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Mindful : December 2017
to like, agree with, or resign yourself to any- thing. You just have to see that it is what it is. Whether it is a frustration like Maxine’s lost report, something worse like being rejected by your graduate school of choice, or even worse, the death of a beloved parent, there are times when you simply cannot do anything to eliminate your pain. In those moments, you can be compassion- ately present with your feelings, be they irrita- tion, shame, or great sadness, and try not to make your suffering greater by refusing to accept what- ever painful truth you may be facing. Because even the most painful moments are temporary, if you can be kind and patient with yourself, with time your suffering will decline as you become clear about how to best manage your difficulty. Meditation Builds Acceptance Acceptance is the antidote to grasping, and it develops as you practice mindfulness meditation. Each time during meditation that you observe yourself wanting something to be different, and then choose to bring your attention back to the feel of your breath, you are practicing acceptance. While meditating, you may see yourself want- ing more of something, such as free time, or less of something, such as work. Maybe you recognize thoughts about how life isn’t fair or something is not your fault. Those thoughts tell you that you are resisting something. When you notice yourself wanting something to be different or resisting something that is real, and you intentionally pivot your attention back to your breath, you are prac- ticing acceptance. If what you are wanting has a powerful emotional pull to it, like wishing your girlfriend hadn’t ended the relationship, you will get the opportunity, over and over, to practice letting go of that particular stream of thought as you sit in meditation. As you practice the skill of acceptance repeatedly in meditation, you will be better able to draw on it at other times, when you need it most. ● Adapted from The Mindful Twenty-Something: Life Skills to Handle Stress... & Everything Else. Reprinted with permission: New Harbinger Publications, Inc. Copyright © 2016 Holly B. Rogers Holly Rogers, MD, is a psychiatrist at Duke University’s student counseling center and a cofounder of The Center for Koru Mindfulness. She is the coauthor of Mindfulness for the Next Generation. PHOTOGRAPHBYGOODVIBRATIONSIMAGES/STOCKSY 78 mindful December 2017 insight Deepen your personal practice and develop a strong foundation in the history, theory and professional applications of mindfulness through groundbreaking programs at Lesley University Deepen your personal Practice wisdom and compassion. GRADUATE PROGRAMS Master of Arts in Mindfulness Studies Graduate Certificate in Mindfulness Studies lesley.edu/ mindfulness-program