Chapter 7:  The Way Things Are

Chapter 7

The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander


“The practice in this chapter is an antidote both to the hopeless resignation of the cow and to the spluttering resistance of the duck. It is to be present to the way things are, including our feelings about the way things are. This practice can help us clarify the next step that will take us in the direction we say we want to go.

Being present to the way things are is not the same as accepting things as they are in the resigned way of the cow. It doesn't mean you should drown out your negative feeling or pretend you like what you really can't stand. It doesn't mean you should work to achieve some “higher plane of existence” so you can “transcend negativity.” It simply means, being present without resistance: being present to what is happening and present to your reactions, no matter how intense.”

“Presence without resistance: you are now free to turn to the question, “What do we want to do from here?” Then all sorts of pathways begin to appear: the possibility of resting; having the best food, sex, reading or conversation; going to movies or walking in the rain; or catching the next flight to Tuscon.”

“The practice of being with the way things are calls upon us to distinguish between our assumptions, our feelings, and the facts- that is, what has happened or what is happening.”


Be aware today of your assumptions, feelings and facts, which do you base your reactions on?

Quotes from: Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander, The Art of Possibility (New York: Penguin Books, 2000), pages 100-101, 103.

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