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The Five Givens of Life -DO NOT USE

Melli O'Brien



Melli O'Brien



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The Five Givens of Life -DO NOT USE

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Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness.

Today, I'm going to talk about what David

Richo calls the five givens of life.

So in his book, The Five Things We

Cannot Change, David Richo states

that there are five inescapable

givens of human experience.

They are: one, everything changes

and ends; two, things don't always go

according to our plans; three, life

isn't always fair; four, pain is a

part of life; and five, people are

not loving and loyal all the time.

Now you might be thinking to yourself

at this point, "Well, thanks for

the inspiring lesson today, Melli."

You know, but hear me out.

I think David's message in this book

is a really beautiful and valuable one

because he points out that struggling

against the five givens of life is what

leads to a lot of our suffering, our

stress and our disappointments in life.

But if we can learn to really bring

an unconditional acceptance, an

unconditional yes to these givens of

life, accepting them and embracing life

just as it is, then we can discover new

degrees of freedom and peace of mind.

There is a Zen practice that David

offers us in the book, which helps

us to bring about this unconditional

yes to life in the moments when

we're faced with the givens.

It's to ask ourselves the question, this

being the case, how shall I proceed?

So when the givens come up, this

being the case, how shall I proceed?

This question helps us bring a certain

amount of acceptance to what is.

The first part of the sentence

that this being the case is kind

of like saying, okay, I accept

that this is how it is right now.

And how shall I proceed is a way of

asking ourselves, okay, how would I

like to intentionally respond to this?

It gives us a chance to tune into

our values and then respond from

that place rather than out of

reactivity or mental struggles.

So there you are, and

somebody lets you down.

They did something they

said they wouldn't do.

Instead of going into the mind and kind

of ruminating about how this shouldn't

be happening or how could they, or

why me or how catastrophic it is.

Instead you could try this being

the case, how shall I proceed?

So you accept that these things do happen

and then decide what's the best course

of action that aligns with your values.

What's the best thing for you.

Now, I don't offer you this as some kind

of magic bullet practice that's going to

take away all the difficulties in life.

The givens when they arise are not

easy and they can be really painful.

But what this practice can offer

you is a way not to add more

suffering and mental struggles on

top of what you're already facing.

And it can really ground you in

presence, wisdom, and calm right

there in the middle of it all.

So if this sounds like it could be

valuable, I encourage you to give it

a try when you're faced with loss,

disappointment, heartache, or pain.

This being the case, how shall I proceed?

May it bring you ease and

strength in those times.

Thank you for your practice.

Let's settle in for meditation.

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