For the first 20 years of my life, I stayed safely within my comfort zone. And, after gathering two decades’ worth of data, I can conclusively say that it was an awesome strategy for keeping myself miserable.
I wrote before about understanding the nature of suffering, and so I thought the logical progression would be then to talk about its complement, the thing we do want – happiness. If we accept that suffering is made of resistance, it holds that happiness is the lack of resistance. If you look closely, you’ll see how true this is.
Despite what you may have heard, mindfulness is not a particularly “spiritual” practice. You’re simply noticing what’s going on around and inside you in the present moment without judging it. Instead of the usual human experience of being blindfolded by a constant stream of judgments, worries, regrets, emotions, and conditioned responses, once you become mindful, you start to actually see and participate in the world around you.
Most people I meet seem to think that practicing acceptance will make you either a guilty bystander who colludes with injustice, or a slack-jawed couch potato with drool running down your chin. When I use the word “acceptance” in session, my clients look at me with wide-eyed terror as if I were suggesting they just roll over and die. Clearly, I have some explaining to do.