We struggle in life because of a tenacious habit of wanting life to be different from what it is: The room you are in is too warm, you don’t like your job, or your partner isn’t quite the person of your dreams. You adjust the thermostat, get a new job, or tell your partner what you need. Now it’s too cool, you are earning less money, or your partner has found some flaws in you. The more we try to make life conform to our desires, the more we struggle, and the more we suffer. The only way out of this vicious cycle is to accept what arises, completely: in other words, do nothing.
Paradoxically, such radical acceptance opens a way of living that we could hardly have imagined.
Ken McLeod, “Something from Nothing”
Yes, but sometimes it’s worth taking less money to have a job you enjoy more. And what’s wrong with telling your partner what you need … or with having perceivable and understood flaws?
Acceptance is an undeniably vital component of happiness and peace, but I for one could never be happy or peaceful if all I ever did was “nothing.” I see a time and a place for doing what is needed, especially if it is done skillfully. Maybe that means drinking a cool glass of water rather than turning on the air conditioning, and it certainly does mean expressing yourself and your needs to your loved ones in a clear and compassionate way.
I don’t think the answer is accepting everything and doing nothing. I think it’s accepting circumstances, doing what is needed and then accepting the outcomes of that action and doing what is needed at that moment.
Somebody pass the ice cubes.