Thoughts on Life: Resistance versus Acceptance – Fighting versus Flowing

it is what it isFIGHTING VERSUS FLOWING

RESISTANCE VERSUS ACCEPTANCE 

I was on the final 15 minutes of my hour spin bike workout, doing intervals.  There’s a point of non-resistance that has to be reached to get through those final intervals when the legs are burning and the level of fatigue makes you want to resist.  A coach once said, “Your legs should be burning–let ’em”.

There’s a point where you have to give up and surrender the battle to get the last few sets of intervals done successfully.

It’s acceptance.  The lungs are on fire and so are the legs and you’re pushing through to the end but if you fight this or resist it, you just can’t do it–you quit.

Today I thought about how this is just like life.  I mean, on the bike you accept it,  the “what is” of legs burning and the like and if you accept then the work is so much easier and you’re less likely to give up.  Or said another way what you ‘do’ give up is the resistance to ‘what is’–the burn or breathlessness or whatever.

When you give up the resistance and let the mind participate with the body, allowing the merging and accepting the fact that ‘yeah, it’s what it is, until it isn’t anymore’, THAT is so liberating, especially in those final moments.

Those hour long interval workouts are like the last moments of a race.  What really counts is what you do at the end when you have to dig deep and get to the finish line, especially when total exhaustion is so close.

When life becomes a crisis in some way and let’s face it, life presents challenges and if we deny this we are not living on this planet I think.  At those times do we surrender? Or do we fight it? Do we want to deny what’s happening and thereby struggle against it?

We make life harder for ourselves if we struggle.  I make the last 15 minutes of my workout harder if I struggle against.

This applies across the board or that’s my position in writing this.  No matter what life presents us with at any given time (and sometimes life is like those last 15 minutes of an hour long interval workout at the gym–rough!)…. point is that if we feel like we have to battle it or take a position of struggling against it, we find it’s all so much harder.

So many times in life we think something shouldn’t be what it is.

We deny reality or fight against how things ‘are’ and use all kinds of tactics to deny reality somehow.  It’s exhausting.

We can make this comparison with the Christian way of thinking about life being a struggle against a devil and having to fight the evil–this kind of mentality.

Another way of thinking is to simply not think–but what I really mean is allowing whatever ‘it is’ to be what ‘it is’ without the judgment.

Judgment is the christian way of dealing with life I think which comes from an idea of an ideal perfected state that we all must strive for but know we will never achieve (because they tell us that in their dogma), rather than the opposite which is giving up that fight and becoming free.

Does that mean that we don’t try to be better humans or that we stop doing our best?  That’s not what I’m saying.  

I’m talking about not beating one’s self up because of ‘what is’ or what isn’t during any given moment.  I’m writing here about not struggling against it or making the self wrong somehow in the process.

The last 15 minutes of intervals my legs burn and I’m breathless–it’s part of life at that moment and I accept that and don’t fight against it or resist it.

When anything in happens in life, I can draw from that ability to accept what is actually happening without judgment or without making myself or Life Itself wrong.  It is, after all, what is.

When my legs are burning, I don’t attach to the feeling–I let them burn.

When I’m right on the edge of breathlessness, I let it be and don’t fight against the feeling.

If I grunt or groan or tense my muscles or make a face, it’s only making it harder to simply flow with ‘what is’ in that moment.  Life is like that.  Life ‘is’ and there’s a certain amount of being okay with it and not judging it but simply noticing it that is very freeing, liberating.

Someone thinks a lot during meditation time.  No need to fight that.  Simply notice it without assigning a meaning or beating self up in any way.

Someone feels angry.  I’m not saying to act the anger out and of course we shouldn’t totally repress it but one way to handle it is to notice it as simply being ‘what is’ in that moment.  Or maybe for the whole day the feeling is there.  In noticing it one is standing outside of it and this juxtaposition is causing separation from it emotionally.

Just like “the leg’s are burning, let ’em” that happen during my workout.  It is what is and nothing last forever!  ‘It is’ until it isn’t anymore and the less we can attach to it and the more we simply notice it without emotion or resistance, the realization comes clearly that nothing last forever.  That’s the nature of reality:  impermanence.

And impermanence is a blessing.

Acceptance of ‘what is’ in any moment is liberating and elevating.

Judgment of what is in any moment is attachment and suffering.

That’s one difference between Christianity and Buddhism although there are many good similarities as we all know.

Acceptance is surrender and surrender is Divine!

Just my two cents, hoping to have expressed this in a way that’s understandable.

Life’s Frustrations? Pretending I Planned It That Way! Karma and Co-Dependent Arising

... and whatever it is, i planned it that way!  (On losing the humor factor)
… and whatever it is, i planned it that way! (Don’t forget  the funny factor)

I was thinking today about how once I fell of a clinician stool in a clinic full of patients and other physical therapists.  I was moving from point A to point B while rolling on the stool between my two patients and caught the wheel on a towel on the floor.  I laughed along with everyone and announced that I’d planned that!  No embarrassment—okay very, very minimal.

So could I feel that same way about my life today?  Could I look at some of the “revolting developments” like my mother used to call them – those frustrations of life and act like I planned those and laugh about it?  Hmmmmmmmm….. really, did I and could I?

I’ve been learning about co-dependent arising of energy and it’s complicated but we could say it has to do with that k word that everybody cringes about—karma.  There’s good karma too and lots of it and I’ve got a lot of that going and I think we all do, so why do we tend to be focused on the opposite?  Good questions to contemplate in meditation to get a personal view.  But Buddhism already has some of the well thought out and logical insight already there on the plate but fair warning—there “ain’t” no savior in Buddhism; it’s all you and if you can’t handle that one, best not go there. 

But one part of Buddhism has to do with just looking at what we think of as reality and not arguing with it and just seeing it as the illusion it is.  When we energize the illusion by getting all excited about it, we create all those “arising’s” as we drift farther away from …. What’s the best word to use here?  Tranquility Base!  Yeah, I know, it’s a 60’s reference to the Moon landing but I like it. 

Tranquility Base
Tranquility Base

To me that’s the core and base still mind that simply just IS and there is no thought there on tranquility base, simply tranquility.  The more we drift away from tranquility base and play in illusion and energize the thoughts that create the illusion, the less tranquility we have and the more cause and effect, ugh, that K word.  With positive karma in mind and realizing we can’t just sit in tranquility base 24-7 (we do have to engage in certain functions), the more we energize the most positive illusions, the better.

All of this is another way of saying what all the modernized teachers are saying which are the ancient teachings of Buddhism. 

Anyway, I’m going to pretend just for today that no matter what has happened recently and what is happening now that I planned it like that; I’m going to agree with it just like when I fell off the stool.  No resistance, no trying to make it any different—these frustrations, these “revolting developments”… I planned it that way and let me laugh at it all like I did when I fell off the stool.  No need to take it all so seriously—right? 

However these things arise, these developments, some have to do with me and others don’t—life is as life is.  I can’t take credit for everything and I can’t be blamed for it all either; I am only a part of it as I breathe in and breathe out… it’s an illusion and what affects me personally, I planned it that way and it’s funny.  Why?  Because it’s all an illusion and it’s only as serious as my mind makes it! 

I had quite a laugh earlier today reading an email from a Buddhist friend of mine who, like me, just made it through another x-tian holiday with x-tian family members and reading it had me laughing out loud!  It so helps to have others who get the illusion and find humor in it!  Hey, I planned it that way!

We’ve All Been There or Will Be Eventually; Sharing Common Experiences of Loss; This one’s for my brother – Oracle Wisdom from Tarot 5 of Cups

I am thinking of my brother this morning and his very ill wife, hospitalized and last we heard not expected to remain on this plane much longer.   My brother is very far away geographically and isn’t often in-touch but still—what can we do or say in this situation?  Generally, what can we who are on the outside do in this type of situation? 

I am not sure of the question and that’s really never good in divination methodology.  I guess, thinking back to a moment ago, the question in mind just as I pulled the card is what advice could I give to my brother?

Can the Tarot Oracle help in some way when there is a loss of some type or in situations like with my brother, when someone is facing the eminent loss of a spouse? 

It is not surprising at all that I drew the card of the 5 of Cups.  Just look at the image above and how it relates to my brother who is facing some difficult days ahead with his wife in the hospital not expected to live much longer.

Let us find some wisdom here for him or for others who may have a similar situation of some type or who are dealing in any way with loss.

Blood is spilled on the table in the image and something cannot be reversed—once blood is spilled from the cup (in some tarot decks they say ‘milk’ instead of blood)… anyway, once it is spilled, it cannot go back into the cup.  Here we can see the symbol-ogy of loss for sure and the man in the image is staring into nothingness, perhaps in shock and sadness.

We’ve all been in that state at one time or another in life and if you haven’t ‘been there, done that’, chances are it’s only a matter of time before you know exactly how that guy on the card is feeling.

It’s a shock and one needs sometimes that immobility and withdrawal to process what happened.  I am thinking of an episode on Grey’s Anatomy (TV series) when Izzie laid on the bathroom floor in her gown for a good many hours processing the loss of the man who she saved medically and died suddenly from a complication from a heart transplant.  He had just proposed to her and she’d accepted.

Life and death are part of life and while we celebrate births, we generally mourn death; yet, it is such a common experience to life—especially as we ourselves grow older.  And while I don’t know if this would help my brother or not (believe it or not, I barely know him), maybe there can be some comfort found in knowing that these moments or loss are common and perhaps some solace can be found in knowing that what one feels is something that has commonly been felt by so many others who have experienced such similar losses.  It may help to remember that in life we have common shared experiences.  We may think that no one else could possibly understand how we feel – but others do.  They had the courage to see things through and so will you—others understand and will help.

In my mind I am seeing a heart –shaped cup which has been broken.  Cups in Tarot relate to the suit of hearts in regular playing cards and also to emotions.  I think the important thing that this card reminds us of has to do with not feeling regret—this, indeed, is self-punishment at a time when the emotions are difficult enough.  Do not blame yourself for there was nothing you could have done; when it is someone’s time, it is just as perfectly timed and divine and as it should be as when a flower opens and blooms.  Birth and death alike happen in exact timing—or so goes my belief about it all.

If our birth chart is in perfect order (and I believe it is) then why should the time of death be any different?  It is exactly as it should be.  One of our greatest lessons in life is to accept what “is” and surrender to that–death is a teacher for us in that regard.  “Grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change….” as the prayer goes.

Typically this card speaks these words, “a depressed man mourns the loss of something that was a great comfort”.  I don’t think I could have pulled a more appropriate card considering the issue in mind when I did the shuffle.  This man must remember that all is not lost and he must consider a decision about what to do next or where/how he would like his life to be now.  All is not lost as there are still several cups still upright on the mantle nearby—that’s what those cups there mean; they represent rebounding after a difficult loss.

When we are grieving, it is hard to see those cups or to focus on asset or any advantages—that comes later, but it does come.  The warning has to do with not overindulging in the grieving process but to rather re-evaluate life from the changed situation.

It takes great imagination if one isn’t customarily working in areas of the afterlife to imagine the loved on being happy, content, liberated and free.  Humans are usually to focused on their own loss and imagine the loved one being as sorrowful as they are.  I don’t know if my brother would be able to understand how relieved his wife will be to become liberated from her body which has become a difficulty for her spirit.

If he can remember that to some degree, then he can allow his own survival instincts to kick in and this will help to alleviate his grief.  Eventually, he will focus on the gifts of life again rather than what has been lost—that’s what those two remaining cups are about.  One affirmation that can eventually be used to help those who have suffered a great loss of any kind is this one:  “From my loss I gain the experience to create a brighter tomorrow.”  I know at the time the loss is new and fresh, this type of affirmation seems ridiculous, but healing will take place and there will be brighter tomorrows; you’ll see.

I love you brother!  — and for casual readers of this blog, i hope there is something here for you to use somehow for yourself or with which to help others.