Yogi-Warrior: Working with Change

We can spend a great deal of time wishing things to be different, to be better. Maybe there are things about ourselves that we want to change, maybe to stop behaving a certain way, to stop the habit of procrastinating, or the habit of unhelpful thinking or the way we react to certain situations. Sound familiar?

Before we can make any changes we have to be clear about what it is that we are working with. For us to see clearly we have to have the awareness and insight into what it is that we wish to work with. Once we have a glimpse of this the first stage we have to work with is acceptance. Accepting that we are the way we are.

Unfortunately, the English word ‘acceptance’ has certain connotations, which can cause us to misunderstand what the process is all about. So when we approach acceptance of what is, it does not mean that we condone or approve of negative states of mind; it just means we see clearly what is going on. It also does not mean that when we accept something, that is it, we are stuck with it. It is not a state of resignation. It also does not mean that we have to like what is going on; it just means that we don’t have to fool ourselves about what is going on.

Acceptance is basChangeed on the understanding that reaction and resistance to what is happening brings with it just another level of confusion, anger, irritation, frustration on top of whatever is already creating difficulty for us, whether that be a certain way we are, or something that is out of our control.

Acceptance is a realistic way to approach our lives. It is a willingness to see clearly the facts as they are, even if they are difficult and troubling. Rather than adding to what is there. It enables us to start to move towards, work with what is difficult rather than moving away from it, denying it exists or hiding it under the carpet hoping that it will eventually disappear if we don’t pay any attention to it. Acceptance allows us to start from where we are, not where we think we ought to be, because how could we ever make any changes in our life if we don’t know where we are right now? By knowing who we are right now and accepting that where we are right now provides the foundations from where genuine change can take place.

There is a famous sutra – a teaching from the Buddha. According to this sutra even the wise and the good get struck by the first arrow; which is the unavoidable pain of life, like getting sick, making mistakes and experiencing various misfortunes; but most people are struck by a second arrow which is more painful than the first arrow because it lands very close to the initial wound, and this second arrow is the arrow of non-acceptance, resistance and struggle – not being willing to face or feel the wound of the first arrow.

Can we bring acceptance into our life? We can start by practicing on our yoga mat.

Can we be accepting of where our bodies are right now? The more accepting we become on our yoga mat, the more accepting we become in our daily lives, and writing from experience, when we let go of the ‘I want it to be like this’ so does the body, and change naturally emerges.

Happy Practice