I now accept that the secret to inner peace is to love what is. It’s as simple or as hard as that. There is no need to devote myself to decades of self improvement courses or for me to adopt any particular metaphysical worldview. If I can love what is, it means that I’m already standing on the winner’s podium of life. Of course this is all easier said than done, and there is a multimillion dollar industry out there that promises to teach us to develop such radical acceptance. My experience has been that this ‘loving what is’ is a choice I make from moment to moment, and it is not something I need to learn how to do. Reading about acceptance, or attending seminars on the topic, might just be a form of procrastination.
Developing the Ability to Love What Is
It is not earth shattering news to hear that the way to become good at something is to continuously practice. The more we do something the easier it will be for us to repeat it in the future (with the exception of my guitar playing). There is plenty of science to back this up. It has been shown that the brain creates stronger neural pathways for those things that are repeated frequently.
It can be a frustrating process, but we can train our mind to be more positive or more accepting toward life. It takes time and shortcuts might actually be a waste of time. I’m not that good at this type of deliberate dedicated practice over the long term, but there is an easier way. Just by committing myself to living life on life’s terms, I’m naturally developing an increased ability to love what is. Notice that I’m not saying here that I do live life on life’s terms; I’m just saying that this is something I’m committed to. I have good days and bad days, but each of the good days takes me further along the path.
Living Life on Life’s Terms
I found out the hard way that going against the flow in life leads to suffering. Every time that I try to hide from reality, or worse resist it, I end up in a world of pain. If you read my blog regularly, you will have no problem finding examples of where I’ve messed up in this regard. When the shit hits the fan the temptation is to fall into old habits. It can take a bit of time before I remember my commitment to live my life on life’s terms, but once I do this the suffering ends. I can see that I’m making progress because the gaps between life throwing me a wobbly and me actually dealing with things is narrowing – most of the time.
It is only a short hop and a skip from living life on life’s terms to loving what is. This is because when I’m resisting something there is no way that I can appreciate it. By dealing with things I get to see that there is always something in life to celebrate. Even on the shittiest day it is possible to find moments of joy. Days that are truly shitty are quite rare, and they pass.