As mentioned in our last post, one way to ease tension (and thus mental, emotional, and physical pain/suffering) is the practice of honoring what’s in front of us for what it is and what it isn’t.
How does such a practice benefit us? Honoring what’s in front of us is a form of acceptance. Acceptance is an attitude that comes forth from a calm mind. A calm mind is relaxed, not agitated, flexible, able to see matters more clearly. The body reflects such a mind, with the circulation of neuro-endocrine-immune signals associated with well-being, happiness, and contentment.
On the flip side, non-acceptance (referring to a condition of resisting what is, and not those situations where we do not accept secondary to a simple lack of awareness) is an attitude that comes forth from an mind that is not calm. A mind that is not calm is contracted, agitated, rigid, muddled. The body reflects such a mind, with the circulation of neuro-endocrine-immune signals associated with sickness, unhappiness, and discontent.
Acceptance and honoring what’s in front of us are merely starting points, a set of initial conditions from which to engage life’s challenges. And this is not to say that we should always avoid agitated, not-calm states–history shows that frequently the freedom of oppressed groups is gained only after noble struggle which, for better or worse, also involves bloodshed.
Honoring what’s in front of us is a form of benevolence, of goodwill. In the mode of benevolence, we are more apt to smile, to respect the existence of other perspectives, to speak beneficial words, to listen attentively, to seek mutually uplifting solutions, to unfold our love (big up to The Beatles).
Not honoring what’s in front of us is tinged with malevolence, with ill will. In the mode of malevolence, we are more apt to frown or snarl, to shun the existence of other perspectives, to speak harmful words, to ignore, to seek solutions wherein some win and others lose, to withhold our love.
How, then, can tension be eased when we maintain a climate of hostility within ourselves? It could never be. Hostility is accompanied by fear, and fear is a root cause of tension. Thus, if we are serious about easing tension within ourselves and between ourselves and others, it is vital that we both cultivate the attitude of honoring what’s in front of us through daily practice and purify attachments to not honoring what’s in front of us.