Sunday, 4 September 2016

One of the most important things I've learnt about acceptance

If you've been wandering around the 'spiritual' scene for a while, you may well have come across books, articles or been to seminars which talk about: accepting what is, living in the present moment, etc etc.

For most people, this is easier said than done. I still find it pretty damn hard to accept some of the things that have happened in my life, and I can feel pretty despondent at how my life is at times.

Thanks to some excellent spiritual teachers, particularly Jeff Foster, I have come to realise that acceptance isn't necessarily about seeing a difficult situation as wonderful or pretending that your life is easier than it is. What do I mean by this?

Well, sometimes there's very little you can do to stop how you feel about certain things, however much you wish you didn't. The mind can be a little irrational to say the least and sometimes I can think to myself:
'I really shouldn't be feeling this way any more'.
'Why can't I get over this issue?'
And, of course, the classic - 'I've been meditating, working on myself, surrendering, and doing my best to 'accept' things - but I still feel like I'm getting nowhere'.

The feeling of 'things should have gotten better by now because I've been doing this and that' is little more than the ego wanting justice and feeling that life owes something.

Anyway - life can be pretty tough at times, and part of the problem is that we seem to think that life should not be difficult, that we should try our best to always feel positive, and that we should do our best to push away and/or run from any sort of emotional pain. The extreme overuse of anti depressants is clear evidence of this.

But who is to say that we shouldn't feel both good and bad? Is this not part of the natural journey of being a human being?

To me, acceptance is about accepting your current situation on some level - even if it's 'acceptance of non-acceptance' - meaning that, if you feel bad about yourself, if you feel like you're lost, if you feel like you should be doing better - accept that. If you feel like the most hopeless basket case in the world, don't try and fight these feelings, and don't judge them by thinking you shouldn't be feeling so bad. One of the biggest issues we create for ourselves is resisting and fighting against things we don't want. Acceptance on some level is, I believe, one of the keys to dealing with difficult stuff. I still have times where I feel like fighting tooth and nail against things which bring about emotional pain - and let's be honest, it's not easy to face pain of any sort. Sometimes, the only thing I can accept is that I really hate the situation I am in - like, okay life, I am fed up and pissed off and feelings are running pretty high, and I'm not sure how much more crap I can take, but I will do my best to allow things to be as they are, right now.

If you want to find out more of the true meaning of acceptance, I highly recommend looking at the work of either Jeff Foster or Matt Licata.

Hope this helps at least one person. Life can be pretty bad, and sometimes we may need counselling or therapy to face deep rooted problems. But you can only start from where you are, not by wishing things were different.

Be like the flowers, who allow the natural flow of life to happen :)

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