How To Live With Uncertainty
August 31, 2018
written by Kristina Renée
“If you knew your potential to feel good, you would ask no one to be different so that you can feel good. You would free yourself of all of that cumbersome impossibility of needing to control the world, or control your mate, or control your child.”
— Abraham Hicks
On releasing Attachments through Acceptance
We are immersed in a culture of "letting our attachments go", yet just how do we do that when we have been taught to define ourselves as our attachments through our familial, social, religious, spiritual and economic spheres? Just how do we create enough space from our attachments to understand first, what they are and then secondly, to release them?
Pema Chodron, a Tibetain Buddhist teacher, nun, author and speaker says, "as human beings we share a tendency to scramble for certainty whenever we realize that everything around us is in flux. In difficult times the stress of trying to find solid ground -- something predictable and safe to stand on -- seems to intensify. But in truth, the very nature of our existence is forever in flux. Everything keeps changing, whether we are aware of it or not."
In fact, because of our need for security in an ever changing system of flux, we often don't realize what our attachments are and how they are the driving force to what we do in our lives. However, many of us become highly aware of our attachments when we are met with resistance. We need resistance in our life. I wouldn't be surprised if you felt some resistance in reading that last sentence. Resistance allows for the miraculous unveiling of our deepest wounds and attachments because it is the obstacle that we GET to choose how to move through. Notice the word I used, "that we get to"!
In the practice of Mindfulness, the shifts and the unexpected become an agent for the grand opportunity of self discovery and inner freedom. Often the uncertainty and the changes become the ignitiator for the deeper work. To understand this on a bigger scale, you could examine what we call the "life changing events".
For example, think of your own life and can you recall a time that was life changing for you? What was it? You probably had one, but most likely you have had a few. Was it a drastic change in your life? A divorce, cancer, the loss of a loved one, a job, the birth of your child, the death of your child, past trauma, a relocation, promotion, a business, foreclosure, an illness, chronic pain, etc? In that experience can you recall the attachments that came up for you? Can you remember the resistance you felt towards it? You are probably very aware of them now as you look back on them. And can you remember the exact moment during that time that you chose to let go of a fixed idea around your circumstance?
“Change does not hurt, attachments do"
- yung pueblo
Your resistance can either be your medicine or your suffering.
Perhaps, you had a belief "I will never be a divorcee" and then it happened. Now, you became the thing you were so attached to not being. The question is how long will you allow yourself to suffer? Because we all do at some point, get caught in the cycle of suffering. It's a part of our human process. But let's say, because you feel the resistance of this new divorcee circumstance, instead you pause in that uncomfortable space long enough to see it for what it is -- a belief that you made up or chose to take on to have some sense of ground, some form of control.
What if you realize that you are the one who holds the key to releasing this attachment? That key is accepting yourself exactly where you are + as you are, even when it's uncomfortable. Maybe you even hear yourself say, "I told myself I would never be a divorcee and now I am." And what if you went a step further and started saying, "I once believed I would never get divorced and then I got divorced, and I love myself + accept myself as I am".
Practicing acceptance is a life long journey. It takes a dedication to realizing that every time we are trying to control other people or a situation of uncertainty we are navigating on our attachments to put ground under our feet, to realize as Pema Chodron says, "our dream of constant okayness." As we become aware of this unconscious behavior, we can choose to move towards our pain with a compassionate heart and accept our uneasiness just as it is. You see "when we resist change, it's called suffering" says Chodron; she goes on to say that "when we completely let go and not struggle against it, when we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into its dynamic quality, it's called enlightenment, or awakening to our true nature, to our fundamental goodness."
Would you be willing to partake in a practice?
I encourage you to explore your attachments and be open to embracing the uncertainty by practicing acceptance. Here are some steps on how to do so!
First, begin by understanding how you define yourself in this life culturally, familial, socially, financially, spiritually, etc. Then notice how you respond if those were taken away from you or you were defined in a different way. Notice the attachements that come up for you around your identity.
Second, I encourage you to partake in PAUSING when you notice yourself coming up against resistance, either you are resistant or someone else is towards you; just pause, take a moment to breathe in and out. This will interrupt the conditioned pattern to react to the resistance of change and uncertainty and allow you to move into step three.
Thirdly, feel your heart and become fully present in that moment. What is it that you are really feeling under the resistance to change?
And lastly, see from there if you can engage in the next moment without any agenda or fixed idea, without an attachment?