Embracing the World Just as It Is

Recently I finished reading the small gem of a book, Living Beautifully With Uncertainty and Change, by Pema Chödrön, a well known Buddhist practitioner, writer, and teacher. In this book, she speaks of three commitments that are essential to the spiritual path, and this week, I chose to use the third one, "committing to embracing the world just as it is," as a theme for my yoga classes.

To accept the world as it is, is not easy. In fact, most of the time, it is quite difficult, especially when things are not unfolding the way that we planned. But one of the qualities we often notice when we embrace any practice - be it meditation, yoga, prayer, communing with nature, and so forth - is that over time, we become less reactive and we more easily accept things as they are. Here is some wisdom from this wonderful little book:

"The everyday practice is simply to develop a complete acceptance and openness to all situations and emotions, and to all people, experiencing everything totally without mental reservations and blockages, so that one never withdraws or centralizes into oneself."

"All the wars, all the hatred, all the ignorance, in the world come out of being so invested in our opinions. And at the bottom, those opinions are merely our efforts to escape the underlying uneasiness of being human, the uneasiness of feeling like we can't get grounded under our feet. So we hold on to our fixed ideas of this is how it is and disparage any opposing views. But imagine what the world would be like if we could come to see our likes and dislikes as merely likes and dislikes and what we take to intrinsically ture as just our personal viewpoint."  

"With this commitment we vow not to get in our own way, we vow to stop insisting that things be the way we want them to be and to stop insisting that the way we want them to be is the way they really are."

"The third commitment opens us to reality straight up. We're able to stay present with impermanence and death and with even the most frightening and humiliating moments of life. We're no longer looking for something other than right now, no longer looking for an ideal world... ' This is just how it is.'"

Wise thoughts to imbibe and reflect on - but certainly not easy to embody. But they do remind us that much of suffering is rooted in the fact that we don't embrace things in our lives just as they are...

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