I had a revelation of sorts on Sunday afternoon. This one didn't come from a book - it came from the couch. And I say 'of sorts' because yes, something was revealed to me from seemingly out of nowhere, but as I write about it in this post, I know this is just the beginning - all is yet to be revealed.
I was outside lounging on the patio couch and had just finished a cup of Afternoon Tea. The sky was blue. The sun was warm. The breeze was soft. Time slowed right down. I felt immensely peaceful. And content. And my mind was surprisingly still. I noticed. And then I wondered - Is this what it means to be without suffering... to not want the moment to be any different to what it is?
Hmmm. And then this thought - If so, I guess that's what it means to be accepting.
These ideas were still churning through my mind when I woke Monday morning, so I did as the seeker does - I went straight to the dictionary. This helps me get my head around concepts that I'm grappling with and opens me up to new possibilities, and accepting is one of those tricky topics I've needed help with for some time. In fact, I find it one of the most difficult things to conceive and do - especially when things are going 'wrong'.
To accept, my faithful dictionary says, is to consent to receive.
I thought about this for a bit. In my experience, the consent we give can range from a resounding 'yes' right through to a reluctant 'ok'. Our receivership can be governed by any one of the emotions ranging from a welcoming gladness right through to neutrality and beyond into the realms of resentment and disdain. From arms wide open to folded firmly across our chest. Positivity, adequacy,validity and negativity all seem to have their time and place when it comes to acceptance.
My mind drifted back to Sunday afternoon on the couch. Was I so accepting because of the pleasantness I was experiencing in the sun on that perfect Spring afternoon?
It's easy to accept the so-called 'good' - the positive and the pleasant. When things are going the way we want them to we don't even notice that we're accepting - we just are. But what about the times when things are tough, difficult, distasteful? When we're in pain, be it physical or emotional, and there is no pleasant. How do we accept what's happening when we really don't want what's happening to be happening?
That is the question that has been plaguing me for years. How do we say yes to pain and turmoil when our heart is screaming no! When its in our very nature to flee, repel, resist?
I don't know the answer to that but I do know that the more I repress, reject, refuse, wish, and hope for things to be different, the more I suffer and the more I feel stuck. I'm just coming out of a particularly hard week, one that saw me wrestling with and wanting to deny all that wasn't wanted, and I can honestly say that the more I said no to what was going on in and around me, the worse I felt.
It won't be easy, but the yes doesn't have to enthusiastic or wholehearted - I don't have to like the thing that's happening, but I do need to stop saying no to unwanted situations and circumstances. For my sake, and for the sake of those around me.
I have to let go and let 'yes' do its job.
'Yes' is at it's most basic is a validation and acknowledgement. And maybe from that place I can open up and allow life to be what it is - instead of arguing with reality I can see it clearly, and surrender to the notion that everything is on schedule.
FYI, I'm a control-freak by nature and am really good at saying no, so I can guarantee that I will get plenty of practise at this yes-business as time goes by. In fact, the more I think about it the more it seems it's all about letting go.