It doesn’t sound like a particularly exciting word to begin a book with, does it? Acceptance. In fact, it contains worlds. If you were to accept yourself completely and utterly, right now, your life would be utterly transformed in the blink of an eye. You would have nothing to worry about ever again. All of our human problems – the challenges of relationships, the concerns about money, the fear of being alone, the grappling with our health, the endless daily worries – they would all be in someone else’s hands. You wouldn’t have to worry about any of it ever again. It would all be in the hands of life.

Most books in the ‘Self-Help’ category (and these days there are zillions) are based upon a single theme: Change. If there is something about your life that you wish to improve, or a certain challenge that you wish to surmount, the standard ‘Self Help’ book will offer you sound advice about how you can change that aspect of your life for the better

Two Types of Change
But there are two types of Change. There is change that comes out of non-acceptance, and there is change that comes out of acceptance. The first type of change is probably the reason why you might read a book such as this in the first place. If there is something about your life that you are not happy with, the assumption is that you can simply go out and change it for the better. This kind of change is the fastest growing business in the world today – you can be happier, thinner, richer, faster, better, even enlightened. This kind of change is based upon being anywhere or anything other than where you are right now.

The second type of change comes out of acceptance. It is very rare, because it is too easy. By doing nothing, by simply allowing things to be the way they are, a natural change occurs without our help. This type of change appears to be totally illogical – it is based only upon simple understanding. Its only requirement is that you finally give yourself permission to be the way you are, warts and all. If you can do this – accept yourself, accept your health, accept your life situation, accept your irritating mother-in-law, then you will witness the awesome power of what true acceptance can do. The moment you stop trying to change things and allow them to be the way they are, you release so much energy back into your life, that it will initiate a natural change.

You see, somewhere along the line, we have forgotten to trust in life. We have forgotten a beautiful truth that is present everywhere in nature – that life is self-healing. If you leave a wound, it will heal itself without your help. Everything about you is already correct. If you find yourself unhappy, accept your unhappiness and soon you will find yourself happy again. But we humans are so busy wanting to control our lives it doesn’t generally occur to us that life might know better than us.

Only when you return to this state can your mind ever stop worrying about the future, and that is the essence of this knowledge – it has the potential to actually bring an end to your daily worrying. For millennia, the mystics and wise ones have given names to this state – ‘nirvana’, ‘being awake’, or ‘living in the now’, and despite what you may have heard, it can be attained by anyone. All these glamorous sounding names simply serve to make us think we have to change or improve ourselves again in order to somehow climb back to this state.

…there is no real method involved in acceptance. It involves a complete reversal in our psychology. It involves a certain playfulness and lightness of spirit to laugh at our own individual foolishness. My concern is that it is too easy, and that the average human mind does not trust easiness.

Acceptance on its own cannot in any way be grasped at. It often comes out of the realization that you may have been wasting a lot of your time and energy on trying to fix something that isn’t broken in the first place.

-Richard Rudd

Posted by | Paul Reynolds
Paul has been a yoga teacher on the Island of Kauai for many years and is the facilitator of the weekly Living the Question Blog - a repository of wisdom and inspiration. Paul also produces and hosts Le Guru is You Radio Show, showcasing everyday gurus.

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