The “A” of “RAIN” – Accept or Allow

What is the difference between resisting our karma and accepting it?  By acceptance, I don’t mean passivity or ignoring.  There is a way to receive what is happening, or karma, in the present moment, with softness and gentleness, rather than ignoring or pushing the “bad stuff” away.  We can allow or accept what is happening because it is ACTUALLY happening.  It IS the present moment. 

Resistance is a tense tightening and contracting and a pushing against the reality of the moment.  Adding to the resistance, I will try to force my way through it to try and get what I want the moment to be as if that were possible.  I can’t control the moments.  Sometimes I act like a snowplow.  Just put down the plow and by the power of the truck, force my way through.  Is that what is commonly known as will-power alone?  I do have a lot of will-power for some things but other things, like my food obsessions, or addictions, or certain habits, I have none.  Is there another way to handle things besides force or so-called strength or unyielding discipline?  Often when I plow through, I leave my own feelings and other people’s feelings strewn along the side of the road.  I don’t want to and can’t do that anymore.  My spirituality is asking me to do something else.

Allowing or accepting is soft.  It invites whatever is happening in.  It allows me to digest what is happening and to bring forth my inner resources that are loving, kind, and forgiving.

May the power of loving-kindness sustain me.

Acceptance is not about pushing things away or running away.  It teaches me to turn towards the moment and this “turning towards” is intrinsically the beginning of healing.  I can mentally whisper to myself, “Yes!”, “This too!”, “I consent” or “here it is.”  Realizing what’s happening and letting it be.  This, for me, is opening to the real experience of the present moment and learning how to handle it with curiosity and investigation, which is the “I” of “RAIN.”

This feels somehow different than how I have practiced in the past which seems to have had so much force in it.  Much of my past practice has been based on “fixing what’s wrong with me or what’s wrong with this moment or what’s wrong with you.”  I am trying to develop a new kind of trust in life.  That if I open to and really listen to my experience, that listening practice in itself will heal me and show me what to do next.  This is much more gentle.  I’m so tired of “trying” that I just can’t do it anymore.  It’s a deep change of attitude and I don’t want to return to formal Zen practice until this new attitude is firmly established.  It’s very easy for me to practice Zen in a harsh and “cut off from my emotions” way, and I don’t want to do that anymore.

Opening to the real experience through relaxing and yielding, softens the edges of life which often has difficult and painful times within it.  One begins to notice that resistance increases the pain.  Acceptance or allowing, in the end, feels better than resistance.  Allowing also doesn’t mean we don’t do anything but our inspiration for action may come from a different place inside ourselves.