Stop Asking Why Things Happen
Stop Asking “Why”…Live in Acceptance of What Is
If God wanted us to know why, we’d know already.
Let’s talk about “why.”
This word has perplexed me for years. It took awhile for me to realize that this is one of the biggest causes of suffering in my life. It’s taken a few years of meditation and reflection to even begin to understand the mind, and I know I have much more to explore but that’s where it begins.
I have been practicing yoga, asana and meditation, for a little over six years now and I’m beginning to comprehend how all of our suffering begins and ends in the mind. The problem is never the problem, my reaction to the problem is the problem…or however you’ve heard it! I’m not even sure where that thought process originated, though I’ve come across it in many areas of religious study. What a wildly powerful sentiment!
There are two main things I observe from this thought pattern:
1. How can we not react? Is this not a human thing to do?
And the answer I found is, of course, it’s natural to react! Yes, we react, so what’s the solution? I don’t know!!! Hahaha I hope you’re not here for answers =) But there are definitely a few things I’ve learned from my seeking over the years –
The Pause – I have gradually learned “the pause” My first thought is usually not the best one, you see. My mind plays tricks on me and that is not the same as my soul, gut, intuition, that lives somewhere else, deeper intertwined within myself. So if it comes from my mind, I need to pause before reacting with my mouth or body (actions).
The Processing – Talk that crazy sh*t out with someone! Have a trusted friend, your spiritual advisor, Pastor, Reverend, whomever, always in your back pocket. We don’t do this life alone, and might as well have some help along the way from someone who has more experience than you. (Tidbit though, they don’t even need to have more experience than you on the spiritual path, but could be merely going in the same direction!). Run it by them. And here’s a hint too – if you add this step, it forces the pause step.
The Filter – After pausing and processing, your first (probably crazy) thought reaction to whatever stimulus you’re reacting to, has probably dissipated, or at least lost some meaning. Although, if you do still feel the need to physically react, you can hopefully now having paused and processed, do it with love and compassion. I have found that pausing and processing is usually enough to allow the reaction to pass and it gives away its power, but still sometimes the human self requires further action and that’s okay too.
So we’re talking about our reaction to problems. This could be anything taking place in the world, words or actions of other people, natural disasters or occurrences, anything.
Now here is my second observation surrounding this thought process of The problem is never the problem, my reaction to the problem is the problem:
2. My Reaction is almost always to ask “why”.
Whether it be the coronavirus, the shutdown of the world economy, how my parents raised me, that thing that girl said to me yesterday, that thing that girl said to me in 5th grade, I want to know “why!”
Why is there a coronavirus at all?
Why must it kill people??
Why must it be so confusing that the information changes on a daily basis???
Why are so many people out of a job????
Why can’t the government figure out an easier, better way to get everyone financial help?????
Why did my parents raise me the way they did??????
Why did that girl say that thing to me yesterday???????
Why did that girl bully me in 5th grade???????
Why do racists still exist????????
Why is “Black Lives Matter” so hard for some to comprehend???????
Why is there police brutality??????????
Why can’t there be peace on Earth, good will toward men????????????
I don’t know about you, but that was exhausting even typing and then rereading that. Can you imagine existing like this inside my head (maybe yours too) day in and day out?! Why, why, why!
How “Why” Works in my Brain
This asking of “why” begins as a thought in my mind, swirling around, beginning to consider what’s up. Eventually these thoughts work their way into words, and then words work their way into my actions, which is in the form of control and anxiety. If I can’t figure out why there is a global pandemic, then I will anxiously control everything that I can: cleaning the house, a structured morning routine, daily meditation, obsessive journaling (um…hello, this blog HA), reading all the books, doing all the spiritual things.
All of these things seem to bring some sense of normalcy and proposed control over my life. I know this resonates with so many other people and I think that this is natural.
To me, this asking of “why” all the time is just how my mind tries to process the Earth life experience. Which, again, is a fully normal thing to question, but it can be exhausting. I’ve now been able to define that asking “why” in my life is the opposite of acceptance, of living in the moment. If I’m truly in the present moment, in gratitude, I don’t ever need to know why. Everything just IS. No good, no bad, no reason, there is only existence when I am in the power of the present moment.
Right now, in this moment, I’m sitting my backyard, writing, drinking coffee, listening to Lo-Fi. It’s sunny and warm, there’s a slight breeze. The neighborhood dogs are barking. I don’t feel the need to ask why are the dogs barking, why is it breezy – everything just is.
My relationship with “why” will likely be a continuous struggle, but with awareness I can work daily on acceptance of what is rather than asking “why.” I can work on pausing before the “why” makes it from my mind, to my mouth, to my actions and I’ll have happier days.
And as my husband says, “if God wanted us to know why, we’d know already.”