These principles are one of those easy/hard things in life -- easy once you master them, seemingly impossible before you "get" them. But if you can live your life by these principles, everything flows, suffering is minimal, and what seemed to be problems melt away.
The way to master each principle varies with the principle, but one way to get started is to write the principle down on a 3x5 card and take the card out of your pocket or purse and read it several times each day. Then, make a mark on the card each time you find yourself violating the principle, and a different mark each time you find yourself following it. In other words, keep score. This simple procedure makes you more aware of the principle, and leads to its being followed.
Of course, first you have to be convinced that the principle is worth mastering and will actually create an improvement in your life. The reason some of these principles are hard to master is that a part of us thinks following them will actually create something worse in our life ("There's no choice. I have to do it this way!"). This is, once again, the old issue of our map of reality being constructed as it is because it offered us safety (or seemed to) during our growing up, and changing it seems unsafe, at least to the unconscious mind. So be forewarned that you might have some resistance to mastering some of these principles. Also take note that the more resistance you feel, the greater the potential benefit, since the resistance is a sign that the principle in question is a real issue for you.
Also, cut yourself some slack as you embark on mastering these principles. Though they can be mastered in the twinkling of an eye, in real life they generally take some time. You will find yourself slipping up over and over. Let that be okay.
You will go through several stages with each principle. Stage One is Unconscious Incompetence, where you don't follow the principle and don't even know you're not following it. Stage Two is Conscious Incompetence, which is where you probably will be after reading this article. You aren't following the principle, but you are conscious of that fact. Stage Three is Conscious Competence, where you can follow it, but only while you are paying attention to it and consciously making yourself follow it. Stage Four is Unconscious Competence, where you have consciously followed the principle so consistently that you now can follow it without thinking about it.
The first principle is that of "letting whatever happens be okay." The amount a person suffers in their life is directly related to how much they are resisting the fact that "things are the way they are." This has got to be one of the KEY pieces of wisdom about being human. If there is suffering or discomfort, there is resistance to the way things are. Period.
In order to follow this principle, what could be called "addiction" or "attachment" to things being different than they are needs to be "upgraded" to a preference. This means that when "what is" is not what you want, you do not suffer over it (get angry, sad, fearful, anxious, and so on), and your happiness and peace are therefore not controlled by forces outside of your control. You prefer things would be such and so, but you are not attached to them being that way.
To the degree a person is willing and able to let whatever happens be okay, they do not suffer. People with many rules about "how things are supposed to be" suffer more because no matter how much care they take to protect their rules and see that they are followed by themselves and others, these rules are often violated. These rules are part of that map of reality I mentioned above that we create during childhood in order to be/feel safe in our family. In any family, you are "safer" if you follow the rules.
In some families there are few rules about how things are "supposed" to be, or how people are supposed to behave. In these families, children learn to flow with and react to whatever happens with a certain amount of psychological and behavioral creativity and resiliency. In others, there are many, many rules (sometimes rules about everything). In these families, responses are more automatic and pre-programmed, which stifles the in-born ability to resiliently deal with things as they arise in a creative, spontaneous and authentic manner.
Living "according to the rules" has a certain appeal, because you don't have to think about each situation and come up with a more creative response. Instead, you just follow the rules. It's life lived by a formula or recipe. Unfortunately, no rules can cover the nuances of each potential situation, others often don't know the correct recipe for how to behave (what's wrong with them?) and your responses become robotic and often not well suited to the situation. Worse, the more rules you have, the more often someone or some thing is always breaking them, and the more that happens the more you end up pissed off, anxious, sad, afraid, or in some other variety of suffering.
If you could let it be okay when someone breaks one of your rules, you wouldn't have to suffer. (Of course they wouldn't really be rules, then, would they?
This does not mean a person cannot be goal oriented and work toward making things they way they want them to be, but the emotionally healthy person prefers the outcome they seek rather than being addicted to it. That means they work toward what they want but, whatever the outcome, they maintain their equanimity and inner peace. This approach, then, is not fatalism or disinterest in the outcome, but rather a decision not to let the outcome throw you off-center. This is the meaning of upgrading your attachments to preferences, and the meaning of the "non-attachment" spoken of in Eastern philosophy (and spoken of by Jesus Christ in other ways).
The key to handling challenging thoughts, situations, and feelings is therefore not in resisting them, but rather in becoming as fully accepting of them as possible. Accept what you think and feel, and what happens around you, even if what you think and feel is uncomfortable or what is happening is not as you would have preferred.
Here, then, is a KEY point. Though it looks as if our discomfort is created by the thing we don't like, or are otherwise resisting, in actual fact the discomfort we feel is 98-99% (maybe even 100%) caused by our resistance to it, and only 1-2% (or none at all?) from the thing itself. When we stop resisting, the discomfort stops also. It may look like the person, thing, event, or whatever, is creating our discomfort, but it really is our reaction to it, our unwillingness to accept it, that creates the discomfort.
Everyone has had something happen in their life that they strongly resisted, but ultimately came to terms with -- a relationship that ended, for instance. At first, you go through all kinds of suffering, but at a certain point you move on and accept what has happened. At that exact moment, the suffering stops. Similarly, we've all heard of people who find out they are going to die soon from a fatal illness and who become totally peaceful about it once they accept the fact that it is happening. It's not what happens, it's our reaction to it!
Through acceptance, you empower yourself to heal, transform, or release any unresolved mental or emotional material. Unless and until you can accept what you think and feel as a manifestation of reality, you will remain attached to toxic attitudes and beliefs. But by being fully present to, and accepting of, your thoughts and feelings you open the pathway for the subconscious to reorganize itself to progressively higher levels of functioning. When you sense discomfort you are sensing resistance. When you sense resistance, meet it with acceptance. Ironically, once you stop resisting, you are much more effective in creating any external change you may have a preference for (not an attachment to).
This all ends up being nothing but platitudes if you don't take some kind of definite step to put it into practice. One thing that helps, of course, is using the Centerpointe program for meditation every day. Stimulating the brain with Holosync creates the kind of expanded awareness that makes it easier to let whatever happens be okay. One of the characteristics of someone who has been in the program a while is that very little can move him or her off center.
The second thing you can do is the 3x5 card exercise I described earlier. As you begin to pay attention to your response to what is happening, it will become more and more clear to you that you create your own suffering and that it does NOT come from your environment. This will make it more and more difficult to keep creating the suffering you've so far been attached to. When this happens, a whole new world opens up for you, and believe me, you will like it!
So get out that 3x5 card and start using it. And keep using the program.
Bill Harris, Director
Centerpointe Research Institute