One of the important requisites of self-discipline is acceptance. Acceptance is a state of being where you perceive reality accurately and consciously acknowledge it. It is not an easy thing to achieve or implement. It is very difficult for human beings to accurately understand and accept their present situation. When you’re in a state of denial about your level of discipline, you’re locked into a false view of reality. You’re either overly pessimistic or optimistic about your capabilities.
Acceptance is knowing where I am, right now. Am I able to lead a disciplined life that will contribute to my well-being? What are the challenges that I am able to handle easily and which are the ones that are virtually impossible for me to achieve?
Swami Dayananda says that when relating to the world, every individual assumes many roles – a father, son, husband, and a mother, daughter, wife, a citizen and so on depending upon the person the individual relates to in a given situation. Roles keep changing and each role is distinct from the other. The presence of certain people or objects irritates us or the absence of them irritates us. This is because we have not learned to accept people and situations in life. We dictate our will to the divine as to how our life should be designed in the way we want it. So, not accepting brings with it the agitations in the mind and the consequent sorrows.
Among all the roles we play, there is one role that can be considered fundamental and universal. This role applies to every person. This is the relationship of the individual to the divine. If we delve into this fundamental relationship, that of a devotee, we find it to be the only stable relationship, or the only relationship that is constant. When we relate to Iswara, the Lord with devotion, we become a devotee. Once you accept this, it becomes easy to see that it is the underlying spirit of the devotee that becomes the father, son, husband and employee.
When our mind is graced by devotion, we accept and understand that human free will is given to choose actions and not results. The universal laws produce the results of action and those laws are not separate from Iswara, the divine. Results come from nature, from the divine and there is never a wrong result or a result that we cannot accept. Therefore, when our mind is graced by devotion, we cheerfully accept what comes from Iswara. This is called Iswara prasadha budhi – graceful and reverential acceptance of whatever comes as the result of action.
Discipline helps us relatively neutralize our likes and dislikes. This is because our personalities are basically governed by likes and dislikes. They can bind us, depending on various situations and are also subjective; they change, making us increasingly dependent on external forces. Therefore, observance of religious discipline also helps us accept and develop a stronger will power.
Acceptance, in a way, destroys ego as well. Without acceptance you become ignorant or get into a state of denial. Tragedies in our lives are meant to help us realize that we are not omnipotent or omniscient. While happiness smoothens our journey making it pleasant and interesting, tragedies remind us to move on and continue the journey to the end without holding on to the past. Accepting the loss is more than half way to healing and getting on with life.
Swami Dayananda says that all human activities are motivated by the lack of self-acceptance — a search for wholeness, a striving to be something that we think we are not. “It is evident in anybody’s pursuit, whether it is an Indian or an American, a man or a woman, a young man or an old man. You see that there is always a struggle on the part of everyone to be different from what I am, from what one is. And so that attempt to be different itself stems from a self-non-acceptance: all is not well with me, and therefore I have to be different. And in order to be different, we try to manipulate situations to our own likes and dislikes, so that we can be acceptable to ourselves. Therefore, all the time, one seeks self-acceptance. This problem is a fundamental problem”.
The solution says Swamiji is in oneself. “As I am not acceptable to myself that is the problem, therefore I am the problem. If I am the problem, then nobody else is going to be the solution. So I am the solution. And therefore, if I am the problem, then I should see that I am acceptable to myself”. We are continuously looking at ourselves with reference to what we don’t have and what we want to have.
Acceptance is taking people as they are. You do not have to agree with them on their views, choices, lifestyle or beliefs. If we can accept that they are within their own space and we within ours and that there is no wrong or right, then accepting each other becomes easier and more productive. Whatever we say, each of us leaves an impact on the other person who touches our lives—in some way, in some place deep within us. With this knowledge, we can open our arms to every experience, every thought and every situation. Finally, it comes down to the axiom, “Take it; or leave it”! To this I would add “Accept it!”
elcome to the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where Anu, Ashok, Conrad, Delirious, Gaelikaa, Grannymar, Magpie11, Paul, Maria the Silver Fox, Rummuser , Will Knott, Shackman and I write on the same topic. Please do visit the linked blogs to get different flavours of the same topic.