An Acceptance Experiment

Somewhere, deep inside our minds, we discover there is some amount of dissatisfaction about some aspects of ourselves.  If we allow ourselves to face these aspects fearlessly and honestly, we might be able to discover we have a fair amount of strength and joy inside.

Let me take an aside here for a few words.  It is not my place nor intention to try to “convert” you to Tibetan Buddhism.  I will only try to distill a small portion of it into an objective, western way of looking at ourselves. You can take or reject these observations as you wish.  I am not a guru nor do I care to proselytize nor to convert. I don’t like it when people wish to convert me to a religion, I refuse to do the same to anybody else. Such attempts come off as arrogance.

I began to tap into the mindfulness movement before it became a pop-psychology technique parlayed by the self-help industry.  The path I found was a school of Buddhism called Dzogchen.  In terms that many westerners can understand, Dzogchen has often been called the Tibetan form of Zen.

acceptance-Mumbai highway

I soon found out that the discipline is heavy on accepting what really is going on within and without you.  It’s not about squishy, fuzzy comfort and fantasy.  It is a path that uses wakefulness, honesty, and freedom from attachment to view.  It is a path that frees the practitioner to question every assumption about oneself. What one has been told by others about how one should be isn’t necessarily true. What the nature of the world is believed to be is frequently illusional.  One of my teachers said that this path might be called compassionate skepticism.

A popular misconception about Buddhist meditation is that it is a technique based on withdrawal into a mental cocoon or personal fantasy oasis.  It is thought that we enter some sort of bliss in which we imagine ourselves inhabiting an imaginary world and that the troublesome nature of the actual world can be disregarded and denied.

Such an impression couldn’t be further from the truth. If that sort of activity is actually practiced then that kind of meditator becomes satisfied with the status quo.  That sort of acceptance helps that meditator become a willing participant in social and environmental oppression by default.  We call that passivity.

Anybody who has sat in formal meditation knows that meditation is not a comfort state.  If we’re honest with ourselves, we know that passivity is easy.  Watching a documentary about the Dalai Lama is easy.  Watching your mind for half an hour or so presents some difficulty and inner resistance.  Just thinking about a paradise of butterflies and flowers is easy.  Paying complete attention to our thoughts without becoming wrapped up in them is unsettling. It’s work.

When we chronically ignore and deny our actions and the results of those actions, we contribute to our own dissatisfaction with ourselves. In turn, we experience unhappiness with the world and the people who inhabit it.  We mindlessly accept what is told to us by authorities with whom we agree.

An example of this is our addiction to today’s mindless consumer culture. Another harmful example is our alignment with political points of view and political parties.  When we begin to question our own political views, discomfort arises.

acceptance-ElkhornRiver

By simply sitting in a quiet place and deciding to simply examine our thoughts and opinions, we can start to improve our lives and become more compassionate and accepting of ourselves and others.  This is a big step.  Most people are content to not improve themselves.  Most of us believe that other people must conform to our beliefs.  We believe that if only those “other” people would act and think as we do, then the world will be better.

Acceptance involves going inside the mind.  Acceptance means paying attention to what you find there.  Do you find admirable qualities like love, caring, and helpfulness?  Do you also find such things as stubborness, hatred, and being a stick in the mud?  Take note of these aspects.

Really take note by writing them down in a notebook or a journal. Writing them down is a crucial step.  The act of writing, causes the mind to better focus.  If you want to experiment with acceptance, don’t neglect the writing down of your findings.

Look deeply at the loving and the hateful aspects you have written onto the paper.  Accept that they are part of you. Acceptance doesn’t mean approval, it only means you are being honest with yourself.  As you practice true mindfulness and acceptance, you will discover true insight.  This is complete, honest, sometimes uncomfortable insight.  When you accept yourself, warts and all, you have arrived at the starting point.  What do you like about yourself?  What do you push to the back of your mind?  How can you improve this self-acceptance?

This is not a quick fix.  When you practice self-acceptance in a non-indulgent manner, you will find that you like yourself more.  You will also find that your beliefs about other people will change along with the beliefs about yourself.  You will find that acceptance builds more acceptance.  You will discover that you get along better with yourself and others.  You will find that you want to practice this often.

Escaping into fantasy, entertainment, or drugs leads to less awareness.  Making excuses and blaming others leads to less honesty.  Grasping onto opinions builds walls between us and others.  You can see how the absence of awareness, honesty, and open mindedness leads to discord.  You can also intellectually understand why the presence and practice of these attributes will nourish our own and our collective goodwill.

Acceptance is the catalyst that leads to an attitude of feeling honestly good about ourselves.  Acceptance is also the catalyst that leads to us being more loving and compassionate towards all of our fellow human beings.

If you decide to try the acceptance experiment, you might really amaze yourself.

Ciao
l rm a 07-01

The Blue Jay of Happiness reminds you again, to write down your observations.  Read what is said about observations, in italics, in the upper right corner of this blog.

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, Health, Politics, religion and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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