I have a wonderful, grace-filled friend who has a debilitating chronic illness; each day, her symptoms can change, and they’re usually not very pleasant changes. And yet, she remains a whole, wonderful, amazing gift to those who know her and are inspired by her and her wisdom and grace.
Recently she posted:
“Time, patience, sitting, being with what is, watching it unfold, turn, expand, shrink, stay, move forward and onto another awareness altogether …”
I told her that I should write “being with what is” on my blackboard as a reminder. Her response:
“We so often think we can avoid "what is" particularly when "what is" is unpleasant...NOPE...it still "is". ..well until it becomes "was"...or we run towards "will be"...but come on, lets face it ..."IS," is where we are actually living and breathing.”
How often do we resist “what is?” A chronic illness, loss of a job, divorce, death … some things cannot be changed, others can be changed over time, but in the meantime, we have to be with what is at that moment. I’ve shared many times that one of my favorite mantras is “Receive what you have been given.” When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1995, I did not receive or accept the diagnosis; I resisted. I continued to search for other answers, something that could be fixed. I finally had to receive what I’d been given and once I did that, I could learn and grow and find what modalities would work for me in managing the pain and avoiding situations that triggered it. It took several years, but I do OK now. I spent too much time, though, not receiving, not being with what is. Resistance was futile. As my friend reminds me: All is welcome. ALL is welcome. all IS welcome. all is WELCOME.
The Buddhists believe that resistance causes needless suffering. When we resist what is, we can’t move forward. We uselessly fight what is un-fightable. Through the usual gamut of life challenges, I feel I’ve learned the lesson pretty well now, not perfectly, but pretty well. When I was laid off last year, I didn’t spent time fretting over it. I worked at finding a new job, but I didn’t worry. I accepted my situation and worked to change it over time. I now trust that I will land where I’m supposed to land and that things will work out the way they’re supposed to (even if it’s not what I would choose).
Bruce Lee expressed this lack of resistance as being fluid, like water:
Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend.
May we learn to Be with what is. Be like water.
Thank you, Laura!