Acceptance - a Natural Discipline
By Premjith Purushotham
Every moment, life is happening to you. It is bringing something; it is taking away something; it takes you here; it takes you there. But if one is aware enough, one can see that life is continuously moving. One can say that the very nature of life is movement. A movement that is not of our choosing but of its own. The very beginning of a child is acceptance. He or she is born to parents, not of his choosing, the food they give, the love they give, it all flows naturally into the child.
However, as we grow up, we start accumulating knowledge. We start believing many ideas due to the conditioning that the parents, teachers, society, etc. give us. Slowly, slowly, this natural acceptance that we had as a child is lost. As the weight of our collected information and beliefs grow, the more drag it brings. Slowly, life begins to drag on without joy. It becomes a sad affair.
If we study depression in human beings, we see that it is nothing but a prolonged feeling of hopelessness. But the very foundation of this hopelessness needs an active inquiry. In nature everywhere we see dualities: day and night; love and hate; anger and compassion; pain and pleasure; happiness and sorrow and so on. All beautiful things in nature have a duality. Now, the problem arises when we reject or accept only one of them. So it is naturally hope that is leading to hopelessness.
It may appear contradictory. There exists a strong notion among human beings that hope is fundamental to life. But it is quite the contrary. If we hope, which means to expect something to turn out the way we think, we are naturally holding on to prefixed ideas. So when it doesn’t happen, people easily fall into the other extreme of hopelessness.
Acceptance is even to get rid of hopelessness; it is to realize that hope is a choice, and even hopelessness is a choosing. Acceptance is to say yes to life, to whatever it brings. It is a path of non-resistance. When life brings happiness, accept it, enjoy it. When life brings sorrow, accept it. Then you will see that sorrow slowly disappears.
But people tend to do the opposite. When the pain comes, they reject it. They forget that it is the same life that brought pleasure that is bringing pain now. The pleasure helped you grow, and now the pain will help you grow.
If you look into nature, you see that there is no stress in any living being. A cat merely is at ease; a dog sleeps with ease, a tree is simply dancing in the wind at ease, the flower blooms and floats in the breeze all at ease. But look at human beings, their very faces are lined with stress, anxiety.
But why is it so?
Look at the word ‘tension’. It means to stretch. A rubber band simply is, and then somebody pulls at it. Now, it is in tension. Earlier, it was just in its actual state. This the subtle reason for personal stress and anxiety as well. You are something, but you are continually thinking about becoming something else. Then there is stretching like a rubber band. Then there is this division within you. The division between what “you are” and “have to be.” It is this division that keeps human beings in conflict with themselves and hence the tension. Tension and anxiety is another factor leading to depression.
Acceptance is an ancient path of wisdom. It comes from a deep awareness of one’s ignorance. And from its deep acceptance. Socrates used to say: “the only thing I know is that I know nothing.” In deep acceptance, the ego totally vanishes. Now, there is no compulsion; now whatever comes, it is received as a guest. Once a person falls into the discipline of acceptance, the river of life starts flowing in him. The stones of beliefs and fixed ideas move away now the moving life is flowing splendidly, with energy, with freshness.
Gautama Buddha gave a beautiful word for acceptance; he calls it “tathata.” Tathata means the “suchness” or “thusness” of life. When a person starts to be in tathata or acceptance, he begins to live in the present moment. Then to him, the future is not there; neither does he carry the past; he is totally in the present moment. He becomes an observer who accepts the suchness of things, at ease, blissful.
But how to come to acceptance?
The easiest way to come to acceptance is through awareness by being just an observer. The techniques of mindfulness meditation, which increase one’s watchfulness, is instrumental. Once you start practicing, the quality of your awareness begins to change slowly. Your mindfulness will gradually increase, and you will begin to see how your ideas about different things are the seeds to your miseries later own. And once this is known, realized, you naturally move into acceptance.
Today, learning and doing meditation is much more comfortable. Thanks to the developments in the internet and smartphone technologies. Creating a mobile app is much easier today, and there are plenty of apps that can guide you in meditation. One such app is Buddhify with a complete set of meditations, depending on your mood and condition. Other apps like Breethe, 10% Happier, Calm, Headspace, etc. have unique, engaging interfaces to guide you.
About the Author:
Premjith Purushotham leads the Digital Marketing team at Aufait Technologies, a top-notch SharePoint development company. He also heads the SEO team at Mindster, a frontier mobile app development company in India. With his 4 valuable years of experience in online marketing, he helps clients expand their online presence and mushroom novel business ideas.
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