They’re a mouthful, but these concepts saved my life and my sanity. Because I’m an impatient Leader personality prone to Bigger, Better, Faster, and I’ll-Be-Happy-When- Syndrome, I needed to learn the concept of it is what it is. Buddhists believe that desire is the source of all unhappiness, and it’s hard to argue that. But given that we’re all human (even if Buddhist), I’d say it’s more realistic to simply stop wanting something to be different from what it is.
Acceptance and equanimity (which is the understanding that things simply are as they are) teach you to get your ego out of the way, because it’s not all about you. You are not in control of everything. Moreover, if your boss just fired you, jelly Munchkins are not going to undo that. You gain peace when you learn to work with reality as it is, rather than fight it or feed your face because of it.
For me, accepting what is feels extremely freeing. (“If you want less stress, make isnessyour business,” says life coach Marie Forleo. Amen!) Once when I was freaking out over a major dental procedure, my teacher (Elisha Goldstein, author of Uncovering Happiness)told me, “Your feelings are already here.” All I had to do was put out the welcome mat!
For practicing Acceptance and Equanimity, here’s a short and sweet exercise from mind- fulness teacher Jack Kornfield:
Sit in a comfortable posture with eyes closed. Bring soft attention to your breath until body and mind are calm. Reflect on the benefit of a mind that has balance and equanimity. Sense what a gift it can be to bring a peaceful heart to the world around you. Let yourself feel an inner sense of balance and ease. Then begin repeating such phrases as, “May I be balanced and at peace.” Ac- knowledge that all created things arise and pass away: joys, sorrows, pleas- ant events, people, buildings, animals, nations, even whole civilizations. Let yourself rest in the midst of them. “No matter how I might wish things to be otherwise, things are as they are.” “May I learn to see the arising and passing of all nature with equanimity and balance. May I be open and peaceful.” “May I one day accept myself just as I am.”
For more on this practice, see Byron Katie’s book Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life.
This is an excerpt from The Right Fit Formula