Radical Acceptance

Be here now. It is such a short statement yet can have profound implications. Be present physically, emotionally, mentally & spiritually. Be in this moment rather than brooding over the past or worrying about the future.

In this moment, I am embracing radical acceptance yet again. It is about no matter what is showing up, being OK with what is & not beating myself up or wanting to change it. There is another level of understanding too, that this is my way. No apologies. No “my Teacher said this is wrong so I should do it their way”. It is stilling the inner critic, that persistent voice that says I’m doing it wrong, not enough, just give up, I’m not really doing it at all, etc.

For many years, I needed to get a daily practice. Every minister, personal coach, guru, spiritual leader, self-help teacher told me so via TV, email, books, lectures, seminars and classes. It is Tony Robbin’s “Hour of Power” where you set the tone for the day, writing in one’s gratitude journal, sitting zazen on the zafu meditation pillow and so on. Of course there is the right way to meditate, spine straight, sitting absolutely still and depending upon who was teaching it the correct way to still one’s mind whether through chanting, visualization, following the breath or going through the chakras.

My first meditation class was somewhere between 11 and 13 years old. The thing was the more I tried to sit still, the more my legs twitched uncontrollably. My brother in the seat next to me glared. The teacher said it was my Spirit Guide moving through me (the only teacher that normalized the experience) and I was sure I was doing it wrong. Decades later I finally realized it was Restless Leg Syndrome, that meditation relaxed me  as if I were going to sleep & it was time for my nightly bedtime jumping jacks. That really didn’t change how I tried to do it right, since obviously I was broken. Over time I practiced different positions, sat in different chairs and desperately tried to SIT STILL. Of course the more I fought to be still the less meditative the experience was. I spent many hours learning how to do it the right way from some great teachers. Trouble was, my favorite meditation position is lying down and my chakras are out of alignment.

I discounted my personal journaling, long meandering walks being present in nature, hours spent watching the daily sunrise. Moments when I sat with a cup of tea listening to flute music feeling my heartbeat I considered useless. Half an hour scratching a cat’s ears was self serving. I still wasn’t meditating right. I still needed to get a real daily practice. It didn’t matter that I felt connected to God, was in touch with my intuitive side and was able to go into the silence and be a clear channel giving psychic readings, I beat myself up over my lack of ability to sit upright and meditate correctly. I felt ashamed and defensive and sure I was getting it wrong; I must be a spiritual failure.

It was the last year of my cat Bueller’s life that I started considering our morning time with him lying on my chest, purring into my heart chakra as my “Happy Heart Meditation”. Fully present with this furry being, I felt so much love, so connected to God, so… at peace. The loud voice got quieter when it said I still needed to get a real daily practice…

These days, it isn’t like my morning starts much differently than it has since about 2004. I still wake up without an alarm clock somewhere between 5 and 6:30 am. Maybe some writing, inspirational reading. Occasionally I pull a tarot card for guidance or light a candle. No house lights on until I get ready, no music or TV, little conversation for the first hour or two, just a quiet morning. I sit in the dark with a different cat, Mz Thang, sprawled across my heart chakra watching the sky change colors, noticing the hummingbird and 6 other bird species sing outside the window. There’s a point where she goings from purring and kneading, takes a big sigh and grows still. And so do I, going to that inner space of stillness and silence.

It is delicious. It is my way.

My point is that my morning activities haven’t really changed; my thoughts, feelings and definitions of what I am doing have. In accepting that this is my process and how I start my day; I quit apologizing for not doing it right and giving myself the message that I wasn’t doing enough or my way of Being was faulty.

The lesson from this is not to use my way of meditation or my definition of daily practice, it is to listen to the broken record in your head that is beating you up and change the record to one of radical acceptance. Stop letting society define who you are.

What is it in your life that you need to change your mind about? Is there a quality, a process or character trait that its time to stop berating yourself over and breathe in radical acceptance? What would life look like if you quit reading books, sitting in classes, making solemn oaths that you would transform the defect or demon* that is taunting you and instead recognizing it is a part of who you are? How would that free up psychic, emotional, and physical energy?

I invite you to see for yourself.

*The defect or demon is the thing that you have decided is bad about yourself; I’m not suggesting you are anything less than perfect.

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