One of the benefits of a meditation practice is that you’ll begin to experience an overall increase in feelings of calm and ease. This doesn’t mean that you’ll become indifferent or numb to life, but that you’ll be more skillfully responsive and less momentarily reactive. You’ll notice some space around your thoughts and emotions in which you can pause. You’ll likely turn to the practice in moments of chaos, stress, and emotional upset as a way to move through the difficulty. Instead of getting knocked off center and spinning out into fear, doubt, or worry, you’ll maintain a feeling of being grounded and sure even as you are overcome with difficult emotions. There will be a still point within you that you can return to as often as needed. You can take refuge there to regain your strength, cultivate compassion, or rest your mind. Cultivating this still point is the work of our practice.
Acceptance of what is takes practice. It is a practice, in fact. A practice of mindfulness that takes time and attention. In our fast-paced lives we may expect accepting what is to happen quickly, like flipping a switch. Sometimes it may work this way, but the bigger and harder things in life take time to accept and this is okay. When you’re practicing acceptance, you’re rewiring your brain.
It’s a lot like building muscle mass. If you begin a new exercise program for the purpose of becoming stronger, you don’t expect to end your first workout having achieved the final result of the program, do you? Nope. You know that it will take time. Weeks, months, perhaps even years, depending on where you were at physically when you began and the ultimate goal.
Changing our thinking takes time, too. It begins with small efforts, moments of mindfulness that we build into our days, and it grows from there.
Here’s a great acceptance practice from Rick Hansen: