Fourth Experiment: Radical Acceptance
“Life always gives us
exactly the teacher we need
at every moment.
This includes every mosquito,
every red light,
every traffic jam,
every obnoxious supervisor (or employee),
every illness, every loss,
every moment of joy or depression,
every piece of garbage,
Every moment is the guru.”
― Charlotte Joko Beck
Well well well, I wasn't really expecting this topic to be my fourth experiment but after coming home from my third 10-day silent retreat, I realize this is the experiment I need the most.
Whenever I come back from a meditation retreat, so many people think I've just returned from a serene vacation. "A meditation retreat? How relaxing! I'd love to try that!" A meditation retreat is the opposite of zen, it's actually the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. A long retreat goes something like this: for the first time in your life, all distractions are taken away from you so you are forced to see your true self. All your fears and desires come up and you can't avoid the pain by distracting yourself with Facebook, with ice cream, with sex, with drugs. You're just stuck with yourself. Sometimes it's beautiful. Sometimes it gets pretty ugly.
You realize in that pain that the cause of all of your suffering is not accepting reality as it is. We don't want to accept that we are lonely, or sort of chubby, or in debt. If only we had this or that, things would be great. But once we get there, there's another problem to solve so we end up never really satisfied.
I realized in my meditations that I have such a hard time accepting my own reality! I'm so grateful for many things in my life but I still constantly get caught up in how my life "should be" and hardly enjoy what's right in front me. It's part of our human condition to desire more than we have but it comes at the cost of true happiness. Unraveling this mind-trap is obviously a life long practice but since I'm fresh out of my retreat, I want to really focus on this work this month.
The Experiment: In every encounter, in every moment, in every hardship, try and accept reality as it is. Not only accept it but find ways create the best out of each circumstance. (I will elaborate on future posts)
The Rules: This experiment feels so abstract that its hard to come up with rules but here we go! I'm going to try and find compassion and patience in each undesirable moment. I'm going to try and fully embrace each challenge life has coming my way. I will probably have to continue a daily meditation practice (ugh) so I have clarity of mind to stay present in the moment! Also, I want to be compassionate and patient with others and myself. If this is the only reality that we have, then why be a grump through it all?
The Reason: I think this is the big practice of my life! But since I'm fresh out of retreat I want to really integrate all my learnings into my daily life.
I guess this means that I have to accept this challenge! Wish me luck :)