The one battle we always lose

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Oh no! I enter the arrivals hall back in my home town Chiang Mai. I just came back from an exhausting business trip to Hong Kong and eager to still hug my 1,5 year old boy Tao before he goes to sleep.

Then I see a queue with literally hundreds of tourists standing in line for immigration. I feel annoyance coming up.

I think to myself: Perhaps this is a good opportunity to do something about this judgment.

I do a quick estimation of forecasted waiting time: At least one hour is my guess. And I desperately need to use the bathroom.

I choose to first address that primal need. I come back and about 30 other people just slipped before me in the meantime. Forecasted waiting time just increased to 90 min.

Fortunately, I remember to take a mindful breath. The good old friend that most of the time brings me a pause when I need it most.

Then I realize: I have a choice. Am I going to spend this hour resisting reality and being annoyed that I won’t see my son before he goes to sleep? Or will I fully surrender to reality and see what happens?

Tara Brach calls the latter: Practice radical acceptance of what is right now and act from that place.

Because if there is a one battle we always loose, it’s our resistance to reality. To what is.

Radical acceptance doesn’t mean we can’t change things moving forward, but whenever we are attached to how the world should be instead of accepting what is right now, we suffer. And as Ajarn Cha once said:

“If we let go a little bit of our ideas on how the world should be, we are a little happier. If we let go a lot, we are a lot happier. If we let go completely of our attachment on how the world should look like, we gain real freedom.”

And from that freedom, we can truly make an impact because we can use all our energy to create, not resist.

So I decide to go for radical acceptance. Already I feel more expanded and a sense of relief. Then, I flip through my FaceBook page and come across this TV ad.

The person posting it writes: “Bring out the tissues if you watch this”.

I smile with a slight unmindful judgment. Yeah right, it’s 3 minutes….Well, let’s see……3 min later a couple of tears run down my face. I look up and look around.

I ask myself: Why should I wait to practice love and kindness until I am home with my wife and son. Let’s start right now.

I look around and see these human beings. They all have joys and sorrows. They all have pleasure and pain in their life. They all have gains and losses. They all experienced sadness, grief, insecurity, doubt and fear at some stage in their life. That is 100% certain.

One by one, I truly wish them to be happy. To be healthy. And to be at peace. I realize we are all human and are on the same journey.


Mother Theresa once said: The problem in this world is that we draw our circle of family too small. I love that statement.

Since that day at the airport, I consciously try to draw that family line to include more and more people. Work in progress as always.

Take a moment to think about who you could include in that circle and join me in the practice.

Mindful regards,

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