Dec
19

Acceptance

By

By a man without passions I mean one who does not permit good or evil to disturb his inward economy, but rather falls in with what happens and does not add to the sum of his mortality. Chuang Tzu

Disquietude is always vanity, because it serves no good. Yes, even if the whole world were thrown into confusion and all things in it, disquietude on that account would be vanity. St. John of the Cross

I can accept life’s offerings or reject them; but I must live with the consequences in the end.

Rejecting what fate is offering leads to unsuspected suffering.

When I accept my destiny my life becomes more carefree.

Acceptance is simply willingness to endure things without useless complaining.

It means doing the best one can and wisely leaving the rest in the hands of fate.

Doing our best is within our control, but the results of our efforts are beyond our control.

For example, when we travel between our home and the grocery store (any point A and point B will serve just as well), no matter how well we plan the trip and no matter how careful we are in carrying out our plan, there are just too many things happening in the world over which we have no control that can prevent our trip from going exactly as planned—nails in the road, other vehicles, pedestrians, car breakdowns, illnesses, car hijackings, drunk drivers, airplanes falling from the sky, and so on.

Acceptance is a mode of living.

It means going with the flow.

We live in the acceptance mode when we observe what life is presenting to us without anger, fear, or resentment and proceed serenely from there.

 Honda is a good corporate example.

When the United States government set strict standards to reduce pollution emissions, Honda said simply that it would have to work hard to meet the standards.

It did so, and on time.

By contrast the American carmakers complained that it was unrealistic of the government to expect them to meet the strict standards, dragged their feet, and fell behind.

Life’s unfolding presents us with a kaleidoscope of events to which we must respond—a friend betrays us, illness strikes, we are reprimanded in front of our co-workers, we lose our job, our investments fail, a loved one dies, and so on.

Acceptance is a way of responding to such situations.

Acceptance requires that we observe without censure, fear, or anger what life presents to us.

Acceptance requires us to quietly observe, and allow our mind to settle down so that we are observing with detachment, with pure awareness.

Observing with pure awareness clears our vision and enables us to put forth our best efforts.

Acceptance of what fate has in store for us leaves us in a state of detachment, a state where bias does not cloud our vision and fear does not weaken our ability to act effectively.

Struggling with what fate is offering uselessly wastes our energy.

The Samurai warrior contemplated life and death with equanimity.

Pure awareness and detachment enabled Zen-influenced Samurai warriors to respond to danger with lightening quick moves.

Acceptance requires that we observe with detachment.

A state of pure awareness arises when anger, fear, greed, and the like, do not cloud our vision.

Observe what happens if we are angry and we wish that we were not so angry. We have created a tension between the reality of our anger and the concept “we should not be so angry” thereby not accepting the fact that we are angry.

Suppression and refusal to accept our anger—to accept reality—creates tension between the reality of our anger and what we wish, and our mind is in worse condition than when it was simply angry.

Look what happens if we refuse to accept the anger, and struggle with it.

Our mind, which before was only in an angry state, now has the additional turmoil and stress caused by our efforts to suppress our anger and our wish that it, our anger, didn’t exist.

Observe what happens when we accept our anger and note what it is doing to our mind and body.

We feel adrenaline pumping, and blood rushing to the brain.

Does anyone need tell us that anger is bad for us—for our physical and mental health?

Notice what happens when we look within and allow our silent observer, our consciousness, to simply observe the content of our mind, without thinking about it, judging it, or trying to suppress it.

There is no struggle; there is only the reality of our condition and a consciousness that is clear and free to observe that condition.

When a loved one betrays us and we start to hate him or her, our silent observer can see the hate within us.

If we gaze on the hate without judgment or desire or efforts to suppress or reject it, we will presently see the entire processes of hate.

We will see how it arises because of a judgment we have made.

We will see it clouding our minds and making it impossible to see the person we hate as they really are.

We will see hate’s corrosive action upon our minds and bodies.

When we see the entire process of hate and its effect upon us, our hate will gently melt away like the sun-kissed snowflake on the garden wall.

When we look within and see our mind chattering like a flock of wild parrots, or we see that our desire for ever more power, wealth, and fame is causing us anxiety, thinking something like, “God, I wish my mind were peaceful and calm,” will only increase the chatter in our minds and add to our list of desires.

Philosopher and writer Aldous Huxley said this about acceptance:

This is, perhaps, the most difficult of all mortifications—to achieve a “holy indifference” to the temporal success or failure of the cause to which one has devoted one’s best energies.

If it triumphs, well and good.

If it meets defeat, that also is well and good, if only in ways that, to a limited and time bound mind, are here and now entirely incomprehensible.

The Latin term amor fati means to be in love with fate.

Amor fati allows us to not pursue happiness but to let it ensue as the unintended side effect of accepting with detachment whatever life offers us.

 Amor fati gives us vision to see from Himalayan heights and to live a robust life no matter what fate has in store for us.

Three Things: First: Awareness; Second: Changing Oneself; Three Acceptance. Easy to say—hard to do. But worth the effort.

MIND EXERCISE

 This is a classical Zen Awareness exercise:

Imagine yourself being chased by a hungry lion and you are forced to climb over a cliff and hang onto a vine.

One hundred feet below are two more hungry lions waiting for you to drop.

You notice a beautiful wild strawberry plant loaded with ripe berries glistening with dew.

You focus your attention on the berries and pick and eat them slowly, one by one.

How sweet they are!

Observe the state of your mind.

Carry it a step further and imagine the vine breaking and you falling.

Can you fall with total awareness of the air flowing around you?

Imagine yourself climbing over the cliff again; this time you are screaming and cursing.

You don’t notice the strawberries; you lose your grip, and claw and scream all the way down.

Death is inevitable.

Ponder on having to choose which way you are going to die.

Note which choice leaves you with the satisfied feeling that under all the circumstances it is the right one.

COMMENTS: Send your comments to me, Neil Bezaire, at neil@slk.us. I would enjoy hearing from you. Attention will be paid.

 

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