“When we can completely surrender and accept whatever is happening in the moment
(and maybe whatever thought is happening in the mind),
then there is no conflict.
The mind is naturally at ease no matter what the emotional thought is.
And that’s real freedom.”
-Andy Puddicombe, Headspace app
Over the years, I have struggled with surrendering and accepting whatever is happening in the moment. While struggling, I am, by definition, not peaceful. For acceptance of life on life’s terms to make sense to me at times, I’ve had to separate acceptance from approval or right-ness.
Some people believe that everything that happens in this world is God’s will. I tried too, but that approach just doesn’t work for me. I can’t have a positive relationship with the Spirit of the Universe if I believe that Spirit arranges child abuse, loss, violence, and so on to teach lessons or serve some agenda that will be revealed when we die.
So I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason. I do believe that we can assign meaning to what happens and that the meaning we choose can help or hurt us and the world. So when I’m confronted by injustice, cruelty, misery, loss or indifference, I don’t have accept it because God is behind it and it’s supposed to be that way. I can choose to accept it because it is what is happening. I accept the reality of it, not the rightness of it.
From the vantage point of that acceptance, I can choose how to respond. I may go about my business, happy because I like what’s happening. I may choose to resist the situation, as civil rights activists do. Or anything in between. But I can’t choose what course to take unless I accept reality as it is in this moment, whether it’s my husband’s mood, the war in Syria or my own self-critical thoughts.
When I resist reality, when I refuse to accept a situation because it doesn’t align with my beliefs or preferences, I’m immobilized. When I breathe into what is, I’m free.