Life seems to be a continual challenge. One thing after another and the eternal search for happiness. We spend so much of our lives creating an identity for ourselves with all the likes and dislikes that go with it. These preferences build associations within us, which then turn into expectations.
We compare our beliefs to other people's and then defend our position, making them wrong as they don't fit in with our picture of how "it should be." Life is unlimited. It is arrogant and naive to think that only our thoughts and beliefs are right. They may be right for us with the limited knowledge we have at this moment but the more you learn and grow the more opportunities there are for new information to become available for you.
How many beliefs have you held that seemed to support your way of thinking and then something happened to change your point of view? Take Father Christmas for example... as a child you believed fully in him, then as you became older you let go of that belief. At the time it was true for you and now it isn't. What would happen if you treated all your knowledge with the thought that this is what I know today and tomorrow, new information may be available to me to gain a new perspective? How liberating!
Allow everyone his or her point of view. Live and let live. All the beliefs we hold get in our way. Instead of allowing life to "be," we look at our situation and cast a judgement on it - either we like or dislike it. The choice you make will bring you a corresponding experience. Our dislikes are really our resistances to "what is." By not living in the present and not accepting the current reality or situation we find ourselves in, we create more problems for ourselves. We get caught up in the emotions that follow, because we have chosen not to accept the reality but instead, to react against it.
All this happens because we had an expectation. We believed our thoughts to be real and compared them to our experience, which highlighted that they don't match. When seeing your situation in this way it is magnified. Our sense of self is threatened as our ego tries to make sense of what's happening. Fighting it all the way. Our tendency might be to become a victim of the circumstances or to launch a full on attack. Either way, it only leads to more pain and suffering. We can't change the situation as it has already happened so the only logical thing we can do is to accept it.
When you notice all your likes and dislikes it becomes apparent how futile they are and how they enslave us. We are led from one experience to another, like being on a roller coaster of emotions. What would happen if you dropped all those cravings and aversions? What if you were just happy anyway? Not because of circumstances but because you have chosen to be. Probably sounds impossible. However, when you stop and think about it for a minute it is the only logical thing you can do. To find that happiness within allows you to keep it, as it doesn't depend on any outside factors. It is your chosen natural state of being.
Situations come to us everyday. Our job is not to fight them; our job is to accept them. It is our reactions that determine how we experience life, not the situations we find ourselves in. Can you view your life as a gift bringing you valuable lessons for your growth or do you have the view that there is a vengeful God handing out bad experiences to you? Life isn't personal, although because we are so attached to our identity and defending our positions we take it to be so.
Have you ever tried to accept anyone or anything in your life unconditionally? Accepting them for who they are without prejudice or judgement? It's not about being tolerant of them, as tolerance implies that you are putting up with something. True acceptance allows compassion to come in and for you to see their true essence without the clouds of your judgement upon them. It's a beautiful experience. Acceptance brings love into your heart and the experience of unconditional love that flows from there. Can your ego allow you to act in this way?
It is possible, although it may take time to undo past habitual behaviour patterns. We are so used to defending our position to the end - what will it feel like not to do that anymore? To allow someone else to be "right" and not having to attempt to impose "your way" on to him or her? It's a very humbling experience. We each have equally valid points of view and the more you try to convince someone that your way is right they will counter defend with just as strong an argument of why their way is right. No-one wins and both parties leave feeling frustrated and with ill thoughts towards the other.
The more awareness you can bring into your life the more you will notice how you interact with "life." All our reactions have associated feelings, making them even more challenging. When a situation occurs, feelings and emotions surge through our bodies and the reaction comes from there. It is mostly unconscious and very powerful. It practically takes you over. The strength of the reactions adds fuel to the situation making it even more unbearable. Can you see how we are slaves to our emotions? The feelings of being hard done by, or mistreated or taken advantage of, create associated reactions and the intensity of the reactions will depend on the depth of attachment you have to the situation. Have you watched other people react and felt how inappropriate it was? This points to the depth of attachment and associated feelings they have to the situation they find themselves in... fighting to regain control in the situation they have deemed uncomfortable or not to their liking. The anger, aggression, sadness or whichever emotion is chosen, is projected to others and they feel fully justified in doing so.
Next time your find yourself in a challenging situation, try to take the time to observe the feelings and emotions rise within you. Feel the power it has to overwhelm you and how quickly the reaction can happen. Know that this is "your" reaction to the situation. It may be impossible for a while, but try to just "be" with the feelings. The other person is having the same surge of emotions through their body, only they have chosen to give in to theirs. When you manage to observe yours, you will have started the process of breaking down that habit. It is a very powerful experience and once you have experienced it you will be amazed at how reactionary we are. How unconsciously we live our lives. People are creatures of habit and the more we do something the more habitual it becomes within us. Changing our habits can change our experience of life. Instead of being rigid and limited in our perceptions we can flow with life and be open to the unlimited possibilities available to us.
Change brings us out of our comfort zone, making it less appealing to make any change voluntarily. Although there is one constant in life and that is impermanence - everything changes. We are in a constant process of change, be it at the subatomic level or the physical level. Life by its nature is impermanent, so why defend it so - allow it to be and flow with the changes. By not allowing you only create more tension and resistance within yourself. Let it go and love life as it is.