In our everyday lives, we have many opportunities to choose where we rest our attention. We cannot control everything that happens around us or to us. What we can control is how we react. How we react is determined by where we rest our attention.
As Osho, the teacher and mystic, wrote, “Be aware of your wound. Don’t help it to grow, let it be healed; and it will be healed only when you move to the roots. The less the head, the more the wound will heal…Live a headless life. Move as a total being, and accept things. Just for 24 hours, try it––total acceptance, whatever happens. Someone insults you, accept it, don’t react, and see what happens. Suddenly you will feel an energy flowing in you that you have not felt before.” *
Psychological wounds are protected and nurtured by the ego, by the brain. The “headless” life means that I do not let my intellect, my mental need for control, run the show. It means that I shift attention from my head space and move it into my body, the root of my being. This feminine energy of acceptance is a settling into the pelvis, into the “belly brain”, the world of inclusive feeling. There is no right or wrong way to do it. There is only the feeling of entering into all the space there is. [See my posts on 9-20 and 9-23 for related energy exercises].
I took Osho’s suggestion and committed to 24 hours of practicing Acceptance Energy. It began with myself. When I became frustrated with my lack of skill (emotional, physical, psychological), or hooked into negative thinking, I withdrew my attention from those mental loops. I stepped back from them, I settled into my body and all the space around me, and just observed the mental loops happening. No emotional attachment. No attempt to change them. I just accepted them in the context of Everything That Is.
I also extended this acceptance into my personal relationships. As Covid constricts the bubble of my social life, I find myself lashing out and being more defensive. This is usually a sign that I need more personal space, more breathing room. During my 24 hours of a headless life, I gave myself that breathing room by resting my attention on infinite space. In that context, I became more accepting of difficult behavior interactions. Instead of wanting to affect change on others, I stepped back in awe. I heard myself saying, “Oh look. That is so-and-so being themselves. Aren’t humans wonderful and complex?”
I was also able to withdraw from reactivity to local, state and national politics. With the current state of constant media bombardment, this was no small feat! I caught myself reacting with anger, as if I could personally change any of what was going on, and moved my attention to acceptance energy. I told myself, “These news items are just reporting things as they are. There is no need to engage in any way. Turn off your phone and go outside in Nature.”
Through the 24 hours of Acceptance, I became less reactive and more relaxed. Before it even came to an end I realized that there was no reason to confine this practice to 24 hours! Instead, I committed to practicing for one week, which would take me through and well past Election Day. It is certainly a good exercise for the pandemic, too, when multiple areas of my life require adaptation on a daily basis.
Stay tuned, I’ll let you how it goes.
*The Transcendental Game of Zen, St. Martin’s Press 1994, p. 57.