One of the most difficult concepts in Buddhism or any spiritual practice for that matter is that of acceptance. Notwithstanding the challenge, it is by all means, one of the most important concepts to practice and, hopefully, master. Every element in nature attests the truth of the experience involving acceptance.
We all want to be happy and well and we often look for things outside ourselves that will give us the feeling or impression of this sought-after sense of permanent well-being and bliss. We all know so well that nothing is permanent, however. Our lives are in constant motion.
Being mindful about our lives requires that we accept each moment as it comes without refusing it. It requires from us the ability to adapt and change according to the circumstances, and we ride the waves as best as we can. Well, I am no surfer, so in this case, I would rather compare life to dance. We have to find our own rhythm at every moment. Sometimes the dance is fast and energizing; other times it’s as slow as it could be and we have to allow our bodies to flow into the movement of life with our bodies, minds and spirits always alert.
It easy to take things for granted when we are young. As time goes by, and we mature, we start to notice changes in our bodies and in our ways of seeing ourselves. We realize that there is a process taking place. Our external appearance changes, but, curiously, there is a depth of awareness that show us that our innermost essence is intact. We do not feel different inside. There is a presence of spirit that goes beyond the physical body; an energy that inhabits our bodies that seems to be aware of itself and its timelessness.
A lot of people think of acceptance as being passive towards life, but quite the contrary happens when we accept. We become full in control of our responses. It is not an act of letting life trample us as we are being tossed and blown around helplessly. It is a time to go within and work with what we have.
The path towards acceptance starts with ourselves. Do we accept ourselves as we are at every moment? Our minds are in a constant state of judgement with everything including ourselves. In order to accept oneself, the person needs to get in touch with who they are. We are not unilateral beings. We are composed by layers and layers uniting body, mind and spirit or energy. Every component is following a natural process, and, therefore, is not wrong or imperfect.
As a new day starts, we are always beginning again. We get up, brush our teeth, take a shower, get dressed and have breakfast: a new day starts. We are reborn, and we are ready to create a new path, a new way of thinking, with a new perspective. Such is the beauty of nature. It is a constant process of renewal, of death and rebirth. We go through these cycles most of he times without paying attention. We want to repeat the joyous experiences and we dread anything negative coming our way. We need challenges in order to grow, but we are afraid of them. Then, we tend to repeat self-created formulas so that we can recreate similar experiences, and we refuse to accept the new and unknown challenges in front of us. We do not seem to notice that the joy we felt after succeeding happened because we embraced life without resisting it.
By accepting who we are, or a given situation, we are not doomed to a state of passivity. We are, in reality, committing ourselves to allow change to take place and propel us forward. We are operating from a place of commitment with what is, instead of an imaginary or desired world created by our minds. We are rooted in the present moment and working with what we have at our disposal, molding and transforming energy and matter in complete awareness and presence.
It is all right to accept our emotions just as they are, without resistance or wishing they were not there. Without acceptance we will not be able to know ourselves and we get stuck. With acceptance the energy is released and there is an open space for change to happen. The concept and practice of acceptance is a magnificent tool that allows us to observe ourselves and our experiences and explore the possibilities. Acceptance is at the core of any creative process. We accept and we go beyond; it is our leap of faith.
During meditation we are constantly returning to the breath. The breath is like the thread that Princess Ariadne gave Theseus in order to find his way out of the labyrinth after killing the Minotaur. Through our breath we find our way back to the present moment. Through the breath we become alive and renewed. Through the breath we find peace.