Three Magic Words

I decided to prepare a workshop/seminar on the practice of mindfulness.  I put it together for one reason:  To show how mindfulness practice can and should be used in our 12 step programs.

I entitled it, “Three Magic Words.”

I begin with a definition of mindfulness:  “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and without judgment.”

 In other words – Mindfulness is the practice of observing everything that’s going on with curiosity – as it happens – and letting it be okay.

The discussion then turns to ‘Mindlessness’ and ‘Resistance.’  These two ideas are products of the conditioned mind.  Our minds are like plastic and can be conditioned.  And it would appear that ‘mindlessness’ and particularly resistance is our default setting.

We are conditioned to resist.  Our brains are almost hardwired to pursue pleasure and avoid pain.  We have done this since we first began to crawl.  Although naturally curious, we learned to resist what we discovered as children.  We learned to fear, to hide, to shut down.  Childhood trauma can do that to a person.  And many of us spend the rest of our lives in a kind of “Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome.”  We resist.

Resistance causes suffering.  It’s not our circumstance that causes us pain; it’s our reaction to it.  Our resistance.  It’s not the rain that causes us to be disappointed; it’s our reaction to it.  Our resistance.  It’s not the insensitive words that you heard in a conversation that made you angry and resentful; it’s your reaction to them.  Your resistance.

We are so lost in our thoughts that we think they are true.  That’s because we never question them.  We never examine them.  We know we are right.  And that’s because we need to be right.

There are three magic words that can release us from our resistance:  “Accept What Is.”

Acceptance is the antidote for resistance.  It’s an attitude, but much more.  Acceptance is also the practice of mindfulness.  It’s a practice.  You must do it.  In order to undo the conditioning that governs your mind – your thoughts and feelings – you must practice acceptance.

There is a way to practice mindful acceptance.  It’s called ‘the witness’…