Moving to Acceptance

Moving to Acceptance

Acceptance by Jellaluna
Acceptance by Jellaluna

The nature of the world is change. Circumstances will change, people will leave or die, and things we value will fall apart or be lost. Even someone enjoying lots of good karma is going to face some tragedy and loss in their life.

Grief is “the total response of the organism to the process of change.” Put another way, when things change, we can go through a grieving process.

Scientists have defined the typical stages as:
1) Shock and Denial
2) Intense Concern, digesting the change
3) Despair and Depression, processing emotions
4) Recovery, moving to acceptance

We may find specific stages more difficult than others, or we may move through them smoothly.

You’ll often see reference to the “5 stages of grief” defined by Kubler-Ross. However, those are the stages of acceptance of impending death. It’s also not a model that’s been verified scientifically. Grief can be part of that process, but it’s distinct.

I bring all this up because it’s helpful to be conscious of how we’re adjusting to change so we can move through it more smoothly and not get stuck in denial or depression.

Often, it’s just giving ourselves space and time to process. It’s also valuable to recognize the process is normal. We’ve all been here, even if it’s not talked about much.

In fact, it’s valuable to talk it out with someone appropriate. Someone who’s inclined to want to “fix” you or the situation is not.

Talking, journaling, and similar can help process it mentally. But don’t stop there. We can’t think through our emotions. And until we work through that energy, we can get stuck and turn the experience into suffering. We may repress the experience, but it will surface again later.

By acceptance, I don’t mean giving up or apathy. We need to address problems arising. Acceptance means allowing what is arising to be there so we can complete with it. This resolves the karma and allows us to move on.

It’s amazing what a difference acceptance makes in moving through difficult experiences. We can see we’re in denial, adapting, and healing. A value of acceptance is useful throughout the process, even if we only adapt fully at the end.

With acceptance we experience it as it is. And it completes.

Engaging the process allows nature to support us. If we’re awake, we may sustain our inner happiness in the face of deep challenges. It may seem odd to suggest we can be happy and grieving at the same time. But when we’re in deep acceptance, this is possible. Happiness and grief operate on different levels.

The more we’re allowing life to be as it is, the more we step into the flow of it, the greater the support, and the greater the fulfillment.

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  1. George Robinson

    Wayne Liquorman’s book, Acceptance of What Is, is an excellent resource that echoes and expands of what you’ve said here. Liquorman (a disciple of Ramesh Balsekar who, in turn, was a disciple of Nisargadatta) advocates acceptance of what is so that it may be approached clearly, authentically, and without personal interpretation, thereby allowing us to, as you say, complete with whatever arises. As an aside, Liquorman in his early pre-enlightenment life was an alcoholic; name-and-form on full parade. Anyway, thanks. I got a belly full of “acceptance of what is” since 2011 as the 24/7/365 live-in caregiver for my mother who — finally — passed from Alzheimer’s. By far, from 2011 to 2020, with daily or even hourly challenges, was the most brutal 110-month period in my life, and also the most instructive when I remembered to put “me” aside and act out the part, fully accepting what is and engaging with it as such. This topic — acceptance — is a fave of mine. Thanks, D.

    1. Hi George
      (oops – my last comment didn’t save)
      I would add the key value of samadhi. By touching into our true nature, allowing what is and whatever arises is much easier. Otherwise, we can just be playing mind games like having a story about being accepting or beyond such things. (Speaking from experience.)

      Caring for a senior with Alzheimers is indeed challenging – especially if they’re not accepting what is unfolding. And that’s not a surprise if they think this is it and their identity is wrapped up in their fading body-mind.

      But as you note, we can grow a lot through challenges. In fact, this is why humans can evolve more rapidly than devas.

  2. Rick Talcott

    > Someone who’s inclined to want to “fix” you or the situation

    I’m always reminded of the use of the term “fix” from the early days of photography. There “fix” meant to stop change. Put another way the original problem with photography was to prevent the image from fading over (a quite short interval of) time.

    1. Well put, Rick. I spent a bit of time in a darkroom myself. Now it’s all PhotoShop.

      The tendency to want to fix things is mind. This works well in working out how to unplug the drain but is much less useful with emotions or supporting someone though a difficult time. Speaking from experience, it’s very common for men to do this with their partners as we’re often raised to ignore emotions and take care of things. Sometimes, people just need an ear. We want to “make it better” but instead are are only listening to our mind. 🙂

  3. Eira

    Oh heavens, this resonates. Been working through processing the illness and death of a loved one for over a year now, but almost from the start there was strangely a feeling of everything was as it should be. The juxtaposition of inner calmness and steadiness, with concern for the person and grief of their loss, took some focus to consolidate.
    I still feel the loss keenly, and allow it when it suddenly comes, but in a deeper part of being it feels like a gift to be allowed this experience of grief.
    For some of the surroundings, however, I apparently did not grieve “correctly”, which was an additional challenge, but it just did not feel right to join in the drama. Had I joined in on the attachment/drama i think it would have distracted from what that particular situation offered; I had to be really silent in order to notice and accept the gift of grief, and buying in on the drama would have overwhelmed it. Yet I didn’t want to offend anyone either, so at times it almost felt I had to act in on the accepted expression of regretting the loss… not sure if I explain myself well here.
    Anyway, I noticed we can learn a lot about processing grief from children. They seem to have a much more natural acceptance while still expressing their sorrow when they feel it. Adults easily overcomplicate things sometimes.
    Thanks, a timely post indeed.
    Edit: geez, it sounds a bit overbearing, how I described the situation. I didn’t mean it in that way. The others certainly have to process loss in their way too.

    1. Hi Eira
      You raise important points. Some will see lack of drama as lack of feeling or expect certain expressions that can be all mind. Some of that can be cultural too. They may want you to support their process while not supporting yours. But people may not have the resources to support others when their own stuff is overwhelming.

      Everyone does indeed have their own style of working through grief, even with the same pattern underling that. But too much story and shoulds and musts can get in the way of actually experiencing the grief. A drama can be an expression of healing but can also be an expression of avoidance.

      You’re right about kids. Big tears and then they’re ready for the next adventure. Animals too. That human mind can make a mess when it tries to work outside its territory. 🙂

  4. Anthony

    Hello Davidya,
    Thank you.
    Part of my practice is leaving all that comes up in the Infinite. Feels like passing things into the light or just releasing them in the lights presence. Sometimes I give things to within ( Self), other times to the foot of a sacred mountain or offer to the night sky or other times to Kali mother. All feel the same, depending on what happens in the moment. Some times it more just a noticing or seeing something and that’s all that’s needed.
    Even if they come up again, I just do it again. Often they aren’t my personal issues but more group or universal.
    That is a way I accept what happens.

    I am just sitting at the moment surrounded by trees and it feels like they all do this in their way too.

    1. Hi Anthony
      Right. When the seeing (experiencing) is clear enough, it simply needs to be noticed and allowed, seen and surrendered. I talk about this more on healing posts. The seeing allows it to complete and the letting go avoids taking anything on or resolving what had been taken on before. And yes, it becomes more and more collective.

      However, there will still likely be circumstances that arise from karma that are more challenging that would give rise to these stages in the experience. Acceptance isn’t quite as immediate. Yet not being caught by the experiences, we move through them to acceptance quickly. Then it’s just having the experience until it completes.

      Yes, this is the way of much of nature including trees. Humans get the experience of choice which can lead to grasping or resistance and thus suffering. But it can also lead to a much deeper learning of acceptance when it becomes a choice. 🙂

  5. Andrea Hawkins

    I felt like I was so good at acceptance at one time. Whatever arose, I would just “give it to God”, and receive relief, and clarity. But after following Eckhart Tolle’s advice of using my emotional pain as an anchor for meditation, I feel like I’ve tapped into a mountain of insurmountable pain. It’s hard to follow any other form of meditation. Am I making it grow? Am I addicted to pain? I have autoimmunity now. It’s unrelenting. LOVE your blog so much.

    1. Hi Andrea
      Most of us do indeed carry thousands of years of unresolved emotions. These are best washed away by transcending the mind and emotions. The light of consciousness/ God dissolves the shadows.

      I don’t recommend going after them or dwelling in our unresolved past. This isn’t making it grow or an addiction but does cause our baggage to dominate. Rather, allow them to arise through the experience of life and the cycles of time. Then we’re letting nature organize the process and we can live our life more smoothly.

      The approach I mention doesn’t wash away everything though. There does tend to be some harder nuts. But when we learn to allow, we can process even the worst of it.

      Tolle has done some amazing work. However, he doesn’t know how he shifted so tends to teach techniques that can be useful for someone to stabilize an awakening. The techniques are not as suitable for someone before that.

      I’d give it a break and let things settle out. Then when the dust clears, you can reintroduce your prior practices.

      1. Andrea Hawkins

        Thank you Davidya. I don’t know how to stop. My attention always goes to the pain. Should I replace it with an alternate practice? I start a new job tomorrow, after 2 years of not working. Will that help?

        1. Hi Andrea
          As I mentioned, give it a break and it should wind down over time. And yes, starting work again will keep the mind busy and help ground. That can help shift gears.

          If you’ve been treading water, there can be the tendency to get more ungrounded. Then we drift inner and don’t balance that with activity. That can make such issues worse, so again, returning to work can be very helpful.


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