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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Gibbons


Last summer, while we were on vacation on the coast, I found myself watching Annchen doing her energetic yoga practice out on the patio one morning. As she bent, twisted, and contorted her body in the usual circus show, a group of flies was intent on penetrating the darkest recesses of Annchen’s inner ears. A challenging situation.

Obviously, the flies are just doing their thing. For whatever reason they absolutely love what’s happening inside our ears, and they have to get a piece of the action. It’s just what they do. They can’t stop themselves. And neither can we. We can’t change their little fly-brain programming. That much at least is beyond our control.

So what does Annchen do with the regular invasion of little buzzing insects inside her ears while she tries to make herself one with the cosmos? Well, she does what any normal person would do. She freaks out—with the expected cries of “AARRGGHH!! Get out of my ears you little fuckers!”

Are we supposed to accept this physical discomfort as if everything’s okay?

We need to unpack our reaction to this kind of annoyance so we can see exactly what needs to be accepted. There’s physical discomfort. Something that tickles. A sensation that’s difficult to relax with. And that’s it. That’s all that needs to be accepted. Unfortunately, there’s a whole load of other stuff going on:

I hate this feeling.

I don’t deserve this.

They should be doing it somewhere else to somebody else.

If this goes on for much longer, then I’ll go crazy.

And all this nonsense—the hating, the belief in not deserving it, the idea that it’s unfair, the fear of it continuing and sending me straight to the nearest mental hospital—doesn’t have to be accepted.

It doesn’t have to be accepted?!?

No. It doesn’t have to be accepted. It needs to be dropped. Because all of it is only taking place in my head. It has no reality outside of my head. It’s all optional, unnecessary stuff that does nothing to fix the problem. So we drop it.

We accept the reality of the situation—what’s actually happening. Flies are causing me discomfort. Then we pick up our yoga mat and continue our practice inside, away from the pesky flies. No problem.

So what’s the difference here between the “accepting one” and the “one who can’t accept”?

The “one who can’t accept” comes inside carrying a whole story about how those bloody flies are making her life a living nightmare.

The “accepting one” just comes inside.

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