Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Practice of Acceptance

What if you were to accept every single thing that has happened or is happening in your life right now?

By accepting I mean looking at any given situation and understanding that it is happening, or that it has already happened and leave it at that.  No judgement, no trying to control or manipulate the outcome.  Simply allowing that situation to be just as it is.

Does this sound like giving up to you?  Does this sound like being cowardly?  Does it sound like laziness?

It might to some.

To me it sounds like a stress free, peaceful way of going about life.

Take a moment to think of the one thing that is happening in your life right now that is occupying space in your mind and heart, dominates your thoughts and has you awake at night.

What have you done thus far to deal with this situation? 

Is that working?

I'm going to guess that it hasn't. 

What I have noticed in the past when I have tried to control or manipulate the outcome of a situation is that the situation got worse, it got more intense and was prolonged.  It is in these moments that I need to remind myself that 'what we resist, persists'.

The opposite of resistance is acceptance.

We stumble on acceptance because we haven't practiced using it a whole lot.  Life & society tells us to work hard towards a solution, fight to the death so to speak (some people take this one literally).

By accepting something you aren't giving up.  You aren't condoning bad behaviour.  You don't have to like what is happening.  By accepting something you are saying 'I choose a life free from stress over a life full of tension and anxiety'.

Accepting what is does not mean we relieve ourselves of responsibility.  You don't rack up thousands of dollars worth of debt and then say "oh well, I guess I just have to accept it" and not make any motions towards paying that debt back.  What you can do is choose not to worry about said debt, it's already happened, it's already there, that's the reality of the situation and then you take responsibility for it.

Debt doesn't go away if you stick your head in the sand and misbehaving children don't develop a better attitude if mom or dad constantly have their battle gear on.

When I think of acceptance I instantly get a visualization of a door opening.  In the moment when acceptance occurs, a weight is lifted, our breathing gets deeper we feel more relaxed, it is in that moment when opportunities come that will be tailored to your getting the situation resolved.

Have you ever tried to reason with a screaming child?  This is what non-acceptance is like, it's like talking to a brick wall and expecting wisdom in return.  It gets you no where.

It's easy to confuse yourself though and say that you are accepting when behind the scenes you are still working at undermining others, manipulating outcomes and judging situations.  You'll know your acceptance level hasn't hit the mark if you are experiencing the same resistance.

Practice makes perfect though so don't give up.  Keep accepting, even the smallest moments of acceptance can create huge opportunity and change.



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