How to Harness the Power of “As-Is” Acceptance to End Pain


Ashleigh Brilliant, English author and cartoonist from the early 20th Century said that “By accepting you as you are, I do not necessarily abandon all hope of your improving.”

This approach to relationships, one of acceptance of where someone truly is while at the same time keeping an open mind about who they can become, is not only what fosters deep and lasting friendships and intimate partnerships, but is also the key to finding peace and comfort in your physical body.

Your body’s nearly 100 trillion cells are a community that is in constant and intricate relationship. Every cell is connected to virtually every other cell through a vast holographic, electric, biochemical, and electromagnetic network in which the whole is reflected in every part.

If someone who you love is behaving in a way that you think is far below what they are really capable of and you don’t like or approve of it, you can choose to accept them “as-is” in the moment and hold the space for them to improve, or you can try to change them or convince them of how they “should be” different.

If you’ve ever tried the latter approach (and we all have) I’m sure you found that it causes a lot more pain for both parties.

Accepting Physical Symptoms As-Is

In your body, your physical symptoms are a way to get you to pay attention to something going on in some part of your inner “community.” If you’ve got low back pain, a headache, asthma, or even wrist pain, it’s your body calling you to focus within and bring more of your awareness to the area.

Bringing focused attention to a part of your body that’s in pain, is like bringing focused attention to someone in your community who’s acting out to get attention.

But just placing your attention on the part of your body that’s in pain isn’t enough. If you want to end the pain, you’ve first got to accept the part exactly “as-is.”

The As-Is Paradox:

The “As-Is” paradox exists because in order for your pain to go away you’ve got to totally accept the feeling, the energy, the intensity, and every little nuance of it without any agenda for it to go away!

The only way out of pain long-term (naturally, without drugs that inhibit your awareness and lead to further dissociation) in my experience, is through full acceptance of the pain “as-is.” A full immersion into the experience of “you as you are” in that painful part of your body in that moment, without any desire for it to be different — while at the same time holding the possibility that it can improve — is what allows healing to finally occur.

Until you can be with and fully accept the painful part of yourself “as-is,” you’re stuck in a cycle of suffering.

But that suffering ends the instant you connect with your body, your breath, energy and movemement, with the compassion you’d give a friend or a lover who’s hurting and just needs some love and attention — minus your agenda to change them.

Learn about a series of body/mind exercises that can help you harness the power of “as-is.”

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About John Amaral

Santa Cruz Chiropractor Dr. John Amaral has helped thousands of people from over 50 countries transform and awaken to more meaningful and purposeful lives. Follow him on twitter at @johnamaral