Acceptance is the ability to deal with something, someone or a situation, which is often negative, in a positive way, without attempting to change the outcome. It is when you decide NOT to take action OR try to change something or someone, or an outcome. It is accepting what IS.
This level of self-awareness is a skill and of course, it is not always easy to achieve. However, by developing acceptance through regular meditation, we give ourselves peace of mind and enhance our emotional wellbeing and provide perspective and balance. Without acceptance we might feel weighed down, immobilised, or overwhelmed with thoughts of apparent injustice.
Sometimes we have to accept a sudden loss, a long-term or terminal illness, disability, redundancy, financial loss or the break up of a relationship or friendship. This can produce anger, upset, sadness, frustration, resentment and feelings of hopelessness and impotence, yet the soul quietening of regular meditation provides the tool with which to develop acceptance. By doing this we forge a better, happier and less tortuous journey through life.
We live in an era of instant gratification and knee-jerk reaction. We seek perfection and we want everything faster, whether in material things, in ourselves, in our work and colleagues and in our nearest and dearest! This is not surprising given the pace of life today and the resources at our disposal. As a result we are impatient with ourselves and others. We have become dismissive of anyone who doesn't measure up or, in fact, if we don't measure up to our self imposed exacting standards! In many respects, 21 st Century living has a lot to answer for yet it is possible to achieve sound emotional equilibrium when we bring meditation as a practice into our lives.
As a consequence of modern life, the majority of us are less tolerant and ultra-critical, as much with ourselves as with others. We are more impatient and quicker to reach boiling point, jump to the wrong conclusions and react where we ought not. Many relationships are suffering as a direct result.
Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to allow yourself and those you love, know, work with, hang out with - just to BE?
There is no good reason why anyone, of any age or gender, cannot learn meditation techniques and enjoy the life-enhancing benefits that this deeply quietening, personal, spiritually replenishing practice brings.
We all have acceptance at our core and all the rest - the stuff of our complicated and cluttered lives - are just layers of experiences and reactions we have carefully laid on top. If we think we have no choice and that this, today, IS how our lives must remain, we are wrong. There is a way to make changes. Meditation affords us a way to shift our mindset. By becoming quietened, more grounded and balanced, we gain unique clarity and this allows us to peal back the layers of the judgemental, critical and anxious mind. Meditation, with its ability to deeply quieten us (at soul level, which is where the 'work' happens), gives us the space to re-gain the key skills we were born with. Acceptance is healthy and it allows change to happen naturally.
In order to BE accepting we first have to find out what it is about ourselves, others and situations that we find 'unacceptable.' Once we have explored this, we can ask ourselves: is it something we can change? Is it worth changing? Do we really need to be in control of this? Are our reactions over the top?
Here below are some things which the majority of us could further develop:
Acceptance does not mean that we have to allow and condone anti-social or unacceptable and unhelpful behaviour towards us, or by us towards others, yet we should learn that there are things we cannot change or are not meant to change, both in our lives and in the lives of people around us and often in ourselves.
This means not rucking against the unchangeable and inevitable.
Paddling upstream in this way causes heartache and wasted energy.
Also, Acceptance does not mean being or becoming complacent. It means that there are certain things in everyone's lives which are facts, whether in our environment, the people in our lives, our temperament and our physical/psychological/emotional makeup.
With the development of your innate skills of 'acceptance' achieved through meditation, comes quietening and strengthening at soul level. This allows you to become discerning, more intuitive, more measured and balanced. You will also acquire the ability to accept change, be more accepting of others and, most important of all, you will quieten the self-critic and become accepting of yourself.
Acceptance is a skill for life.
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Copyright: Sonia Wynn-Jones and Sue Blake June 2009