Acceptance is one of those terms that get bandied around in spiritual circles. Compassion. Surrender. Peace… There are many others.
But it is acceptance that intrigues me. I’ve heard the word and understood it. But I’ve never experienced it. I’ve never lived through it. I’ve never allowed it to lead me.
This whole retreat has introduced me to Acceptance in a radical new way. In a life-transforming way.
As I said in my last post, it is impossible to bring care and attention to something that I don’t accept: something that upsets or annoys me. Acceptance comes before care... Before surrender... Before transformation...
But what does this actually mean? To me, acceptance means allowing whatever is happening to happen. Sounds simple: it ain’t! If you’ve ever tried to accept something that really annoys you, you’ll know what I mean!
So, like all marriages, we have those little issues where we are different, where I flat out reject what Dirk is doing because he 'shouldn’t'... Ha ha!! Why shouldn’t he? Because I wouldn’t do it? That’s hardly a good enough reason.
This weekend I noticed that things that I used to comment on before, that I used to nag him about, seemed to matter much, much less.
Have you ever been in such a great mood that everything is good, no matter what happens? Well, it’s like that – without the great mood! It is just easy to accept what is regardless of what is happening around me.
Acceptance used to mean ‘he’s pushing my buttons with that damn joke again: I’m furious but I won’t react’ But it’s still inside me, because I’m consciously trying not to get annoyed.
Real acceptance, it would appear, is deeper than this. It is, ‘ah there he is, cracking that bad joke again.’
That’s it. End of story.
The thought goes through me, but I’m not thinking about it later. In fact, I’m barely registering the joke. It’s not pushing my buttons at all.
Perhaps it is because I have been practicing the first kind of acceptance with some degree of commitment, that I have glimpsed the second level of acceptance – at least some of the time!
In case Dirk is reading this, I would just like to be clear that this is a work in progress; I’m not entirely there yet, as he so patiently knows!