18 March 2007

Radical Acceptance

"When we put down ideas of what life should be like, we are free to wholeheartedly say yes to our life as it is." - Tara Brach

I have owned this book forever - Radical Forgiveness - I started reading it, but never finished it. Not because its not a good book but because I could not deal with its message. I have always wanted to be someone in control of my life and destiny and, well, everything.

And yet I always know intellectually and a bit from taking the one seat that this is not how it works. Mediation meets materialism has made for a tough go. After fifty years of trying to please others, please people long dead, live up to certain expectations set by others so they could succeed vicariously, and on and on and on, I can only say that its led to a messy life with many mistakes, hurts and just plain bad choices.

So after my Thursday night meltdown, Saturday and Sunday in the sun working on the deck of our house, looking out over the pine trees, watching the blue jays return and the squirrels come out of hiding, something in me prompted me to pick up Tara's book once again. To read and read and read. Then to sit with a meditation exercise of her's called "Facing Difficulty and Naming What Is True." It was just as hard as any other zazen. Wandering mind, and fantasies of life, failures, sufferings, slights, success, and food

And yet, in the end, I am left finally feeling like I understand where she is going with this whole book: "There is something wonderfully bold and liberating about saying yes to our entire imperfect and messy life."


Saying no to all things in all places. Saying no to anything that threatened my own little world. Saying no was so ingrained that I have basically been saying no to joy, happiness and perhaps even liberation

So tonight I will start trying to say yes. However quietly and infrequently. However much the back of my mind says this is silly - how can you say yes to your suffering and pain

I can say yes because I want to say yes to all joy and happiness and contentment that I have been turning away for so long because I didn't think they could lead me in the direction I thought I had to go. Instead of listening to life just as it is, I was listening to my own little illusions

So yes to radical acceptance, and yes to all the struggle that will get me, and yes to all the craziness that is my life. It's my one life

How can I not say YES?!

1 comment:

Derek said...

Interesting post. After many years of zazen (Zen meditation) I have learned that total acceptance leads to transcendence.. not easy though, yet I wouldn't have it any other way... :-)