I wrote about the idea of acceptance a while back. In this draft, I wanted to explore the differences between acceptance and resistance from a practical standpoint.
Resistance means not understanding things as they are and creating a series of thoughts and emotions around it. The thoughts we create get recorded in our memory and we keep referring to them in the future. Acceptance means understanding and putting a full stop to the situations from our past, so that nothing more gets recorded in the mind and therefore no past references are made in the future.
Resisting means not approving of things as they are. Acceptance means nothing gets registered in the mind from the moment we take responsibility. Freedom comes from accepting people and situations; freedom from pain, confusion, worry, anxiety, etc. With resistance, we get mixed up in emotions and thoughts and we keep questioning our situation as to why did things happen the way they did and hoping they’d turned out differently in the present, but this only drains our energy. For instance, I was resisting the situation with my partner for a brief while not too long ago, before I knew better.
It’s ironic that we force things to happen that are outside of our purview rather than let things take their natural course. We fight our situations and resist change, but impermanence is the only thing that is permanent. We cling to our circumstances refusing to adapt to the times because we like having control over our present, which inevitably creates friction.
Whether it’s people or situations in our lives, we can either accept or resist them, but we can’t change a situation. We cannot change things by resisting them. This way, we are only depleting our soul power. The problem is, we keep questioning things from our past, but this way, we keep our focus on the problem, which doesn’t help our cause as we move forward. I know this sounds obvious when we think about it, but when it comes to doing it in the real world, I suspect few of us are able to practice acceptance with any regularity because we are dependent on others for our happiness in some way.
Acceptance is a huge part of embracing the moment. I shared earlier:
If you think about it, we only ever have two options: we can either embrace this moment or resist. But, do know, whatever we resist will persist. To resist things is futile. It only makes it harder for us to be. The only real choice we have is to accept each moment willingly for what it is. It’s easier to swim with the tide than against it.
Now, it might seem a better option to resist things in the short-term, but the longer we hold onto things, the harder it becomes for us to be free. Acceptance may seem like a tough pill to swallow right now, but it’s the only way to move forward. Acceptance doesn’t mean we are giving up. It simply means we recognize and understand our current situation for what it is. It allows us to be free from the shackles of denial and move forward creating a new path for ourselves.
When we keep resisting situations or people, it gets harder to live our lives, lest we forget the obstacle is the way forward. There is no escaping it. It’s (relatively) easier to deal with the challenges in our life head-on, rather than live in denial about it. While it might be difficult to deal with the situations in the short term, the latter approach will sap our energy and leave us drained. That’s the last thing we want.
With resistance, our focus is on others, but with acceptance, we only need to focus on our karma. We need to change our thoughts. We need to think about only that which we want to happen in our lives (and cut out the rest). Let’s remember, what we give out is what we get; nothing is unfair in life. As is our karma, so will be our destiny. This understanding alone heals the mind.
Ask yourself a few times a day: am I accepting or resisting? For instance, if you find yourself playing old tapes in your head or you find yourself anticipating future conversations with others, you’re resisting, because both of those are wasteful thoughts.
When we find it difficult to practice acceptance, we can ask ourselves the virtues we get to practice in the situation we find ourselves in. Do we need more compassion, kindness, or empathy?
The second we stop resisting, we stop thinking about the past and we focus on the present. We have accepted our situation for what it is, and now we are focused on doing something about it. I know that not thinking about the past (a wasteful thought) is easier said than done, but we need to get a grip on ourselves, as we alone are responsible for creating our every thought, and by extension, every feeling, and behavior. So, for instance, if you don’t feel the same about your relationship as you once did, chances are you’ve created different thoughts about it based on past situations, which blocks you from receiving love, but our situations aren’t responsible for how we feel.
In future, it would help us if we remain detached to the energy of people and situations in our lives, so when we come across a similar situation, we don’t have to work on it because we’ll be emotionally in-dependent to begin with, which will make it natural for us to accept the present and move forward in a stable and centered way.
The more we resist things, the more we will hold onto them, and the more we enslave ourselves to them. The more we are able to accept everyday situations, the more we will be able to let go, and the freer we will be. Freedom comes from acceptance, not resistance.
When we stop resisting people and situations in our lives, we see the world in a whole new way out of acceptance, love, and compassion. We accept each moment for what it is and experience it fully and without expectation. Remember, no matter how each moment turns out, we always have the ability to respond and to experience the next moment.
Here’s the thing, happiness is only possible when we accept everyone as they are, at every moment, in every situation. While it’s tempting to resist our situations by way of thinking about it endlessly, nothing good will come of it. This way, we will only be stuck in the problem. We need to accept our situation for what it is, before we can do something about it. Freedom comes from acceptance, not resistance. Come to think of it, acceptance is the (relatively) easier option than its counterpart in the long term. The sooner we realize this, the quicker we’ll set ourselves free.