Archive for December, 2009

Glenda Harty’s message on acceptance, with my thoughts appended

Glenda Harty is a dear friend, a marvelous teacher, and a powerful healer. She owns and operates the Sol Centre in Carmel, Indiana. If you require spiritual guidance or physical/mental/spiritual healing, please have a look at her website and see if she might be the right choice for you.

The other day, Glenda sent out by email a message that greatly resonated with me:

A Key to Peace is found in Acceptance

Accept who you are. Accept everything about who you are. Accept those things that you love about yourself and honor them. Accept those things you dislike about yourself and honor yourself for your honesty.

Accept who you perceive others to be. Accept everything about them. Accepting another simply means you recognize that they are who they are and you have no power to change them.  Release all attachment to another taking your advice or changing their behavior.  As long as you struggle to change someone else, you will not know peace.  Recognize if you are choosing not to know peace by your insistence on trying to change another and honor yourself for your honesty.

Accept all as it is–then ask your Self this question:

Is there a way I can change myself or my behavior to bring more peace and light to my world?

If yes, accept the truth of what you must do to accomplish this change. Do you choose to take the necessary action?  Whether or not you choose to take the necessary action at this time, accept your decision with clarity, responsibility, and love for yourself.

If no, accept and honor the opportunity to discover and explore any lessons brought forth in learning to accept all as it is.

Glenda did not come up with the idea of complete acceptance, but she has expressed it better than I have seen anywhere else, and that’s quite an accomplishment.

Toward the beginning of 2009, I had what I called my “Acceptance Revolution.” In 2008 I went through one of the most difficult things I have yet experienced in my life: finding the person of my dreams and having her leave. I tried my best to “get over” this relationship, but I found myself unable to do so. Thoughts and feelings are different than behaviors: we can push them outside of consciousness a bit, but they never go very far and often return without an invitation. In my little revolution, I found it easier just to accept that I had no real control over my thoughts and feelings about her. If I still loved her, I still loved her. I accepted it. I also made the effort to accept everything about myself and my life. Doing so made life much easier.

In trying to accept everything about everyone, we run into a core conflict of human existence: we are social animals, and, except for the rare hermit living completely without assistance from others, our existence and happiness is dependent on our cooperating with others.

It’s also a fact of life that we must act upon others. Bosses motivate. Salespersons sell. Parents reward and punish. We negotiate and argue with each other. We are constantly trying to Win Friends and Influence People.

How do we square the necessity of accepting others with the necessity of acting upon others?

First, I don’t think that we can completely square the two. I believe that the evolution of the individual and the evolution of the human species requires different, more advanced behavior than that in which we have heretofore engaged. We need to accept more and influence less.

Adjusting the ratio of acceptance to influence, however, does not obviate the need to influence others. What we need to do is make our influencing based as much as possible on love, compassion, and acceptance of people for who they are.

In the above-mentioned book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie suggests that one effective way to “win other people to your way of thinking” is to “let the other person feel the idea is his/hers.”

This may be psychologically effective, but the question remains whether that “idea” is beneficial to the person and in concordance with his or her being. If we are loving, compassionate, and accepting, we will not try to “win over” a person. Instead, we will offer something of true value and see if he or she accepts what we have to offer. This is the type of influence that is fair and untainted.

I will be painting too simplistic a picture if I say that this is the only type of influence in which we can ever engage. Life is messy and dangerous, people don’t always desire the right things, and people’s needs conflict. For example, if we know that someone is going to commit suicide, we don’t just let them do it. If we see that someone is about to hurt someone else, we try to prevent it.

It is working through the tough cases in life that allows us to grow spiritually. As Jesus said in Luke 6: 32-33,

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that.

Likewise, it is easy to be loving, compassionate, and accepting to people who are like us and have similar needs. It is difficult to be loving, compassionate, and accepting to people who are different from us and have different needs. It is especially difficult to do right by people who seem not to value love, compassion, and acceptance! Yet it is how we behave in such cases that is a big part of our advancing spiritually.

There is no neat formula for how to be loving, compassionate, and accepting in life. And that’s just another fact that we need to accept.

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