The puzzle of acceptance

No word has been misused more than ‘acceptance’.

How acceptance is misunderstood…

It often becomes a weapon. An excuse for resistance to change: “I refuse to change!!! I accept myself as I am!”

An excuse to be a jerk: “If you accepted me for who I am, this would not have been a problem”

An excuse to be apathetic: “Don’t try to change anything. Acceptance is key”

The worst is as an excuse to avoid life… “Acceptance is the absence of the ‘I’. The doer is no longer present…all that is present is awareness…a pure witness….eternal bliss…..blah blah blah” Where we find solace in the authority of explaining acceptance, over living it.

Acceptance is not approval

Acceptance is confused with ‘approval’. Or ‘positive judgement’. 

So ‘Women are bad drivers’ is not ok. But ‘Women are more compassionate and nurturing’ is. 

Acceptance is beyond judgement. Letting thoughts BE. Not forming an opinion. And if an opinion gets formed, letting it BE too.

Acceptance is not something we do

It is not an outcome of our doing. It is an outcome of our realization that we are ‘part of reality’ not separate from it. 

The realization that we cannot ‘fix reality’. We lose our compulsion to fix. 

Surely not apathy!

This might be confused with apathy. Which is absence of action. The truth is far from it. 

Then what is acceptance!!??

You can water a plant because it is withered and “needs blossoming”. Your happiness now depends on its blossoming. Until you think it “has blossomed enough“. The focus of your efforts is in shifting your thoughts from “not good enough” to “good enough”. Nothing to do with the plant itself. Just your own thoughts.

Or you can water a plant because….you just want to. You care for it. Yes, there were a hundred other plants too. But you care for this one. The plant is the focus. Not your opinions. If it blossoms, great!

You are no longer trying to do something to ‘fix reality’. You are doing because you want to, compelled to.

Can you imagine where the chances of blossoming are greater? 

When your energy is fully present in its caring…and the blossoming becomes a likely side effect

Or when the blossoming becomes a goal and your energy  contaminated by anxiety around its blossoming? …

  • “What if it won’t blossom?”
  • “What are the chances of blossoming?”
  • “If it won’t blossom, then it’s not worth caring for. Why waste energy?”
  • “Why care if it won’t blossom?” 

So we pause before we care, before we love…before we let our energy flow.

We drive with our foot pressed on the brakes….”What if the destination is not worth the drive?”

 We drive with our foot pressed on the brakes, wondering “What if the destination is not worth the drive?”

We walk around holding our breath, waiting to breathe only when we are sure the air will smell fragrant. Afraid of what might happen if we breathe, and smell shit. 

And the catch 22 begins. We cannot be sure unless we breathe. We wont breathe unless we are sure.

And then when we go all red in the face and feel choked, we wonder “Why am I feeling so suffocated in life?”

Just breathe. That’s enough.

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