If we truly want to experience freedom, we have to start by letting go of the need to be in control. As we stop trying to control what we are feeling, what is happening around us, how people are behaving around us and even what other people are thinking about us, we totally relax. We accept whatever we are feeling in this moment, we accept our life circumstances as they are in this moment, and we give others the freedom to be exactly as they are.
When we cease our efforts to control and change everything, and instead we just focus on being in a relaxed and open state, we accept what this moment presents us with, both internally and externally, while remaining aware of how we can best respond to what is arising.
We hear the word “acceptance” a lot, and essentially what it means on a practical level is that we stop resisting things; e.g. external situations, inner thoughts and feelings and the people we find ourselves around.
When we resist something, our body tenses up, and it says “no, I don’t want to experience this, I don’t want to be open to this” and in a subtle way, we shut down our feelings, we shut down our sensitivity and to a degree we close our heart. This is all in the name of self-preservation, but it is based on the premise that by resisting something, we can be free of its influence.
But this is not totally accurate, because it assumes that that which we are resisting has the power to disturb our peace, has the power to make us suffer. But nothing is greater or stronger than Peace, nothing can conquer it, because it contains the full power of the universe. Everything, without exception, dissolves in the face of true Peace, if we remain open and allow it to flow through us in it’s true power. It is like a universal fire of consciousness that transforms everything it encounters into more consciousness.
But if we tense up our body in resistance to something – anything, because it really doesn’t matter what it is – then this flame of consciousness cannot burn brightly through our being. We cannot feel our true power as a being who is vaster than any single thing that can arise within our consciousness. Nothing is greater than our consciousness, therefore it cannot be threatened, and has no need to protect itself.
If we could just experience this for a few moments, just see how everything that arises within our inner and outer life is a small wave, whilst we are the vast ocean, we would never choose resistance again. We would see that it is resistance that creates our suffering, because by resisting we are enforcing the believe that who we truly are can be threatened.
When fears arise in our mind as thoughts or mental pictures, there is no need to push them away. There is no need to tense up in fear of those thoughts! They simply cannot harm you. It is only the fear of them, the physical resistance to them that is painful and that harms you, because your entire being contracts, and essentially stops your life-force flowing. Your heart contracts in tension and you stop allowing the power of the universe to flow through you in a peaceful and joyful manner. Instead you experience a diminished sense of inner-light as your entire life-force literally shrinks.
Heart attacks occur when the heart has become so tense, so contracted, so unable to open to the natural forces of life, that it malfunctions and essentially collapses. This is the eventual consequence of allowing fear to build up, over and over again, without being challenged, without being released in some way. A person eventually finds that they have become so afraid that they simply cannot open their heart to life, and therefore they are unable continue to live.
If we truly want to live, and to live in happiness, we have to let go of the inner tensions within our heart and within our body. They arise all the time, and we notice them mostly as the accompanying thought (which originally created them) arises in our mind. It is usually a very common thought we have about our state of insecurity in life.
If we engage with and accept that thought as a fact each time it arises, we remain controlled by that fear. We remain fearful of the reality which that thought presents in our mind, and thus we shrink back once again in the face of something which has been created by our mind. This is what keeps our heart oppressed. Our heart has to be stronger than our thinking mind. It is essential. It has to be stronger if we are to allow ourselves to experience true freedom.
The good news is that no effort is required to let go of fear. No grand confrontation needs to be made. We simply have to relax our body. We simply bring our attention away from the thoughts, and come back to a sense of groundedness, a calm feeling of inner-security, of being totally safe and unthreatened in this moment. We do this by relaxing. A relaxed body is a statement to the entire universe that we perceive no threat. And if we perceive no threat, then no threat exists. Threat exists in the mind of the perceiver, not in the outside world. We decide whether the world is a threatening place or not.
If we tense up in response to every little thing that arises, everything we hear or read, every challenging situation, then we are affirming that life is a threatening experience. But if instead we choose to relax in the face of everything that arises, including fearful thoughts, then we affirm and experience the reality that we can remain connected to peace no matter what is happening in the world or in our mind. This is unshakeable peace, and it is something we would all deeply benefit from developing, because if our peace is unshakeable then our heart remains strong.
A strong heart means a life rich with happiness, rich with warmth, friendship, compassion and joy, because a strong heart is a free heart. It is free of tension, free of tightness, free of any form of restriction, and thus it can expand as it needs to. It can shine its light and share its love joyfully with the world as it truly needs to, and thus experience the fulfilment that comes from being a vessel of joyful care and compassion.
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