thinking has supported me to feel free. I am starting to build up my toolkit so no matter what happens, I will choose happiness.
I still worried about my pregnancy and my growing baby but each day I am choosing to practice acceptance and being patient and compassionate with myself.
Acceptance is also about mindfulness. Being here and in this moment right now. Not worrying about the past or being anxious about the future
What situations could you benefit from bringing more patient acceptance into your life? What makes you the most angry or upset? How can you change your perspective?
The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance – Nathaniel Branden
Love and light
ARTICLE WRITTEN BY CLAUDIA CARTILLONE