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News - Final Word
Tuesday, 23 August 2016 20:20
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Girlfriend, do you know the difference between ‘clean’ pain and ‘dirty’ pain?

According to psychologists who advocate acceptance and commitment therapy, ‘clean’ pain is what we feel when some external hurtful thing happens to us. ‘Dirty’ pain is caused by our thoughts about the thing that happened.

Life coach Martha Beck writes that these two kinds of suffering occupy different sections of the brain: There is a part that simply registers events, and another part that creates a continuous stream of thoughts about those events. Most of our unhappiness comes from painful thoughts about reality and not from the painful reality itself.

Author Madisyn Taylor agrees that it is the way we look at our experiences that causes the turmoil inside us. She says that it is only when we become aware that the struggle we’re having is with ourselves, that we can turn our attention to the external event.

Only then can we release ourselves from the grip we had on our emotions and stop limiting ourselves. Opening ourselves to a willingness to see things differently may feel like we are surrendering or abandoning all that we believed, Madisyn says. Actually, it is an open hand rather than one that is clenched into a fist.

In her book, ‘The Fear Cure’, Lissa Rankin says that when you master the art of surrender, you come into right relationship with uncertainty. It means that you no longer depend on fear to keep you safe.

Only then can you face the reality of a situation without labelling it as either good or bad.

Eckhart Tolle writes that you have to acknowledge the Isness of the situation without judgment or comment. Of course the habits of a lifetime mean that this might be rather difficult for you.

Few of us have grown up learning how to accept and detach, but the thing you have to remember, girlfriend, is that ‘acceptance’ does not mean ‘approval’.

Eckhart says if you cannot accept what is outside, then accept what is inside. This means that you’d do best if you don’t resist the pain. Allow it to be there. Surrender to the despair, grief, loneliness or whatever form your suffering takes. Witness it without labelling it mentally.

According to Martha Beck, learning to detach simply starts with noticing your own judgmental thoughts. Do you find yourself using words such as ‘should’ or ‘ought’? You’re trying to control a situation when you obsess about what should be rather than accept what is. Resisting what you can’t control removes you from reality. The result is a terrible emptiness, which we usually blame on our failure to change the situation to our liking. Actually it comes from refusing to accept what is.

If you find yourself in a state of non-surrender, just allow it to be, says Eckhart. Don’t fight it. If you do, it just adds more non-surrender to it. When a ‘no!’ comes up in you – notice it and accept it completely.

Eckhart says that the pain that you create now is always some form of non-acceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to the present moment and that which is. Your mind resists the Now because it cannot stay in control without time, which is past and future, so it perceives the timeless Now as threatening.

According to Eckhart all negativity is caused by denial of the present. “Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.”

The solution is to withdraw time from the situation. Don’t give it any past or future. Let it force you into intense present-moment awareness. “Nothing has happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now.”

So, where are you now, girlfriend? Whatever situation you’re in, it is as it is. Accept that. Breathe in. Breathe out. Unclench your fists and, without labelling, look around you. What do you see? What do you hear? Feel the back of your legs on the chair, the weight of your feet on the floor.

Full acceptance is nothing more than full attention. And you, girlfriend, are awareness camouflaged as a woman.

 

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