Acceptance- The Road to Peace
In life we resist many things. We resist change, we resist pain, we resist responsibility, we even resist the truth; especially when things don’t go our way. However, it is our inner resistance to what is that causes us distress. Fighting reality is exhausting and leads to a dead end. When we learn to accept things as they are, they no longer have power over us to control our inner state. With acceptance we transform our suffering and cultivate inner peace; and from this peaceful state, we are empowered to make better decisions and create a better life for ourselves.
Acceptance is simply an acknowledgement of the situation without any judgments or reservations. It means being fully present in the moment and completely aligning ourselves with what is; it means not resisting, rejecting, denying or complaining about this very moment. This may be very challenging for the most of us, as we often refuse to accept anything that brings us pain and anguish. Most of us tend to avoid painful emotions by repressing or numbing them. But avoidance of emotions often leads to depression and anxiety. And our suffering persists when we hold on to resistances and habitual defenses. Non-resistance on the other hand, immediately takes us into a peaceful state, no matter what the present moment contains.
“Acceptance is not submission; it is the acknowledgment of the facts of a situation. Then deciding what you are going to do about it.” ~ Kathleen Casey Theisen
Acceptance teaches us that we have a choice in any given situation. It helps us to respond to life more consciously, with more awareness. It also teaches us to take full responsibility for our own life experiences. Acceptance does not mean that we have to tolerate a painful or negative situation, but it helps us to separate from it emotionally so that we can make empowering changes.
Often acceptance means letting go- letting go of everything we are at war with, including our own fears, judgments, expectations and limiting self-beliefs. And at times, acceptance means staying with our experience, allowing ourselves to experience the fullness of a feeling or sensation without changing or rejecting it. This deep acceptance leads us toward a greater understanding of ourselves and brings us closer to our essence. By accepting what is and staying present, we tap into deeper aspects of ourselves, where we find truth, peace and freedom. Total acceptance of what is realizing that everything has been already accepted by existence itself.
“A moment of radical acceptance is a moment of genuine freedom.” Tara Brach
Acceptance is profoundly healing and transformative. But it is not an act. Rather it is an allowing- a question of recognizing it, seeing it, noticing it in every single experience. As with all spiritual practices, cultivating acceptance requires practice. Here are three ways we can practice acceptance in our every day lives:
“Accept this moment as if you had chosen it.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
The only thing we ever have to fully accept is this very moment, as it is. To bring acceptance into the present moment, we must still our minds and bring our full attention to the now. Acceptance is not a place in the future, it is a present reality. It is this very moment, right here and right now. In this present moment we recognize that beyond mind, at the center of our true being, we are the source of peace and acceptance. The present moment is awareness itself and with awareness comes transformation and freedom. Acceptance of the present moment is the only way we can experience true peace and contentment.
“To ‘accept’ thoughts and feelings is to simply, gently, effortlessly notice that in this moment, those thoughts and feelings are already accepted – they have already been allowed in. They are already here. It’s not a time-bound doing, but a present-moment seeing. You cannot accept – for what you are is that acceptance.” ~ Jeff Foster
“Surrender is a place of power. When we surrender that which we can’t control, we are then free to control that what we can – which is ourselves, our own intention, our own reality.” ~ Dr. Margret Paul
Surrender is the inner acceptance of what is now in this present moment. It is a process of letting go. But it doesn’t mean giving up; it is not a passive resignation. Rather, it’s about letting go of the ego’s agenda to be in control and always getting its way. To surrender means to align ourselves with Universal Intelligence and allowing Divine Wisdom to handle the situation. Surrender requires faith, trust, courage and love- knowing deep within ourselves that we are infinitely guided and supported by Universe. It is trusting that everything is the way they are meant to be and serve our growth and highest good on our path to spiritual growth. There’s a great sense of freedom that occurs when we take our hands off the wheel and go with the flow of life. When we surrender, life unfolds before us in the most natural, spontaneous, unexpected and beautiful ways. Surrender is the gateway to the deepest acceptance of truth. It frees us from the bondage of our conditioned minds and opens our hearts to the fullness of life.
“The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life is the source from which self-respect springs.” ~Joan Didion
Acceptance requires us to take full responsibility for our actions and emotions. As we mature spiritually, we realize that no one or no situation is responsible for our suffering or happiness but ourselves. We always have a choice in how we respond to any situation. Bound by the illusion of a separate self, the ego is always looking to blame something or someone. It constantly projects its fears and insecurities and resists responsibility. To accept responsibility means to understand how subconsciously we create and invite certain situation and events into our lives. This includes taking responsibility for the consequences of our choices and understanding how they are manifested in our realities. Responsibility is about consciousness; it is the ability to choose our response in every moment and in any given situation. It is a choice that allows us to be in charge of the circumstances of our lives with in increased inner awareness. Accepting responsibility for our life is the first step towards spiritual growth. The moment we take personal responsibility for our lives, every aspect of our lives begins to transform.
Love and Light,