Total Acceptance is such a powerful practice that its regular utilization in everyday life can profoundly and irreversibly transform our individual reality.
What is Total Acceptance? (I’m writing these words in capital letters to point to the specific meaning of this term.) It’s a state of the complete openness to any experience. It means to fully embrace all arising impressions, without a slightest inner resistance. Here, the word “Total” is maybe even redundant, but I have added it just to emphasize the absence of any resistance.
We can say that Total Acceptance is Pure Awareness and, at the same time, the state of Not-Knowing, which signifies an absolute openness to the Unknown. It is a temporary absence of mind and its habitual thoughts. In other words, it is the state of Presence.
However, Total Acceptance is not a dry, cold indifference. Somehow, it’s filled with deep love, as it requires not only the stillness of the mind but also the openness of the Heart.
Here is an excellent quote from A Practical Guide to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy by Steven C. Hayes and Kirk D. Strosahl: “Acceptance should not be confused with tolerance or resignation, both of which are passive and fatalistic. Acceptance involves taking a stance of non-judgmental awareness and actively embracing the experience of thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations as they occur.
Total Acceptance is not a dry, cold indifference. Somehow, it’s filled with deep love, as it requires not only the stillness of the mind but also the openness of the Heart.
Another important aspect of acceptance is the strong inclination to cope with all experiences, to face everything, either pleasant or unpleasant: “Acceptance refers to an attitude of nonjudging or openness about experience, and refraining from attempts to avoid or escape it.” - Fabrizio Didonna, Clinical Handbook of Mindfulness
Everything we resist, persists. Even more, it’ll grow up over time. Therefore, the remedy for any unpleasant state or content of the mind is to accept it completely. Whenever we entirely and honestly accept any thought, emotion or sensation, we become free of it. It will not bother us anymore. It will disappear from our individual universe, as we have learned that lesson.
Total Acceptance has a transformative power virtually in every field of our existence – spiritual, mental, emotional and even our physical life. For example, its strength is fully harnessed in one of the most effective methods for overcoming physical pain, “Accepting and Dwelling in Pain,” described in this article: 5 Powerful Pain Relief Techniques.
The bottom line is: whatever you Totally Accept, it disappears from your field of consciousness. You become free from it.
What’s also important is that this practice will not take you into passivity and non-action. On the contrary, the fruit of a regular practice of Total Acceptance will be your perfect action, whenever needed, just at a right moment. It will also yield a great deal of creativity.
Nevertheless, the balance between action and non-action will be naturally achieved.
Whatever you Totally Accept, it disappears from your field of consciousness. You become free from it.
Could It Be Dangerous?
When we Totally Accept something, we have embraced it wholeheartedly. But there is a troubling question that naturally arises: Is it dangerous to embrace negative, or harmful things? Can accepting an aggressive person’s behavior, ugly gossips or our friend’s problems jeopardize our security?
It cannot. If it does, that only means we haven’t accepted it completely.
By accepting the negativity, we are removing the negative burden on our mind and heart which has been attracting those circumstances. Moreover, the very fact that our heart is open and our being is filled with peace and love, deeply ennobles and transforms everything we do and anything we embrace. That indeed makes us safe and leaves us unharmed.
By accepting the apparent negativity, you are actually accepting the Greater Good within you that is trying to emerge in your life through apparently harsh experiences. Tell yourself: “I totally accept that which is trying to emerge through me,” or “I totally accept Greater Good that is emerging through this situation.”
The very fact that our heart is open and our being is filled with peace and love, deeply ennobles and transforms everything we do and anything we embrace. That indeed makes us safe and leaves us unharmed.
Yes, for the beginning, you can accept apparently evil, harmful or dangerous things and situations with your mind only, without opening your heart. You can say something like “OK, that’s it, I don’t care.” That means you can simply become indifferent and neutral toward the experience. No repulsion, and no attraction. No warmness, no embracing, no “risk.” It is an entirely disinterested position which blocks the experience to reoccur in your personal reality. But that’s only temporary. Without opening your heart completely, you cannot fully face the experience. Therefore, it may come back to you one day.
Remember, your Essence, or True Self, cannot be hurt or endangered. Ever.
Without opening your heart completely, you cannot fully face the experience. Therefore, it may come back to you one day.
Ultimately, you will have to open both your mind and heart to all experiences. It’s similar to the state of Not-Knowing – total openness to the Unknown is also a genuinely transformative attitude.
If you are still concerned that Total Acceptance of negativities could open your inner door to those things to happen to you, the solution is to Totally Accept its opposite, too. But first accept that very concern, your fear of any negative reperccusions. Then accept the negative thing itself. Finally, accept its opposite – a normal state, or a wanted, positive thing.
If you cannot accept any of these, you might be dealing with a complex subconscious structure. Those structures should be thoroughly reflected and processed with some of the main Reintegration techniques (preferably the Inner Triangle), or with some other psychological or spiritual method.
Finally, with both polarities Totally Accepted, while being free from the ingrained fear, we’ll be able to act from Presence genuinely.
How to Totally Accept
The skill of Total Acceptance should be learned progressively. It is always easy to accept something you like, or you are being neutral to, but accepting unpleasant or painful experiences is a completely different story. Therefore, we should start learning acceptance on neutral things first (because you have no intimate relationship with them), then on positive ones (although you have a positive relation toward them, it is still a kind of attachment), and lastly on the negatives.
Here is an exercise for learning this skill thoroughly:
In a normal, “waking” state, we are almost always completely immersed in whatever we are doing at the moment. We might even say that we are fully absorbed in here and now.
However, If the point of mindfulness is to be here and now, doesn’t that mean that we are meditating every time we are completely immersed in some activity? Whenever we exercise, play football, listen to music, watch TV, talk with our friend, think, or even fight – we are fully in the present moment, right?
The tricky question
Thinking this way, can we say that activities which typically consume our attention are also a sort of meditation?
Well, no. We are lost in such activities. Usually, we are totally absorbed in playing the game, listening to music, exercising, whatever…and we have become that activity. Our consciousness is focused completely on it.
Moreover, the answer to the previous question also depends on how we define meditation. Let’s use the broader meaning of meditation, that includes mindfulness. It means that we are meditating here and now, whatever we are doing, without any redundant contents of mind, aware of our surroundings and ourselves. When thoughts or emotions arise, we simply become aware of them, let them go and return to the Now.
Can we say that activities which typically consume our attention are also a sort of meditation?
To live in the Now means to live consciously, to fully experience ourselves and our surroundings without redundant thoughts and distractions.
One could say that deep sleep is also a thoughtless state. That’s true, but it cannot be regarded as the living in the Now because it is not a conscious state.
One could also say that while we are immersed in unnecessary thinking, we are in the Now too because we are experiencing those thoughts in the present moment. But that is also not a fully conscious state, as we are identified with those thoughts, so it’s not really being present in the Now.
Moving mindfulness: making the transition from sitting meditation to engaged, moment to moment wakefulness
The effort of living versus the peacefulness of meditation - a false dichotomy
Many practitioners of mindfulness will recognise a feeling that while their lives are definitely enriched in a profound way, there is sometimes still a feeling that actually living life - paying the bills, feeding the children, going to work, dealing with situations - is demanding but sitting in meditation, on the other hand, is a refuge.
Meditation is not a happy trip
This is not the case for all meditators. Meditation is not supposed to be a technique for getting high or managing to “attain” anything. In fact, trying to “attain” is evidence of the very problematic thinking that the practitioner may be able to transcend with practice.
The reality is that the same peace that is available to us when we are in “zazen” sitting meditation is just a mindset switch away from us while we are in the thick of it. Sounds great, doesn't’ it? But it doesn’t seem very feasible when you’re behind on a deadline and your laptop is running painfully slow. Nope. You’re too good at your practice for that kind of trivia to affect you? Let’s imagine you’ve just lost your job or someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer.
The point is that nothing you can do in meditation is ever going to stop any of the negative stuff from happening. It is ironic really that when we look at one of the great stories of a religion that is strongly associated with meditation - Buddhism - we see the young Siddhartha Gautama being sheltered from suffering by his parents. Every kind of misfortune is hidden from him. One day he decides to sneak out of his living quarters and he is taken around the town by a chaperone where he sees poverty, sickness and death. Meditation will not stop poverty, sickness or death - for you or anyone else.
Likewise, in Christianity, salvation and the spiritual path are not going to save anybody from poverty, sickness and death. Jesus himself suffered greatly before, it is believed, he was then crucified, and he is the the father, the son and the holy spirit for Christians.
Positive actions in a negative environment
The point then is that it is naive to think that meditation practice or faith in Jesus is going to somehow ensure that nothing unfortunate happens to you or around you. That said, meditation practice and faith in Jesus may help you become more effective in dealing with life (as a psychological mechanism). By controlling our own behaviours, our emotional response and our mindset we are controlling several behaviours that give rise to outcomes. Just because you do have the right attitude, think the right thoughts and take the right actions does not mean you still won’t get a kick in the face. As Stallone’s Rocky character said, “It’s not how hard you can hit. It’s how hard you can be hit and keep moving forward.”
What I have tried to achieve in this post so far is to deliver a realistic expectation of what mindfulness practice or any kind of spiritual or psychological improvement practice should be about. It is not about achieving every goal you ever wished for or obtaining every “thing” your heart desires. If that is still how you think you will find contentment or happiness you are reading the wrong post. It that is still how you think you will find contentment, somebody lied to you and you need to cleanse that kind of thinking from your mind because it will only lead to frustration and unhappiness.
What can I expect from mindfulness then?
There are a tonne of social media memes that point to the real truth but it doesn’t seem to sink in for most of mankind. You may be able to have some influence on the outside world but the vast majority of what’s going on around you is out of your control. The sooner you deal with that, the quicker you can make a difference where it counts - yourself. Guess who is in full control of your self?
When people meditate for the first time, one of the first things they notice is the sheer volume of visual, auditory and sensory thoughts and feelings they are hit with. Of course meditation practice teaches them how to still the pond but these mental entities will still arise by themselves. So we are not in full control of our inner world either. The thing that needs to change is the self.
What is this thing called self?
The truth of self is “no-self”. Self is an illusion. At best, self is the overall deduction of who we are based on all memories and experiences up to the present moment, and our state of mind is the result of a complex moment to moment calculation based on the “self” variable, the desires and expectations of that “self”, its perception of what’s happening “to it” and how that perception compares with the desires and expectations that “it” has. That was a tricky sentence to write. It may be a tricky one to read so feel free to read it again.
How can that possibly be a self. Our memories are not set in stone. Sometimes they are not encoded properly. The editing can be terrible both in terms of what bits of perceived reality we choose not to remember and which bits we take with us. Memories often corrupt with time. As for experience itself, it is only ever in this moment, so we are relying on memories, which are faulty, for our grasp of previous experiences.
Nebo D. Lukovich
There are countless relaxation techniques that can be found on the Internet. I would like to present you here a procedure which is a mixture of well-known step-by-step relaxation methods and one of the basic Reintegration System's techniques called “Dissolving the Temporary I.”
We will call this relaxation procedure the “Relax and Reintegrate” technique (RR). It is not much time-consuming, and is suitable for many purposes, whether we want to get rid of stress or to prepare ourselves for a meditation or some more complex inner work.
I have to emphasize that this method is not a mere relaxation process. It is a kind of deep meditation on itself. It releases huge amounts of tension, stress and anxiety. Moreover, through this technique, we will often be removing many layers of various inner obstacles, such as traumatic memories, suppressed emotions, limiting beliefs, etc. Any tension in our body is actually caused by some of these inner hindrances, and by releasing it we are re-integrating those particular causes, directly or indirectly.
Here is the Relax and Reintegrate technique:
By doing this way, any tension will be gone quickly and completely. If any emotion or other content of the mind appears, it simply means that the tension was caused by it and now it’s released, ready to be re-integrated into the wholeness of your being. Do not miss this chance. Do the DTI immediately on every mind content which arises. In this way, the simple relaxation turns out to be a deeply transformative meditation.
Of course, you will need to learn the DTI technique and make it habitual. But once it becomes a routine, you will be able to do the RR technique anywhere. You can RR while you are waiting in a queue, when you are lying in bed, or while sitting, whenever you have some free time. You will only have to adjust slightly the procedure to the particular circumstances. If done regularly, it will deeply transform your life.
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