Arguing with reality is a common cause of suffering. We wonder how life might have been different had any number of events happened or not happened. We may decide we are unhappy because something happened, or failed to happen.
We seem hard-wired to reject things as they are. We want them to be different and insist on that, only to discover our worlds, inner and outer, descending into chaos. Occasionally the spirits, our employers, or our families confront us with the truth, overwhelming us with evidence. These actions, uncomfortable as they may be, are acts of kindness; inevitably, they are invitations to accept impending change.
Often we chose to hold on, the suffering we know appearing much less intimidating than the suffering we imagine. Usually this is a strategy that creates mountains of pain, yet it seems to be the brain’s fallback position. Yet, sometimes we marshal our courage and resources and soldier forward into the unknown. That may well be painful, too, yet offers the possibility of relief somewhere ahead. Noticing things as they are opens the door to change.
Ritual and ceremony remind us that change may yield renewal. They also provide bridges between the everyday and the unanticipated, between one way of being and another. Yet we may find ourselves resisting their use. Daily meditation, prayer, or simply walking in Nature are rituals available to all of us. Acknowledging the Directions, inviting the presence of the Ancestors and spirits, and offering tobacco to Pachamama and the Creator are simple, accessible ceremonies. Rising early to greet Father Sun requires effort and offers much benefit. Drawing, writing, painting, or simply going out into the world to take photos may become powerfully healing rituals celebrating life as it is.
We can practice that: celebrating life as it is. We can breathe and sing and cry, and share our joys and sorrows with others. We can practice acknowledging things as they are, in all their muckiness and complexity. Yes, practice. Being present does not come easily to most of us; we need practice, patience, and the space to err.
I invite you to join me in the project of noticing when we become embroiled in arguing with the realities of our lives. It is a good and fruitful practice, and one made bearable by good company.