How Can I Be Happy When Bad Things Happen?
This post offers an answer to that question. I call it Creative Acceptance and it works better for me when adversity strikes than any of the coping strategies outlined last time.
The idea is simple. Instead of resisting and railing against adversity, we allow it to deliver us into the present moment by completely accepting what is happening.
We don’t need to accept the whole situation, all that caused it (past) and all its outcomes (future), just the tiny sliver of it that is (now). This creates a gap in the stream of thought and also in the stream of time.
Nothing truly creative comes into this world except through that gap.
Use Adversity To Delve Deeper Into Now
Any disaster or misfortune can be used in this way. My experience is that when I remove thoughts of future and past and fully accept that things are as they are, a strange shift happens. It becomes more bearable. A space opens, its power loosens.
It transmutes, shifting from from negativity, resistance and suffering, to possibility, peace and serenity. From outer, conventional resistance to inner, creative awareness.
This is what Guatama Buddha meant when he said, “Pain is inevitible, suffering is optional”.
This does not mean that pretending all is dandy, when it clearly isn’t. Or that we don’t take steps to change our circumstances if we can and should. Just that instead of putting attention on thoughts of what has happened, how I feel, what it means, instead the attention goes into the open space of now.
This is a moment-by-moment endeavour and operates at two levels: the outer (ebb) and the inner (flow).
- The Ebb of Creative Acceptance
We allow the outer reality. The greater our degree of acceptance, the greater our state of grace and lightness and freedom from struggle.
- The Flow of Creative Acceptance
We allow the inner reality. Depending on the nature of the outer “problem” and the time cycle of your response, the degree of acceptance will vary.We also accept that, allow what is inside to be. The loneliness, grief, fear, despair or whatever form our inner suffering takes is witnessed, observed, even embraced if possible. We don’t think about it, we don’t add to it, we just allow it
So the challenge, always, in each unfolding moment, is to accept. To allow creation to continue, as it will, with us or without us.
Acceptance at both levels, the inner and the outer, transmutes at both levels. We go beyond mind-made opposites. we drop below the rocky ups and downs of visible life, into the ancient, deep groundwater beneath.
That is where we then choose to live, seeing the outer surfaces of life but abiding within the depths.
I wish we could flow/
as oceans tide,/
swelling with joy at our/
pulse to unfurl.
I feel we should roll/
as planets turn,/
dark days and seasons held/
level with light.
I sense we can grow/
as mountains rise/
from stresses rock setting/
solid and free.
I intend to go/
as children run,/
arms wide, smile plunging/
into full stop.