The mental attitude that something is believable and should be accepted as true
The state of being acceptable and accepted
Accept nothing that anyone says to be true
Only if you experience it will you truly know
I would like to start by contradicting myself, so please accept my apologies. There is just one thing I would like you to start accepting, although it is a brave person that does so. That is, accepting yourself for who you are. This acceptance is the first step on the way to awareness of self, and the world around you.
So many of us start by trying to change ourselves and/or our environment around us. This is precisely the mistake I made when I embarked on my journey of self-exploration, several years ago. I thought that by changing me, I would become a happier, more fulfilled person immediately. What I found, was that I was resisting the change. Half of me wanted to change, and the other half did not. Millions of you around the world will know what I mean.
I mentioned in the introduction that I bought many self-help books, and studied yoga, amongst other things, in a half-hearted attempt to change. What was I changing? Anything and everything I didn’t like about myself – only it didn’t work the way I expected it to.
I found that the more I tried to change, and the more I couldn’t, the more anxious I became. I began to question my ability to fundamentally change. I tried giving up smoking but I couldn’t, so I bought more books and cd’s on giving up smoking, and became more and more frustrated the more I kept smoking. I bought books on becoming less angry, and although I felt slightly less angry in certain situations, it was only superficial. Deep inside I knew I still had anger within me. All of this attempted change was making me feel worse and worse! Why was I putting myself through this? Why was I bothering?
I stayed like this for three years, constantly wrestling with myself, until one day it came to me that, it was only when I accepted who I was, that I could transcend it. So I did! Sounds too easy? Well it was!
It doesn’t matter if you are too fat, too angry, too obsessive, too controlling, or too violent; once you say, “I accept myself for who I am” you are dealing with the whole. It is when you divide yourself into the “I” that wants to change,” and the “other” that does not, that the trouble begins; do you follow what I am trying to say here?
When you start a conversation with yourself that says “I,” you have created division, and you are not acting as a whole. It is only when the division is resolved through acceptance, and awareness, without the use of language, that the process can begin. It is only then that you will see clearly.
How many of us spend our days having conversations with ourselves, chiding ourselves about things we have said, people we have upset, and things we have done, but not “meant” to? I’m sure we all have. There is no point in saying; “I shouldn’t have got angry with my wife last night,” “I shouldn’t have hit that man,” “I should have gone to the gym,” “I shouldn’t have eaten that huge burger and chips,” “I should lose weight,” or “I should spend more time with my family.” If you were going to do any of those things, you would have done them; right? Do not torment yourself by saying “Why can’t I change,” or “why can’t I be a better father/mother/friend/lover/human being?” You are just perfect the way you are. You are you. Accept it.
Accept what you are. Accept what you do. Accept what you say. Accept that you are a wonderful human being. Accept that you are a creator of joy in the world. Accept that you are violent. Accept that you are too fat. Accept that you hurt people with your words and your actions.
Do not try to change
Change without acceptance and awareness is an external process created through division – division of self. Accept yourself and become whole. Once you have accepted yourself, just start to pay attention to your words, your thoughts and your actions. Do not judge them; do not interact with them, just watch silently.
I am sorry to keep repeating myself about accepting yourself, but it really is most important that you do. But don’t take my word for it. Look into it yourself!
You may say, “What if I don’t want to accept myself?” Well, my answer to you is don’t. I am not here to force you to do anything you don’t want to do, merely to point things out you may, or may not have been aware of. Do you understand what I am trying to discuss with you here?
What I must stress though, is that we are talking about acceptance of yourself, not acceptance of the intolerable situations that surround us on this planet. In fact, we must not accept the violence, the greed, the power, the armies, and the weapons, to name but a few! But that is another topic.
The other point I must make is that acceptance does not equal ignorance. It’s all very well to say, “Yes, I accept I am a wife beater, and a drunk, but actually, I don’t care,” and then carry on doing it. Some of you may take me to task on this and say, “What is the point of him accepting himself as a drunk and wife beater, if he continues to be a wife beater and a drunk?”
On the surface, it’s a good argument. But how do you expect him to change? Shall we force him? Shall we hold him down, until he agrees he will change? Of course not! What we want to do is help him see who, and what he is. Only then, can the true work of transformation begin inside him. It can never be an external process.
Over the years, many people have tried to encourage, cajole, bribe, or threaten me into changing. “Be more like this, alan; don’t do it this way, alan; why are you doing that, alan; you should change,” and little good it did me. It was only through acceptance of who I was, and awareness of myself in action, that the transformation began.
Don’t try to force it. Relax into the acceptance and you will start to notice a difference almost straight away. What kind of difference is anybody’s guess! But you will notice a difference.
We also have to accept something else, and that is the power of nature. We have little understanding of how nature works, yet we meddle with it all the time; from setting off nuclear explosions, to damming rivers. We have no idea of the damage we are causing to the planet and, let’s face it, destruction on a large scale has only started happening in the last hundred years, when full-scale industrialisation has gripped the world.
I do not want to be one who preaches impending doom, but at the rate we’re exploiting the world, something has to give. Do you agree?
We have recently seen the devastating effect of a tsunami on a coastline, and there have been hurricanes, cyclones, floods, and earthquakes, all causing death in their path; but the thing we have to remember, as we watch people screaming, and ambulances carrying away the injured, is that nature isn’t “evil,” it’s not “doing” this to us deliberately! We just happen to have expanded our territories into areas where these natural events occur. I say events, because it is only us that sees it as a disaster. The rest of the planet just moves on.
Unfortunately, the reason it hits us so hard, is that we believe everything we create should be permanent. We believe that all our possessions, wealth, and property will always be there for us, no matter what. It is because we are so attached to these items, and the status they give us in society, that we find it so hard to let them go. On the television, we see pictures of people crying, not because they’ve lost a loved one, but because their house was flooded and they had lost all their possessions.
If we are to accept ourselves in the world, we have to accept that nature is more powerful than we are, and we cannot control it, nor should we try to. This earth was created by natural forces of such power; we couldn’t start to imagine it. If you want any evidence of power in nature, you just have to look at the sun.
We had better start accepting and respecting nature, and realise that everything is impermanent, ready to be swept away at nature’s whim, and that if nature decides it’s time to pull the plug on the earth, no amount of money, gold, sports cars, or designer suits will be able to stop it! That should give you give you something to think about!