Acceptance and Love NOW
August 16, 2012
How simple it is to see that all the worry in the world cannot control the future. How simple it is to see that we can only be happy now. And that there will never be a time when it is not now.
Many times in our lives we all will experience unexpected challenges we must confront. Challenges which can pull us back into the past and keep us there, or have us worry so much about what will be.
Just recently I experienced one “of these” during a very unexpected time. But since I teach people how to find joy and opportunity regardless of what life throws them, I found it serendipitous that I was placed at a resort called “now.” If you know me well you know that I don’t believe in coincidences. Each time I saw that word “now” I was forced to bring myself to the present moment and inquire within, “How can I release the worry that I’m feeling right now? And how can I choose a more productive thought or action now?”
We all know that releasing worry and choosing a new thought is much harder than it seems, especially when the situation feels so heavy. Does it really work? My answer is YES, but you have to be just as dedicated to the emotions and truth of the new thought (or the real, love-based thought) then of the worry itself (false & fear-based).
Some of my “gurus” share these strategies…the very ones I did my very best to employ during this challenging time:
• Eckhart Tolle- the king of living in the “now” -tells us that if we are not in the state of either acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm then we are creating suffering for ourselves and others. For many reasons, my only choice in this specific scenario was to be in a mode of acceptance. Tolle states that “On the surface, acceptance looks like a passive state, but in reality it is active and creative because it brings something entirely new into this world.” In that moment I could not choose joy and I could not choose enthusiasm, but I was very conscious of the situation, the feelings of the individuals involved, and to my part and my choices. I chose to accept the whole kit and caboodle. I truly sat with what was–good or bad.
• Byron Katie tells us that suffering is optional. Whenever we experience a stressful feeling- – anything from mild discomfort to intense sorrow, rage, or despair (I went through the entire range!)- – we can be certain that there is a specific thought causing our reaction, whether we are conscious of it or not. When we believe our thoughts instead of what is really true for us, we experience the kinds of emotional distress that is suffering.
Katie’s work goes much deeper and stems from her personal pain. Her work helps us do what Tolle speaks of- – getting to what really is true. Her experience helps to make concrete the TRUTH that everything (including each and every thought, action, belief, etc.) comes either from LOVE or FEAR. If we consciously choose to be in a state of acceptance and love WHAT IS IN THIS MOMENT even if it is painful, our fear dissipates and what remains is love…love for ourselves, for others, and for whatever life brings. It also allows forgiveness of self and others to manifest, something which is very difficult. Katie says that loving what is becomes as easy and natural as breathing.
Finally, Katie shares her simple, yet powerful inquiry process, which I used during this personal crisis. Here it is:
Deeply question the following about the feeling or thought:
1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know that it is true?
3. How do you react when you think that thought?
4. Who would you be without the thought?
There is one final powerful step to this process (the turn around), which helps you to take responsibility for your thoughts and really understand their intention, but that would require a much longer post!
Here’s a very brief “on the job” example of using steps 1-4 (with a few enhancements):
Thought: “He is always condescending to me in front of others, and clearly never wants me to advance. I am stuck!”
Ask: Is that true? Really true?
“Well, not always, I guess. Sometimes he can be supportive of my ideas, but I always feel like he will put me down if he has the chance. I guess I also have the choice to leave and not feel stuck.”
Ask: How do I respond when I hear/say that thought?
“I always feel like I have to be defensive; I am really angry for what feels like an eternity. I have seen others act in this way and I don’t want to be this way or be perceived as a difficult person who has to fight all the time.”
Ask: Can you see a reason why to drop the thought?
“Yes. I would like to drop this thought. I guess if I think this way all the time and expect the worst I always will feel defensive, angry, and stuck.”
Ask: Who would you be without the thought?
“I would be more relaxed, happy, and confident in who I am regardless of anyone above or below me.”
Try it for yourself with a thought/situation that may be pulling you out of the “now” and into sorrow, worry or pain. Spend time in your own dialogue when answering the questions. You may go back and forth for a bit, after all, Katie calls this process The Work!
How can choosing acceptance and love over fear in the “now” move you forward today?
When you are present in the moment, you break the continuity of your story, of past and future.
Then true intelligence arises, and also love.