"Unconditional acceptance is not static but ecstatic, vibrant, dynamically engaged in and connected with reality. It helps us to meet life all along her gorgeous body, not just shaking hands with life and wading in its shallows." ~ Lama Surya Das
As I step onto my mat and inhale, breath filling lungs, feet grounded, and palms pressing one another, I connect internally once again.
Sweet. Quiet. Simple. Acceptance.
Practice teaches me that life can be clean and uncomplicated - even when it seems messy and complex.
To find simplicity we must look at the habitual tendencies that draw us away from the present - the places in our mind where we make things more difficult than they need to be. This looking inward is not always an easy task - the mind is full of things to figure out and ways to distract us. But the path of practice, one in which we continually return to looking inward, is a rewarding one.
The thought patterns that draw us away often clutter the mind which creates stress and a lack of freedom. Our practice can help bring awareness to whatever is "here now" and how we are relating to it. Without adding anything extra we just notice. Perhaps we are struggling with a particular emotion, physical limitation, situation or memory. Trusting our direct experience, without layering our story of why or how, we begin to come into alignment with what is actually happening.
When we allow what is happening we re-connect with simplicity.
"The master does her best and lets go, and whatever happens, happens" ~ Tao Te Ching
As we notice what is happening in the body, mind and heart we can invite a quality of freshness into our experience; a childlike curiosity. What is this pain, thinking, sadness and longing? Beyond the story..... what is the felt sense of this experience? and can I hold just that? How can I relax into this moment? and can it be good enough for now?
Acceptance does not mean complacency or resignation. It actually requires a much deeper engagement. As humans we naturally have wants and desires. And action fueled by positive intentions can be full of beauty, excitement and grace. However, there are many situations and states we cannot change through our will alone. And if we inquire into our wanting mind we can start to recognize the pain inherent in our grasping. As we come up against our experience we can notice how wanting it to be another way adds a layer of tension to the present moment. When we get caught up in wanting to make it another way we are trying to escape our experience instead of diving into it. In fact - we lose the preciousness of this moment, whatever it holds, pain or pleasure, when we are are holding onto an idea of it being some other way.
All we have is this very moment so we might as well accept what is happening.
And as we practice, on the mat, the cushion, or out in our lives, coming back to the simplicity of the present moment teaches us to notice where we get "caught". When do we spin out losing our center? We also begin to notice the impermanent nature of our current experience. Wait long enough and it will change. Everything changes. When we recognize the ways we get caught, and the truth of impermanence, we are not so hypnotized by the habitual mind states that keep us circling around and around.
And so... it comes back to feeling this beautiful breath, this beating heart and whatever is here now waiting to be discovered - and accepting that. Because that is truly all we have.
May our practice continue to wake us up and help us to show up fully in our lives embodying presence and ordinary simplicity.