When I heard his words it was like a huge burden was lifted from my shoulders. While acceptance was still key to achieving peace and serenity, that acceptance was made easier by understanding that things are the way they are because it’s just the way they are … even if something still did have a negative label in my mind. It wasn’t really for me to accept; it just was.
More recently though, as an outgrowth of my practice of being present free of the intervention of thought, I’ve come to understand another aspect of the wisdom of “it’s just the way it is.” It’s not only about understanding that things are the way they are just because that’s the way it is, it’s about viewing things free of thought, not placing any value judgments on what we observe or experience based on our learned experience.
As I indicated above, previously the phrase “it’s just the way it is” often had a negative context. I didn’t like the way things were, I didn’t approve of what was happening, but I said to myself, “it’s just the way it is,” and I accepted that fact. I wasn’t happy about it, but I accepted it. Actually, when I had reason to use this practice, it always was within a negative context; if I was happy with things there was no reason to resort to, “it’s just the way it is.”
Now I understand that the deeper meaning of this practice is being at one with all things, experiencing without the intervention of thought. without any judgment or labels. And so it has changed from a statement of resignation, something I resorted to as a coping mechanism, to a positive statement of oneness with all things. As the line from the ancient Chinese poem, “Affirming Faith in Mind,” says, “When the mind is one with the way, the mind rests undisturbed, then nothing in the world offends.” I am at peace, happy and content.