Several people have been in touch with me this past week expressing their enthusiasm for the prayer practice I introduced in last week’s blog, The Problem with New Year’s Resolutions, and their interest has inspired me to share a bit more about what the practice has meant to me and how I understand it.
One thing to remember is that even though I use this practice when there is something in my life I’d like to transform, perhaps the most important aspect of the practice — and maybe the thing most of us would like to skip over — is the complete acceptance of my present circumstances, whatever they may be.
If I want to tap into the full power of the practice I can’t look at acceptance of what is as simply a means to an end. If I do that I haven’t really accepted the present circumstances fully. Full acceptance means just that. I let myself come to peace with what is, I let myself come to love it in fact.
What I’ve discovered is that just doing that much is transformative in and of itself. When I move into a stance of true acceptance I will feel something shift within me, and I will sense that the simple act of loving what is has opened a portal to the realm of possibility, the realm of what could be.
In this way, the practice is really first and foremost about changing me. By cultivating a stance of open-heartedness and non-striving I shift my own energy, and by shifting my own energy I allow the energy of the situation to shift as well. In other words, when I soften myself, I allow my circumstances to soften into a more yielding state out of which something new can arise.
As this new year rolled around, rather than the word resolution the word that was in my mind was re-solution, and it seems a perfect word for how I experience this practice.
Think of saline solution. It contains the chemical compound of salt, but that salt is in an uncrystalized state. In this prayer practice, love is like the water that allows the fixed patterns in our lives to dissolve and enter a fluidic state out of which new patterns, new crystals, new possibilities can emerge.
In contrast to our customary mode of making resolutions through which we hope to force change to happen, the practice of re-solution softens me to what is and in so doing softens what is. Then I’m no longer trying to trying to force change. I’m inviting it to happen.