As we have moved through the attitudes that deepen our meditation practice and help us to understand mindfulness, I hope you have started to see patterns. Last week, we discussed non-striving. The next attitude, which is a natural extension of practicing non-striving, is acceptance. It is only be accepting that a thing is what is that I can understand my attitudes and beliefs about the situation. Through acceptance and understanding of my attitudes, I can change.
Take driving in rush hour traffic. If I can’t accept that the cars directly in front of me are just as stuck as I am, I lose my patience, lose my cool, and act out. You’ve seen drivers like this before, aggressively tail-gating and changing lanes to get as far ahead of possible. They often get stopped at the next stop light with you.
For myself, this attitude of impatience leads to anger and frustration. I hate the drive, I get dysregulated and mindless. However, if I accept that the people in the cars around me are going in the same direction, doing the best that they can, I find that I have the space and the presence of mind to focus on something else. Maybe it’s the song on the radio or podcast I want to listen to. I get home in a calm, relaxed mood.
Acceptance of my current situation is not agreement. It’s not stating that it’s okay. Those who have experienced abuse don’t have to agree with what happened to them, but the only way to move forward is to accept that something happened. Acceptance, patience, trust, non-striving; all of these attitudes are key to moving past your past.
Take your day one breath at a time. Find something that you aren’t accepting. Recognize that you need some compassion to move forward.