WHEN YOU ARE STRUGGLING TO FIND “ACCEPTANCE”, HERE’S WHAT TO DO
I think we all realise that it is more spiritual, saintly or virtuous, to be able to ACCEPT that which is.
There is also a difference between knowing this ‘principle’ and actually trying to apply it to real life.
Especially when life can be pretty horrendous at times.
Or people can be so ‘bad’ at times.
We are forever hearing of terrible things (personally or collectively), and the idea of Acceptance (of these horrible things) is a pretty bitter pill to swallow.
Again, we might know that Acceptance is a higher path, but boy oh boy can it be friggin hard to get to at times!
And again there is a difference between telling ourselves we have accepted something in our lives, and ACTUALLY accepting it all the way down into our bones.
When we intellectually accept things (“Yes, I accept X”), often our emotions and behaviours just don’t get the ‘Memo’.
What to do?
I am again going to draw on the great work of Dr David Hawkins – author of Power Versus Force – who was a great teacher and explorer when it comes to levels of consciousness. In the past I have used his model on ‘Levels of Consciousness‘ to talk about how Pride holds us back.
This time we will look at ACCEPTANCE.
(There is an image of the Levels of Consciousness below)
When Acceptance is a struggle
Being told we need to accept something, and actually being able to accept something, deep in our psyche, is not easy.
It IS the spiritual work.
And it is a worthy pursuit and practice for us to master.
But it is not easy, and what’s the alternative if we just can’t get there?
I am not sure what you struggle to accept of late or in the past, but for me it includes things like:
People being vicious or cruel to others, the harming of children, pedophilia, blatant denial in the face of irrefutable facts, forcing free people to do something they don’t want to, abuse of power, young people choosing to wear a face mask while alone on a beach, and a bucket load of other examples.
A friend in Bali the other day, was struggling to accept how the local people treat their dogs. Often the locals treat their dogs like they would a bird, or pet lizard, rather than recognizing them as mammals and with higher levels of consciousness.
I am sure you can think of a number of things you struggle to accept, probably on a regular basis.
Obviously the aim is to get to a level of consciousness, where we accept all of life for what it is.
This doesn’t mean we choose to do nothing about it.
It means we accept it is what it is, without being triggered RE-ACTIVELY into a stress response.
We remain calm.
And in that calmness we can choose to act consciously with intent (and have access to greater creative faculties).
Yes, that is the target, but if you cannot get there yet, here is practical suggestion, in order to stay in an elevated and calm state, as opposed to slipping into survival mode, and the activation of the stress response.
A temporary way forward
As you can see on the Levels of Consciousness (below), our target is to move up the scale, beyond Courage, and in the direction of Peace, Love and Joy.
Acceptance is 3 levels above Courage.
You will also note that NEUTRALITY is above the level of Courage and further up the consciousness pathway.
What I have found is if I cannot get into the place of true ACCEPTANCE, I back off and see if I can sit in NEUTRALITY.
Where I come back into a neutral relationship with that thing that is triggering me.
In that space of Neutrality, my nervous system is also neutralized.
I am not reactive.
I am not firing the chemicals and behaving physiologically as if I am in survival mode.
I am the observer.
Just observing and breathing.
From there I may choose to step up to the level of WILLINGNESS to lean into that ‘thing’.
Or I may just stay at Neutrality.
I can walk up and down these levels of consciousness, and lean into the next level, as I grow mentally, emotionally, psychologically and spirituality.
But I can do it at a pace that works for me, for now.
The formula is simple
I would like to be able to accept something that triggers me, so I stay calm and don’t activate the sympathetic nervous system.
IF I cannot get to Acceptance, THEN I drop back into Neutrality and find my centre.
This keeps me out of a subconscious and disruptive reactive and survival response, and allows me to have greater perspective and make better choices in the moment (without doing something crazy or really stupid).
My Parting word
Acceptance in the face of really stupid, painful or unjust stuff is not easy.
This really is our spiritual and evolution work.
To sit in non-reactivity.
And from that place, choose creative solutions to bigger challenges.
But if the step is too big, we need an alternative.
I hope I have given you an alternative strategy here.
I have been trialing this practice for the last few weeks and it makes a difference for me.
I get into calm much easier.
Give it a shot and let me know how it goes.
Just in case you haven’t checked out my short (125-pages), practical book of strategies to make life more easeful, check it out here 18 Ways We Make Life WAY Harder Than It Needs To Be.
And finally, have a consciously-aware day and choose where you need to be, in order to stay within a place of calm and groundedness.
See you next week.