Oftentimes in our life , when we encounter difficult people, situations, or emotions , our best response is to first find a way out of it.
in doing so , we say an immediate “No” to the situation and busy ourselves in finding a solution that can take us away from it .
For a Change.
What if , instead of a “No” , say “Yes” to this difficult person, situation or emotion you are facing , and you will find the solution that you were always looking for is just within your reach.
Let me explain.
As per the latest research in Neuroscience , our brain which has been in evolution since billions of years, is deeply conditioned to protect us , and thus whenever we face any situation that alert our internal limbic systems, our brain automatically tries to protect us and put us up in our safe zone .
The safe zone is our way of immediately saying a (No) to a negative experience , person or situation , it may not necessarily be a (“No”) as a direct expression, but can be unhealthy coping mechanisms of various forms.
Some of the examples of unhealthy coping mechanisms are as follows ;
- Give up !
- Drop the ball
- Impulsive spending
- Retail therapy
- Taking to Drugs or Alcohol
- Escape the problem
- Compulsive behavior ( binge eating , binge watching web series , video games or online non stop scrolling and engagement etc)
But when you choose instead of a (No) to a “Yes” to whatever is present , as is , you allow the negative person, situation or emotion to exist as is .
This is a way of radical acceptance , where when you let the emotion /thought / feeling to have enough of you , let it peaks and then it naturally dissolves , the cycle then ends there, reducing the intensity sometimes to almost at a negligible level.
Here goes a very famous story – I’ve taken in from Tara Brach’s book – Radical Compassion
One of the greatest myths from the Buddhist tradition shows how we can walk this path in the face of difficulty. You may be familiar with images of the Buddha meditating all night long under the Bodhi tree until he experienced full liberation. The shadow god Mara (who represents the universal energies of greed, hatred, and delusion) tried everything he knew to make him fail—sending violent storms, beautiful temptresses, raging demons, and massive armies to distract him. Siddhartha met them all with an awake and compassionate presence, and as the morning star appeared in the sky, he became a Buddha, a fully realized being.
But this was not the end of his relationship with Mara!
The Buddha’s loyal attendant Ananda would spot him lurking furtively around the edge of a gathering and race to the Buddha with alarm. “Terrible news, the Evil One has returned! We’ve got to do something!” And each time, the Buddha would regard Ananda with great kindness. “Not so, Ananda,” he’d reply.
Then he’d stroll over to Mara and with a firm yet gentle voice say,
“I see you, Mara…. Come, let’s have tea.” And the Buddha himself would serve Mara as an honored guest.
This is what’s possible for us as well .
Just imagine that Mara appears in your life as a surge of fear about failure, or hurt about another’s neglect or disrespect.
Now, what if your response were to pause and say, “I see you, Mara”—Recognizing. And “Let’s have tea”—Allowing. Instead of avoiding your feelings, instead of lashing out in anger or turning on yourself with self-judgment, you are responding to life with more clarity and graciousness, kindness and ease.
We all need to learn to have Tea with Mara , this may open us to doors of self compassion and radical acceptance of things as is.
Practicing it ,will be our first step towards developing fierce kindness towards our self.
c)Mehnaz Amjad 2022