Learning Acceptance Brings Peace
As I work my steps to recovery and expand my daily spiritual practice, I have become profoundly aware that ours is a spiritual disease. I have spent most of my life in this sickness born of fear, recoiling from pain, bound up in automatic reaction. I have been slinking along the streets of the cosmos, feeling alone and afraid, crossing the street to avoid perceived threats ahead.
I am no longer constricted in fear, straining every muscle to control an unfriendly universe and stay alive. I have discovered power through accepting my powerlessness. I have found love by allowing myself to feel love. I have found peace by surrendering to the enemies of peace. I found these treasures impossible to acquire intellectually. I had to adopt an experientially approach.
I allow my body to relax, skin and muscles and bone, from the top of my head to the tips of my fingers and toes. I listen to my breathing, saying “in” as I breathe in God’s will, “out” as I breathe out my will.
I learn to listen, to hear the shouts of alarm and impending doom. I feel that familiar tightening, coiling to spring, to strike -- and I let it go. I gradually allow it to flow away, perhaps through my feet if I keep them flat on the ground, connected to the Earth.
I notice my mind, buzzing with thoughts and ideas, always active. I hear the voice of my ego, shouting “Beware! We must prepare!” I notice, and I allow it to continue, like tolerating a child throwing a tantrum. I am powerless over my ego and my own mind, too.
I have heard my ego urging me, warning, insisting that we must act. I settle in to the part that notices, the other part that my ego is addressing when it says, “WE”. In this other part, in this core of feeling and noticing, I surrender. I learn to hear all, see all, feel all. I accept my ego as I accept everything else I notice, and know that it is exactly the way it is supposed to be, at this moment.
Sometimes I stop to think about or judge some feeling or insight, and I am gently nudged back to awareness by a tickle or a bird swooping near me or a stiff neck muscle. Sometimes I get so stuck in future worry or replaying the past that it requires a less gentle reminder. I have twisted my ankle and have nearly been hit by a truck while obsessing, both not-so-subtle messages to return to the present and to complete acceptance and surrender of my willfulness. I recognize that my huge life-changing tragedies were only grand messages too large to ignore, reminding me to surrender and pay attention.
I discard my anxieties about the past, both long ago and a moment ago. I cannot change any of it. I listen patiently to the shouting and urging to coil in preparation for imagined future events. I cannot act in the future. I am overwhelmed by “right now”, rich and colorful, filled with sounds and smells and swelling feelings. I accept all of it.