Can we agree that most illness and disease is caused by excessive and prolonged stress? Good. While the usual healthy stress-busters are tried and true, they’re old. This post explains the single, most effective activity you can practice now to bring you more health.
In the recent issue of Healthy Directions, Byron Katie writes a superb piece titled, “Loving What Is” (click on the link and flip to pages 46 & 47 to read the full article). She suggests that all suffering originates from wanting reality to be different than what it is.
Have you ever noticed how many `shoulds’ you think or say in a day? He should do this… I should be this… She should have said… It shouldn’t have happened that way…
According to Ms. Katie, all of these judgments of reality add up to mentally arguing with what IS and causes us stress in the form of tension, anxiety and frustration.
When we wallow in these negative thoughts and feelings, the stress they cause actually block us from moving forward. Our creative energy is stunted and so if there is some action we can perform to alleviate our suffering, we usually fail to see it. By accepting what is, we instantly reduce our stress and open our minds to possible solutions.
When we stop opposing reality, action becomes simple, kind, and fearless.
Ms. Katie identifies 3 kinds of business in the world: our own, other people’s and God’s (or the Universe, Allah, Vishnu…). For her, God means `reality’ because it rules. When we mentally involve ourselves with the business of others or God, it prevents us from being present in our own business. We become separate from ourselves.
This self-separation, believing our thoughts to be true and being attached to them causes suffering. When you think of it, this practice of being in any other business than our own is futile because there is nothing we can do to change things – they are outside of our control!
What IS in our control?
Although Ms. Katie disagrees in the article, I believe we can learn to control our thoughts and emotions.
Everything in the universe has it’s opposite. There would be no inside to a room without an outside… The law of Polarity not only states that everything has an opposite… it is equal and opposite… If it is 150 miles from Manchester to London, by law it must be 150 miles from London to Manchester; it could not be any other way…
Realize that every situation JUST IS; you make it negative or positive by virtue of how you choose to think about the situation. When you look at the situation one way and find it is negative, you can change your perspective and look at it from the opposite viewpoint and find, it will be positive.
Our judgmental thoughts may pop into our heads instantaneously, and if we can forgive ourselves for them, we can find the positive and `flip the switch’ (like my hubby likes to say). Like meditation, it comes with practice and is only a matter of time in building what Motivatorman calls, `an indestructible optimism’.
Tips for accepting what is & being healthier now
Next time you’re suffering, follow these steps:
- Be aware of negative thoughts and/or emotions.
- Stop and take a few deep breaths.
- Forgive yourself for these negative thoughts/emotions. Although they are destructive, you’re human and it’s completely natural.
- Ask yourself: “Have I suffered enough?” If no, by all means, continue the pity party! It’s always your choice. But if you’re ready for peace, continue to step 5.
- Identify the source: Are you judging yourself, others or the Universe?
- If you’re in God’s business: accept that you cannot change reality and know that there is an equal positive somewhere. Come to terms with the possibility that you may never discover it.
- If you’re in someone else’s business: release your emotions and forgive them if you feel they harmed you. One way to do this, as Ms. Katie suggests, is to write down your “judgments about any stressful situation in your life, past, present, or future – about a person you dislike or a situation with someone who angers or frightens or saddens you”.
- If you’re in YOUR business: i) Journal what you DO want in the present tense, as if you already are living this ideal reality; ii) Brainstorm actions that you can take to change things; iii) Take action! iv) If there’s nothing you can do to change reality, then change your thoughts about it. Accept reality, look for the positive and love it!
If you have the time, please read Byron Katie’s titillating article. If you’re in a rush, I’d like to share her enlightening closing paragraph:
See who you are by seeing who you think other people are. Eventually you come to see that everything outside you is a reflection of your own thinking. You are the storyteller, the projector of all stories, and the world is the projected image of your thoughts.
What do you think about accepting what is? Are these tips useful? Please chime in with your thoughts in the comment section below!