118 – How to be accepting
How to be accepting
Mindfulness Online Training
How to be accepting
I’m often asked the question in training courses “how can you be more accepting?”. Mindfulness talks about awareness and acceptance. It’s a good question. There are different types of acceptance. The first is psychological acceptance which is accepting something that happened before or accepting something that may be or will be happening in the future. That type of acceptance requires thought and it’s really based in the realm of time – and that’s the “usual” type of acceptance that we talk about.
The type of acceptance that you get in mindfulness is different to that. It’s what I call absolute acceptance and it’s acceptance that takes place within the present moment. So it’s about accepting your experience as it is now. It’s not about accepting the past. It’s not about accepting the future. And the interesting thing is that when you accept now you are automatically accepting everything that’s happened in the past that’s led to now and everything in the future which is going to come from now.
So absolute acceptance is the only reliable acceptance. The psychological acceptance, when you think to try and bring acceptance to things isn’t reliable. It’s needed though because we need to be able to psychologically accept things and get our heads around things in order to function. But the problem is that it’s not guaranteed. You can think that you’ve accepted something – you might have experienced something like this yourself before – and later you realise you’ve not accepted it because the unpleasant feelings and reactions return – so this acceptance with the thinking mind isn’t going to guarantee you peace.
The only place that you’ll find peace is within the present moment and it’s now and it’s being accepting of now. How can you accept now – how do you accept the present moment? Well, you accept the present moment through awareness. So you accept something through being aware of it. If we’re aware of our experience as it is now we’re actually accepting our experience. We only resist our experience when we get lost in thought, which is the opposite of mindfulness – when we go off in a dream in an uncontrolled way we’re resisting what is, but when we’re aware of our experience, even if it’s unpleasant, which it will be at times, having awareness means that we accept what’s going on at that point in time. That means we’re at peace and aligned with the universe and with what’s actually happening. And only from there can we be skillful and do the right thing – take the right action – think the right thoughts and communicate in the right way.
So in summary, there are two different types of acceptance. Pysychological acceptance – it’s needed but it’s not reliable. And then there’s absolute acceptance (or mindful acceptance) which is acceptance within the present moment – now.
Talk by Darren Cockburn
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