March 26


Today's Quotation:

Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly.  Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate, or despise, serves to defeat us in the end.  What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind.  Every moment is a golden one for those who have the vision to recognize it as such.

Henry Miller

Today's Meditation:

Accepting things as they are can be one of the most difficult tasks that we ever undertake.  After all, we each have our own ideas about what life should be like, how other people should act, what should happen as a result of certain actions of ours.  But the beauty of acceptance is the putting aside of expectations--expectations that can cause us to spend much of our time feeling deceived rather than loved, disappointed rather than proud, angry rather than understanding and compassionate.

As Henry says so eloquently, if we accept something that we feel should be different than it is, then the nasty can become beautiful, the painful can become joyful, the evil can become a source of strength.  I see in young people all the time the behaviors that can result when we don't accept them as they are:  they can become rebellious, disrespectful, and angry, or they can become subservient and apathetic and even depressed when we don't accept them as they are and instead expect them to be something that they simply aren't.

When we accept them, though, they tend to thrive, to allow themselves to grow into the people that they're meant to be.  And when they know that we accept them as they are, they'll be more likely to listen to us when we share advice, and to share with us their thoughts and ideas and dreams.

When we face something that seems unpleasant, it's important that we accept it as it is.  Accepting it doesn't mean approving of it--if someone is a thief, I'm not going to approve of his or her actions.  But until I truly accept the fact that the person is a thief, I'll never be able to help that person to change the ways they do things.  Until I accept that I have a short temper, I'll never be able to work on that because I'll always tell myself that it simply isn't true.

When we can accept life the way it is, life becomes richer and fuller.  It takes some doing, but it's not impossible.  Think about the richness you can bring to the life of someone else by being one of the few people who accept them exactly as they are, rather than just another person who judges them and tells them they have to change.

Questions to ponder:

1.  What are some things that you have a hard time accepting?  Why?

2.  Has anyone accepted you exactly as you are?  How does that make you feel?

3.  Why do so many of us feel it's necessary to get other people to change, rather than allowing them to do things in ways that they see as best?

For further thought:

Some people confuse acceptance with apathy, but there's all the difference in the world.  Apathy fails to distinguish what can and cannot be helped; acceptance makes the distinction.  Apathy paralyzes the will-to-action; acceptance frees it by relieving it of impossible burdens.

Arthur Gordon

more thoughts and ideas on acceptance



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