I remember an occasion from my youth that provided me with a profound insight. I was probably 6 or 7, and rarely wore shoes. Running along the sidewalk in front of my house, I stubbed my toe, turning my fresh young flesh into a bloody ragged mess. Sitting under my good friend, the giant maple tree that lived in our front yard, I looked at the dripping disaster, cringing at the unpleasantness of the fact before my eyes. Somehow, perhaps my old friend sharing his wisdom with me, I gained an oversight of my reaction, or inner action, to the situation. I was trying to block the reality from fully entering my awareness because I was afraid of what it would feel like. After all, it was already a vicious, searing, pain. But something about my resisting what was happening, seemed wrong or foolish to me. So I made a conscious decision to cease my attempts to deny the experience. I thought “How bad can it really be? What’s the worst that could happen?”. It wasn’t an attempt to be wise or altruistic or anything, I just wanted to satisfy my curiosity. Silently, I invited the wound to, “Bring it on”.

Having anticipated an intensifying, I was pleasantly amazed. Instantly, like a wave of reality washing away the illusion, the throbbing, stabbing sensations melted into a warm, tingling, almost pleasant sensation. It was like I’d just discovered magic. The rules of the world had shifted in my favor. I sat for a moment, appreciating my new reality. Grateful for my pulpy digit and the obviously valuable lesson I’d just ingested, I heel walked inside, plundered the stash of bandages and plugged the leak.
Since then I’ve learned that resisting cold prevents warming. (Technically, it causes muscular tension that constricts blood flow) Resisting a headache makes it worse. (Adding to tension or preventing sinus release) Splinters, cuts and abrasions are only as painful as we make them. And this conscious control goes beyond physical discomfort.

Things happen in life, and then they’re gone. But people keep them alive and distort them, in their minds. It may be an accident, a personal mistake, a perceived injustice or a lick of bad luck. Instead of letting if fade into history, the mind rehashes it, adding judgment and coating it with anger, sadness, shame or any other shade of discontent. The longer we hold onto it, the more times we review it and the thicker the coating of displeasure we imbue upon it, the more prevalent and distasteful it becomes for us. Looking reality in the eye, and letting things be what they are, lessens our angst and allows events to more quickly dissipate into our past.

This doesn’t mean ignoring the past, and therefore, not learning from it. It means that we can choose how our lives resonate within us.

Our focus shapes our experiences in this life. The quality of our experiences color the quality of our days. The nature of our days determines our level of satisfaction with our lives. The way we feel about our lives is an indicator to our children of what they should expect in their lives. And the way we digest our experiences sets an example of how to be, for all others.

Taking control of your life is less about making the outside different, than it is making your perceptions and interpretations, about it, different. Of course, I want everyone to shape their outer lives to suit their wishes, as much as possible. But the outer isn’t, and will never be, completely satisfactory. However, our ability to change how we react internally provides us with the power to reap immediate benefits in how we feel about our selves and our circumstances, in every moment.

Whatever the thing, event or situation, it is what it is, and nothing more. What you make out if it, with your thoughts and feelings, is your choice. What reactions you display, influencing those around you, is also your choice. Choose wisely. Your life will be defined by the decisions you make.

(From pranarama.blogspot.com)