The Fruits Of Acceptance

There is enormous relief in detaching from our mental stories, but in my experience the results go well beyond mere feeling. Surrendering leads directly to our right lives, our hearts' desires. Whenever I've managed to release my scary stories and accept the truth of my life, I've stumbled into more happiness than I ever dreamed possible.

For instance, before my second child was born, an amniocentesis showed that he had Down's syndrome. I was stunned, partly by the diagnosis and partly by the realization that, for me, having a late-term abortion seemed even more horrible than bearing a mentally retarded child. My mind—and my doctors—said the rational choice was to erase this genetic accident. But I suddenly understood the Asian proverb that says, The mind makes a wonderful servant but a terrible master. I made my decision by heart, and for me (though not for everyone) that meant keeping my baby.

I suffered terrible pain the following months, all of it dirty. My mind told endless horror stories about the hideous future my child and I would endure—stories that, in retrospect, are hilarious. If I'd known how Adam would really change my life, I'd have been overwhelmed with gratitude not grief. His life has brought me not only enormous love, but concrete rewards: adventures, relationships, money, career success. I'm not saying that having a disabled child is a guaranteed funfest, but that living by heart (something Adam taught me to do) yields miraculous bounty.

Ironically, separating from our mind's storytelling often creates the very results we tried—and failed—to take by force. When I simply experience my Adam, he is clearly the son I always wanted. When I stop judging my body as a flawed troll, I see only an innocent, naked ape that has been pressed into the service of my soul. I treat it more kindly, and it becomes healthier, more energetic, less attracted to the junk food it eats for comfort when I make war on it. When I stop trying to control my mind—that verbose, paranoiac old storyteller—my thoughts become clearer and more intelligent.

It's a delicious paradox: By not trying to control the uncontrollable, we get what we thought we'd get if we were in control. This thought pleases me greatly. I watch it go by, written on a placard carried by a tiny imaginary child. She waves, gives me a smile, and then she, too, disappears.

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