Resistance, Relinquishment, and Acceptance

Buddhists have a term -- dukkha -- that often gets translated as "suffering." But the term dukkha is much more complex than just ...

Buddhists have a term -- dukkha -- that often gets translated as "suffering." But the term dukkha is much more complex than just the sensation of suffering:  Dukkha is the dissonance between what is (the present moment) and that which was (the past) and/or that which we want (the next moment).  Quite often the dukkha comes from the desire to control what happens in the next moment -- controlling a situation, an outcome, and even our own self.  Buddhists hope to end or mitigate dukkha by focusing on what is true and real in the present moment.

Show me one person trying to lose weight/gain health that hasn't experience dukkha. 

I've yet to find someone looking to lose weight/gain health that isn't suffering.  I see it in their eyes and I hear it in their words.  They suffer the past unhappiness and trauma that lead them to gaining the weight.  They suffer the present moment of having to carry the physical and emotional weight.  They suffer the anxiety and fear of having to live the rest of their life on a diet or in a gym.

Past:  So many people who are looking to lose weight are held back by their feelings about the past (disclaimer:  in the case of trauma, any investigation into the past should be done in a safe and moderated environment such as a psychologist's office so as to not cause further trauma).   In my opinion, it is next to impossible to change your life until you address the past and untangle yourself from its influence.  It's not about denying that your past happened, it's about saying that you're no longer going to let it dictate your present and future. Understanding one's past is much different than being held hostage by it.

Present:  The present is the only part in your timeline where you have any control, any say, any choice. In order to truly be in the present moment, you need to forgive yourself for any missteps that you may have made in the past and then let it metamorphose into the love you have for yourself today. Believe it or not, this is the way to enjoy the weight loss/health gain process.  Transformation cannot come from a place of shame, deprivation, anger, fear, or outside influence. It comes with having your mind and heart connected to your body in this very moment. You will have good days and bad, and moments that are hard, but you will find the strength to endure because this is a process of love.  Be a part of the the process; not apart from it.

Future:  The future is anything that has not already occurred and is not happening at the present moment. It's a place of endless possibilities.  When we try to control situations, outcomes, people, we restrict those possibilities of what could be.  Who knows, maybe the universe has something better for us than we could have ever imagined with our limited point of view.  The magic happens here.  When we learn to let go of our anxiety and fear in the present, we open a door to the future.  It's the ultimate act of relinquishment -- to give in to the process and say "let this path take me on a journey" versus "I know where I am going."

Now... just because I understand these concepts doesn't mean I'm a good practitioner of these things all the time.  I know that I hold on to the past; a past defined in loss. I find myself so focused on trying to get through things in the future that I have blinders to the present moment.  I forget that I can make healthy choices even while I feel inundated.  And I'm so very bad at trusting a future based on present actions.

BUT, I'm able to practice awareness of these things. I can catch myself in moments where I'm stuck in the past, or where I'm trying to architect a future. I feel the dissonance in my body when I'm trying too hard to control things that are not within my purview to control.

Shotover River, South Island, NZ
Sometimes I just close my eyes and imagine myself in a stream, and instead of trying to swim upstream, I just accept the flow, relinquish control, stop resisting, and enjoy being a part of the flow.

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<3 Robby