Vhairi Slaven, Drive-Thru Success
3rd April 2019
“The feeling of acceptance is not the easiest to explain in words, which is why practising things like yoga and meditation help you to experience it.“
I have to say that one of the most useful things I have learned from yoga, Buddhism and personal development philosophy is acceptance. Acceptance of who I am, of my mind, my body, where I am, the way things are and the way they are going.
It begins with looking at yourself: at what you are doing, at the kind of person you are showing up as, at how you look now and then instead of labelling things good or bad, accepting that this is how things are right now and starting from there.
Then it’s about looking at other people and fully acknowledging all that they are without judgement, completely letting go of expectations of what you think they should be and accepting them as they are.
And then life itself – the feeling of being here as a human on this earth, in this Universe. Knowing that it includes light and dark, joy and sadness, kindness and cruelty and that being human involves suffering (sometimes this can be physical but in Buddhism and yoga this also refers to mental suffering such as worrying, depression and anxiety).
My experience was that I had to look at all of the things that had happened in my life, forgive the people I needed to forgive, including myself, and let that anger, resentment and guilt go before I could accept myself and my life. My personal development work with Jenny was how I faced those things and how I talked about them. I also wrote about them, but you might talk to a therapist, a yoga or meditation teacher, or a recovery group.
The feeling of acceptance is not the easiest to explain in words, which is why practising things like yoga and meditation help you to experience it.
When you practice yoga, you forget about all of the rules of life, the things you think you need to do, the problems and the worries your mind have created to keep you busy and you just move your body and breathe. You have no destination. You are not trying to achieve anything in particular, you are simply able to really feel yourself here and now. There may be other things you do in your life where you are able to be in this state, like dancing, walking, playing music, or gardening.
When you practice sitting meditation, again, you are simply accepting everything that is taking place right now and feeling it in the senses instead of conceptualising it. You sit and you breathe. You accept that your mind thinks and that thoughts will constantly come and go, but you don’t attach to any of them, you don’t judge any of them, you just observe them and say ok and then go back to sitting breathing.
You might be asking (as many people do) if you fully accept life and yourself, then why would try to strive to do better, why would you have any goals or visions? Why would you do anything other than just sit and meditate? Because that’s the other thing about accepting life: you accept that it is not fixed. It is moving, changing, expanding, contracting, growing, living, dying – as you are. Nothing is fixed and nothing is permanent, you are always evolving and changing.
It’s my belief (and many others) that every single thing in the Universe shares consciousness. Everything we experience is connected to every other thing in the Universe through this shared consciousness. So, our personal growth, how we learn to achieve things, how we invent and create, how we develop compassion and acceptance, how we love is all downloaded into this shared consciousness and it helps the whole of existence to survive, thrive and evolve. I therefore see it as not only possible to accept myself, my life and the world I inhabit while striving to be better (and my better really means being more peaceful, compassionate, giving, kind, wise, brave) but I see it as beneficial to the whole of existence that I do so. In my mind, this means that no one suffers, no one does wrong, no one lives their life without it in some way being beneficial to this shared consciousness, because we are all connected to the wisdom in the suffering.