Sunday, 14 January 2018

#413 Acceptance

Warning: contains freewheeling thought processes, which may be ill-considered

Why is acceptance so important and how do you practice it?

I want to suggest that this seems like a perfectly reasonable question to be sitting contemplating on a Friday night but I suspect that isn't the case. I could just as well ask why the hell I'm even considering such an apparently arbitrary question surrounding a concept or word and the answer isn't any better than the fact that a couple of people I know recently used the word in conversation and I feel like reflecting upon it.

So why is it so important? Because it's the only non-harmful way of dealing with anything. Why is that the case? Well, why wouldn't you accept something? Because you think it's evil. Except evil is subjective, obviously because otherwise the food chain and every other hierarchy in the world would organise itself perfectly without anyone ever having to fight or work hard or evolve to get to the top of it. So then why else wouldn't you accept something? Because it's a threat. Ok so what's the only way of dealing with that threat? By accepting it.

It doesn't mean you have to accept the danger itself, unless it's absolutely and completely inevitable, in which case you might as well. So then how do we go about accepting?

It requires some knowledge because if you don't understand something, how can you tell whether or not it's inevitable? Then it also requires some strength. Babies don't accept anything, which is why they cry all the time. You can't accept a challenge if you feel like it's bigger than you are and the baby finds even the challenge of feeding itself too big to handle. So if you feel like your problems are bigger than you are, that's them accepting you, not the other way around.

Also, you can't properly accept something bad while there's any part of you that feels like there's something you should do about it because that wouldn't be logical or honest or consistent.

Also you can't accept danger while focusing directly on it and it alone because if all you're doing is focusing on that one thing, which is practically impossible for anyone but very well trained meditators over short periods of time but theoretically speaking, if all you're doing is focusing on it, you're effectively becoming that thing, which means there's no part of you that's bigger than it and therefore you can't accept it.

So that's how you accept something. You shed your misconceptions about evil. You get to know it. You make sure you're bigger than it and you never focus directly on it and it alone.

I'm not speaking from experience here. These are just my wandering thoughts.


Fizzfan said...

Acknowledging that many things are outside our control is a kind of acceptance but it’s also a self preservation mechanism that’s pretty important, ie wealth inequality, poverty, injustice, cruelty etc.

Taking steps to change things that you’re unhappy with in your own personal life is better than acceptance, but equally, if in the course of your actions you come to recognise it’s a battle you can’t win, it can be better to accept it, at least in the short term. Things often change with time anyway, as does your approach to them and your thoughts.

Either way you’ve resolved the issue in your mind because you’ve either improved things or come to accept it after some sort of trial.

Fizzfan said...

PS In other words it’s kind of your call what you find acceptable :)

Dan Copping said...

I hope one day going to the dentist is less unpleasant.