I woke up this morning pondering how it is so hard to accept what is. Our brains say – yes I get it. We may even bring it into mindful awareness every day through meditation or yoga.
We think we have it handled, and then … out of the blue we find ourselves getting impatient, frustrated or triggered.
For example, think of the last time you were driving and were cut off by someone else. Or you were running late and got stopped behind a school bus or a red light? What thoughts, sensations and feelings came up?
So how can we handle these turbulent emotions and accept what is….
In the moment we become aware of our reactions we have a choice: to allow the fight or flight reaction to take over with its rush of adrenaline and cortisol; or to center ourselves with full deep breaths and consciously let go of the stories, judgments, and resistance to what is happening.
With mindfulness practice, our reactivity gets less and less. Our acceptance of the highs and lows of life grows and we become more centered and less volatile.
Like a pendulum we find our way to the center.
From a scientific perspective, the more we meditate and calm our mind, the more neural pathways we create and reinforce our ability to come more quickly to a calm state.
It is a practice…. that may take a long time if not a life time.
The Dalai Lama says that while we cannot stop an emotion from arising, we have the power to let it go, and the highly trained mind can let it go the moment it arises.
The Buddha shared a metaphor for this state of mind. He called it “like writing on water”. Whenever an unwholesome thought or emotion arises in an enlightened mind, it is like writing on water. The moment it is written it disappears.
Through meditation and mindfulness practice we learn to master our reactions and center ourselves.
We re-balance ourselves and in doing so, learn to accept what is.
The next time you are in traffic be ready to breathe deeply and let the emotion flow through you…
And don’t get upset with yourself for getting upset! Let it go. Just keep practicing coming into the present moment.