Practical Spirituality: Learn to Accept “What Is”

By Rev. Marla Sanderson

Happiness is experienced when your life gives you what you are willing to accept.
—Ken Keyes Jr.

Transformation’s theme for this month is Spiritual Journeys, and I can’t think of any spiritual journey that’s been a greater adventure for me than to explore the inner world of my emotions with the help of the Ken Keyes’ Handbook to Higher Consciousness.

To pick up where I left off last month, I want to reiterate that in Keyes’ view, “addictions” are the only cause of “suffering.” In a sense, the brain is like a computer. Between an event in my outer world and my reaction, there’s a program that sets off my emotions. We call it an addiction: a demand that things be a particular way for me to be happy.  When it isn’t satisfied, I experience emotional pain—anger, resentment, frustration, irritation, annoyance, guilt, worry, rage, embarrassment, humiliation, fear, terror, despair and plenty more. We call that “suffering.”

Suppose I’m in a restaurant and the waitress serves somebody who came in after me. I may get frustrated, annoyed, angry or even hostile. If I blame the waitress, it puts her in charge of my happiness. That’s a lot of power to give away. When I realize it’s just an addiction that causes my suffering, I can take charge without busting up the place.
Whether I feel slightly irritated or threatened to the core depends on the severity of the experience that programmed me. Everyone is programmed a bit differently, so we don’t all react the same way to the same things.

Addictions affect my self-confidence. They cause me to sacrifice my values, doubt my convictions, and sell myself to the lowest bidder when my security is threatened. Any idea that says I’m not OK is simply a product of an addictive reaction.

The truth is that down deep we are all perfectly OK no matter what’s going on, or what programming we have acquired over our lifetime. Down below all the garbage, we are pure Unconditional Love, desiring to express.

Think of it. Unconditional love is your natural state. Without the addictive beliefs that cause you to suffer, you would experience and express Unconditional Love all the time. A life of happiness, confidence, and self-expression no matter what’s going on around you is available, but it takes work.

It requires awareness and willingness to accept WHAT IS. To start, tell yourself you’re OK when you feel bad over something that happens. You can think it, say it, yell it or scream it: “I’m OK, even if the waitress serves somebody who came in after me.”

Often you can laugh at yourself for letting a little thing disturb you—and this approach also works for big things.

Marla Sanderson has been a student of spiritual practice for more than 35 years. She began as Assistant Director of The Next Step, a psychic and spiritual community in a New Mexico ghost town. As workshop leader, teacher, practitioner, and minister, she has led relationship and personal growth workshops, taught psychic development and meditation, Living Love, and the Science of Mind. Marla is available for workshops and speaking engagements. She recently founded the New Thought Center for Creative Living.

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