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Being Willing to
Experience Life

Saying “yes” to the experience that is already there is a profound practice of radical acceptance.

Inspired by a meditation by Tara Brach, this practice gives it an ACT twist.

Practice

How to Do It

Experience the Impact of Saying No and Saying Yes

  • Find a place to sit or lie down.
  • Take a few deep breaths. Then, let your breath resume in its natural rhythm.
  • Become gently curious like a child or a scientist.
  • Sense the contact of your body to the ground or the chair.

Saying “No”

  • For three to four minutes, make an experiment and deliberately struggle against the experience you currently have.
  • Say “No” to the sensations of the ground or the chair.
  • Keep taking yourself back to saying “no” to the experience of the ground or the chair.
  • Notice what changes. How does your body respond? What can you sense and feel. Acknowledge those sensations.
  • Notice the difference between the sensations of the ground or the chair itself and the struggle you put up by saying “no” to that experience.
  • When this feels complete, permit your body to gently shake out the experience and return to a neutral breathing.

What would it be like if I could accept life--accept this moment--exactly as it is?

Tara Brach

Saying “Yes”

  • Bring your attention to the sensations of the ground or the chair once more.
  • This time, keep saying “yes” to the experience that is already there.
  • Explore the sensations with gentle curiosity. What is the texture? What the temperature? It is hard or soft? Are the sensations staying the same or are they shifting subtly
  • Become a wine taster, a connoisseur of your current experience.
  • Keep coming back to saying “yes” to this experience. Breathe into the parts of your body in contact with ground or the chair.
  • What do you notice? How does your body respond to saying “yes”?
  • How does this experience contrast to the time when you kept saying “no”?

Taking Good Care of Yourself

  • Go gently with this activity. Remember to call in a gentle curiosity and kindness.
  • Practice with sensations the feel safe enough. A four on an intensity scale of 1 to 10 will be more than enough.
  • When you notice that you getting into war with yourself over an experience, Dropping Anchor can support you in getting grounded and the RAIN of Self-Compassion can be a powerful meditation to allow your experience.

Going Deeper

  • Once you have practice with saying yes to sensations of an external object, like the ground or the chair, you can shift the activity to sensations in your body.
  • There may be parts of your body that feel tense and stuck. What happens if you keep saying “yes” instead of struggling against the sensation?
  • Similarly, experiment with gently saying “yes” to a feeling or emotion that is already there. What happens if you are saying “yes” to an experience of anxiety or anger?

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