The crucible of acceptance
Acceptance dissolves the mind-stuff and infuses you with peace, says Suma Varughese
Thirty years ago, shortly after a spiritual awakening, my inner guide gave me the tools for transformation—awareness and acceptance. A constant awareness of one’s inner state and the acceptance of all that awareness threw up.
My inner guide, of course, did not tell me it would take me 30 years to get anywhere close to it. But today, as I am learning to expand to accommodate all thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations, and to stay with them long enough to take them deep within, I am grateful that I stayed the course.
Although gurus make it seem a piece of cake (and maybe it was for them), the journey, at least for me, has been gruelling. To be aware calls for a high level of consciousness, and that is never easy when one is battling a garrison of thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations. As long as I can remember, my inner space was a Kurukshetra where mighty wars were waged between what I was showing up to be, what I wanted to be, and what I thought others expected me to be. A blanket resistance to all that showed up in my mind space was my default state.
It has taken me a very long time to climb out of the hold of the mind-stuff and become expansive enough to contain it. Strength is crucial in this journey, for it is unbelievably hard to rise above grief, anger, or resentment. Fear has been my biggest deterrent on this journey. I have always been subject to fear, but it was amplified by several notches when the contents of my consciousness rose into my awareness, without my having the tools with which to dissolve them. It was gruelling to become aware of low self-control or self-respect, without knowing how to repair them. And it made me more and more anxious and fearful.
As for physical pain, I still have not tested myself much in this zone, but it is no picnic to rise above stomach discomfort or respiratory issues. The mind insists on moaning and groaning about it. I shudder to think of grappling with the really serious pain wrought by a fracture or even arthritis.
What I find is that as strength increases, the capacity to accept grows. You may feel affronted when someone has been rude to you, but you are able to contain that emotion and have it dissolve into peace. Or even if the sight of your favourite actor triggers off a riot of thoughts and pleasurable sensations, you can tame them in time to something resembling silence. The more one is able to accept, the freer you are of the hold of others. The other has never been the problem. The problem has always been the discomfort with the thoughts and feelings brought up by the other’s words or actions. Accept the discomfort, and your problem with the other melts away.
All said and done, though, it is never easy to accept. The entrenched habit of resistance always comes up first, and it is a conscious effort to move into acceptance instead.
However, even the limited extent to which I succeed tells me every day how blessed such a state is. Thoughts come and dissolve into silence; feelings come and dissolve into peace; contentious physical conditions shift and change when placed in the crucible of acceptance. Instead of mutinous and reactive thoughts based on what the other did or said, there is a serene acceptance and a newfound capacity to embrace the other and deal with them gently, lovingly, and peacefully.
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