Over the past several weeks I’ve been listening to Eckhart Tolle on Audible (great for my walks). I have re-listened to The Power of Now and A New Earth after reading each not long after they were originally published. I have also listened to a recording of a retreat he conducted, entitled The Joy of Being. In that talk, he used the phrase ‘unconditional yes to what is’ in describing the process of living in the present moment, or more precisely, living in presence. I found this to be a great description of the state of mind in which we need to live if we are to truly live in presence. Although living in presence isn’t really a mind state, an ‘unconditional yes to what is’ is a clear characterization of where we actually live when we are present. We remain here, now, with whatever is happening, whether it be ‘good’ or ‘bad’. It just is what it is, and therefore we accept it unconditionally. This can then open the doorway into total presence from which we then move forward, take action, or whatever response may be required for the situation.
This takes a lot of practice and attention. And there will be lots of times where we will insist that it is not possible to accept what is, and that is okay. Acceptance doesn’t mean that we don’t feel pain or grief or unhappiness. It does, however put some space and peace around it, making our response to life much more productive and less stressful.
Eckhart Tolle says that if you practice being present for three mindful breaths every day for a year, it will change your life. I think it is worth a try.