This ‘It’s like this now! What is my wisest response?’ tool is so helpful. It has saved me from so much angst and unhelpful reactions to, 'what is happening now'! have spent way too much time arguing with reality (what is happening now), protesting that things should somehow be different from how they actually are! As Byron Katie questions “Got stress? You are arguing with reality.” Remembering to apply this tool again and again to ‘what is happening now’, instead of arguing against it is so liberating. Acceptance of how it is now and questioning what my wisest response is to what is unfolding allows me to find the blessing in a situation and turn a potential problem into an opportunity to learn and grow.
So how do I argue with reality? Arguing with reality for me is my non-acceptance of how things are and the protest that somehow, they should be different from how they actually are!! And as Byron Katie says it is stressful! I was reminded of this several times during my recent trip where I had the opportunity to practice acceptance of many so-called unwanted situations and remember to apply a wise response (although, not always on the spot!). Having done my best with a wise response, I can choose to let go of the result and trust all is unfolding as it is meant to be. This is liberating and allows me to find the blessing or life lesson and turn the so-called problem into an opportunity to grow and learn.
I usually argue with reality when things are not going the way I think they should. Like when we found ourselves on a walk in the beautiful hill country near Ella and we got lost, plagued by leeches, wet may pants to avoid a leech on the bottom and fell in a stream! My protests of ‘the map should be better, they should have told us about the leeches, this shouldn’t be happening, this is going to be a disaster, swearing and hysteria…….etc’ were certainly not helping the situation. Protests of blame, nonacceptance and fear of the future are certainly not my wisest response to ‘what is happening now’ - ‘lost and leeches’. Fortunately, Kate kept it together for both of us and found a reference point to get us going in the right direction toward home. So, what was the blessing in this situation? To accept, look for the wisest response and trust. All ended well, we met some lovely people who helped us, and had such a good laugh and fun on our adventure. We discovered that leeches are harmless, our bites finally stopped bleeding, we had fun turning our room into a first aid centre and have a story to share!
Another potential argument with reality was when I found myself at the airport with excess baggage! I watched my mind go into blame, victim and criticism mode. Useful? No! Instead I accepted the situation and decided I would see the excess baggage money like the money I could have spent on a business class upgrade. So now I was travelling business class, well not really, but sort of, as it transpired. It was a full plane and I found myself seated next to a woman whose boyfriend was seated next to a toddler, a few rows ahead of us. I offered to swap seats with him so they could be together. ‘Thanks, but no need, I think my boyfriend has sorted it” was her reply. Shortly after take-off they both disappeared down the back of the plane leaving me with two seats to myself! Thank you for my business class upgrade!
And yet a third potential argument was when I was attempting to set up a skype English language class between Anne in Australia and the women at the shelter and discovered the shelter did not have internet or a computer. Again, what is required is acceptance and a wise response! Miraculously we found a way thanks to a computer found in a cupboard, a dongle, Janaki's husband and daughter and a helpful Belgian student.
I also realised I can argue with reality when things are going ‘right’ too. Like when we found ourselves in the most wonderful Geoffrey Bawa Hotel in the jungle in Kandalama! I argue with the fact we are staying there the night by telling myself "it is too extravagant, I am not worthy of being there, or trying to justify it, etc…' And I am there, and it is paid for! Instead of arguing, a much wiser response would be to accept, appreciate and enjoy it!
Other useful tools that I had the opportunity to use whilst away included gratitude, patience, and appreciation. I was often reminded how important it was to do my best to connect with others respectfully and in appreciation. More about this next fortnight.
In appreciation for you all