The phrase “it is what it is” has become so overused, it’s become a cliche. And yet…when we really look at it, it is quite profound and a very powerful tool in our quest for inner peace.
At first it seems redundant to say it. Of course, something IS what it IS. So why even say it? Because it reminds us that we tend to over-react to things, we’ve assigned meaning to things and events that our reactions completely overlook what’s really happening.
Even this mandala is subject to a variety of meanings and interpretations. When all it really wants us to do is just experience the shapes, patterns, and colors for what they are…without meaning.
The second lesson in “A Course in Miracles” explores the phrase:
“I have given everything I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place]
all the meaning that it has for me.”
The lesson explains that a thing is just a thing without any meaning. We are the ones who attach meaning to it. And because we give something meaning, anything that threatens that meaning in any way, disrupts our peace.
For example, while doing this universal reading, the cap to my gold pen rolled off the desk and down onto the floor. I immediately became annoyed because it meant I had to
- stop what I was doing
- get out of the chair
- look for it
- and, then put it back on the desk.
Half way through this ‘process’, I realized my annoyance and reminded myself of today’s reading: “it is what it is.” The cap fell off the desk and needed to be picked up…nothing more nothing less. I was willing to sacrifice my peace in that moment by equating the cap falling off the table to an “annoyance.”
While a bit trivial, its simplicity shows how even the littlest things can disturb our peace and tend to be even more insidious than the more obvious reasons for upsets. And that’s where we start with this reading.
In order to create peace in our lives we must begin with being vigilant in the little things that we let disturb our peace.
I know for me, my reactions tend to be automatic. I’m usually deep into it before I realize that I’ve given up my peace. Another common occurrence is looking for something or someone outside of myself to blame for my reaction. The old “you made me do this” kind of thing.
What seems to happen:
event = reaction (blame it on the event)
What actually happens:
event + decide how I want to feel about it = reaction
We tend to forget a big piece of the equation. Our reactions happen so fast, that in a mere nano-second of something happening we’ve already decided how to react out of habit and go right into automatic reaction mode.
What we really need to do is:
- remind ourselves that “it is what it is”
- ask ourselves “how do I want to feel about this?” (ultimately the answer is “peaceful”)
- and “what can I do about it?”
Taking on this task is a process and it just takes practice and due diligence. Keep checking in by asking “how do I feel in this moment?” Am I at peace or am I reacting to something? As Abraham/Ester Hicks usually puts it “am I allowing or am I resisting?”
When asked what his secret is for being in a constant state of peace, Krishnamurti’s response was “I don’t mind what happens.” This is our ultimate goal…to be in total equanimity with all that is and all that is going on around us.
For now, let’s just start with the little things.