The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Developing acceptance

Acceptance is a theme coachees will frequently inquire about. They’ll experience themselves as emotionally involved in a subject and fear that acceptance may prevent them from reaching their objective. They might also experience themselves as overwhelmed by something. Seeing themselves give up on their objective in the process they’ll wonder if acceptance resembles a sense of losing power.

Let’s connect this question with the way one can engage in meditation.

One of the possible objectives of meditation is to become able to observe thoughts. It is an objective that can be reached by practicing one’s ability to observe thoughts without engaging in them. It requires us to become aware of the moments in which we are able to observe and those in which it doesn’t happen. Acceptance of the process means engaging with the idea of practicing and continuously coming back to the intention of observing thoughts.

It’s a process of learning that we don’t have any control over our thoughts. But it also is a process of learning how they impact us.

For many of us, the impact of thoughts and emotions on ourselves is that they open the door to the inner critic. The inner critic will appear with judgments, a desire to make the situation disappear, or the wish to be different. When the inner critic appears, he will do so with the desire to gain power over oneself, others, or the situation. The inner critic might also contribute to a sense of having been subject to external power and thus being powerless.

This experience is similar to the questions asked about acceptance. Both describe a view on our relationship to external power. That is, having power over something or being subject to power.

When engaging in meditation, there also is the possibility to observe one’s experience of calm. Is it a sense of calm that is open, curious, or interested? Or is it a calm that feels slightly dull, disinterested, or resembles zoning out? If it is the latter, there is a high probability that the mind feels exhausted, anxious, and just wants to be “left alone.” If the sense of calm is closer to being interested, the mind is likely to feel at ease with whatever it will see or experience during meditation. Curiosity appears as a sign that the mind connects with its sense of inner power and is relaxed towards external power. It is a moment of acceptance and availability to the events the mind will experience. It comes with the ability to observe the information the mind processes and do so without a need to act, judge, or solve anything. It is feeling free to see one’s reality and accept it. It is based on a sense of inner power and the trust that whatever appears is safe. That is, for example, that independently from whatever will appear it doesn’t impact one’s ability to choose what to do with whatever it is that appeared.

Our interest in acceptance thus becomes an interest in our relationship with our inner power and external power. It also becomes an interest in our ability to suspend our fear of power for long enough to experience the presence of inner power.

But maybe it is also an opportunity to decide that practicing is the next best thing to know what acceptance is and be able to step into acceptance. Practicing becomes the way we choose to develop our own understanding of acceptance as well as our access to it.

Choosing wanting to know instead can be considered similar to desiring the magical solution.


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