Acceptance, Not Transcendence

What a wonderful, absolutely unpredictable Adventure life can be. One moment, we’re drowning in a viscous whirlpool and hoping the end comes soon. In the next moment we’re enjoying a lazy backstroke in a beautiful mountain lake feeling grateful to be alive. Yikes!

On Saturday, the coin flip said “heads” and I could not have been happier. At the end of a full day of yoga teacher training, my heart was bursting with joy. Then we went out to a delicious dinner with Steph, Gary and Judy courtesy of a gift certificate from Helen.

Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

On Monday, the coin flipped to “tails” and everything seemed like a slog through quicksand. We spent the day writing songs and almost every single one was a grind to complete. Two of the teachers were absent, the kids were sluggish and we learned that tomorrow’s recording sessions needed to be truncated due to another school activity. Blech.

Of course, I remember the Serenity Prayer at moments like this: God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

And I’d add one thing. God, help me to accept that every hard experience is bound to be followed by an easy one in time. It’s just the way life pulses, in and out, Yin and Yang, work and play, success and failure.

My oh my I wished and hoped that life’s twists and turns would lead to a transcendent moment when I could rest and say, “I’m fine, Lord! No need for any more tests. I’ve figured it all out!”

But I’m learning from beings wiser than I that the path to Nirvana is a hoax. We are trapped in these decaying but amazing bodies, bound to experience a little peace followed by a war and then – surprise – the record ends and repeats. It’s like a spiral up a mountain that gets easier for a time, then gets harder until that one day when the music stops and one chair, our’s, is gone.

It’s actually a cause for mirth, a comedy , an illusion inside a house of mirrors. We try to make sense of it, but then we strip away the layers and learn we’ve been living in a snow globe.

In spite of this, I still believe some humans must try and make sense of it all. I am constructed, for better or ill, to seek and understand, to shout at the top of the mountain, “I get it!” and then realize, “Nope. There’s more.”

Image by morhamedufmg from Pixabay

Is it possible that all of the philosophers from Aristotle to Machiavelli, from Patanjali to Lao Tzu may have believed one thing on Tuesday and changed their minds by the following Spring? Yup. I’m not in their league, of course, but ideas evolve. Heck, even John Lennon, a terribly smart dude, changed from behaving like a misogynist to a feminist in the space of a few years.

This can give us hope. If Lennon can change, so can George Santos. It’s possible. And I’d like to live in a world where we can say, “George? How about we get you a therapist and work on this?” It’s better than hating and dismissing him.

Representative George Santos, NY

So, what helps when another person or a situation pushes our buttons? I need to become “buttonproof,” to have the emotional agility to switch from imagining quicksand or judging a congressman to accepting that everything that happens to us is meant to evolve us spiritually. This is the essence of Tantric philosophy, to accept life’s tests as a benevolent classroom for our spiritual development.

I’m shouting it from the mountain top today.

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