August 13, 2009 at 5:45 pm #32037
By Aaron Rothenburg (a student of mine,posted on facebook).
The world we live in is based on criticism. We are taught from a young age that the way things are now are not really what we want but if we just do whatever things will be better. The newspaper (which I haven’t read in years!) is just full of criticism. If only this guy would have done that, and look how stupid this guy is, etc. Even goals many times imply criticism, diet goals – when I reach that weight I am ok, now I am flawed; educational goals, if I get that grade I am good, otherwise I am not good; work goals. Basically the world is in a constant state of criticism and their are multiple layers. People who are depressed will be upset at themselves for not being happy. People who are critical of others, then criticize themselves for their criticism.
Criticism creates a spit, a duality, there is me, that’s one, and then there is the idea, person, whatever that I criticize that is separate from me. This duality prevents any control over the other. It is separate and I disapprove.
Acceptance creates oneness. I merge with the other, in essence there is no other and I connect to the reality of oneness, implying that criticism creates a lie, an illusion of duality. Once I am feeling the oneness deeply, I can have control over the “other” since it is not other but me.
I believe this is the goal of religions and meditation – to become one with G-d, and hopefully to then have control hopefully for noble purposes of healing, and works of kindness and service to others.
So criticism leads to powerlessness and acceptance gives one great power in accordance to the level of acceptance exerted. Think for a moment how different this is to the world we live in of rallies, protests, scathing arguments, name calling, wars.
One person sitting at home in a deep level of all encompassing acceptance has more power and control then all this other energies funneled into criticism. Who would you rather be?
As an aside: I noticed in my wanderings that when I express this or other ideas to people, some literally seem to go deaf and dumb. I believe that people will come to understand when they are ready, just like people come to meditate with me when they are ready. No matter how much I tell people about the amazing benefits on their lives, they just can’t hear it. At first it annoyed me, but this is something that I have learned to accept :).
After 14 years of knowing my wife, only this past week have I learned and integrated how to accept her fully. Until now what annoyed me was that she didn’t accept me. Now I have learned to accept that too. I have become passive to allow her to have the security and space to become more active and to feel she is accepted. From this place she has started making interesting changes. It took me 14 years to learn not to criticize her for not accepting me. I consider myself very lucky!
If you are walking down the street and someone yells at you and you get angry, accept the anger. Don’t say to yourself “I should accept that they yelled at me” and criticize your own anger. Always practice accepting the outermost layer. With practice the anger will flow through you so quickly that you won’t be feeling it for long and will activate it like a tool, a mode, when you need it. Then you can begin accepting the dude yelling at you because it won’t trigger anything in you, you simply accept it.
Acceptance is very similar to indifference but also very different. I accept you, I feel one with you, we are one, we want to live, we want to be happy. Acceptance is active. Whatever you do is fine, it’s as if I am doing it but yet some things you might do are not conducive to a path of growth. If you do certain things I will step in a stop you, in certain situations, permanently. This does contain an element of implied criticism, but it is immediately accepted – ironic? The criticism is just one more occasional tool or feeling that is activated to serve me and not the opposite.
I bless you all with wonderful dreams and acceptance of whatever may come.
As an afterthought it occurred to me that true forgiveness is just retroactive acceptance…interesting!August 14, 2009 at 3:48 am #32038
An alternate title could be “unity and individuation”.
Acceptance is a reflection of our primordial nature…it has no judgments about life, the five shen are what assign the meaning. Acceptance is the unity of the whole, the five shen are the collective individuating out (to even have a collective implies that there must be parts within it that are individuated).
It has been helpful for me in the past, when happening to run across someone who really has serious issues (throwing contracted patterns onto you that run like a repeating tape loop), to remember that they are also part of the whole and must be accepted as a member of humanity.
Acceptance is the key. This is not to say though that we must only accept and not act. Everyone has their own free will so to impose one’s will over others is violating their free will which is what I think the author meant by criticism of others. This is the dilemma…while accepting, how we act expresses our own free will, which may not be the will of others. This is the tension and the great life-giving opportunity for change between the one and the many.
Being a teacher, this issue has come up many times for me…when one person is preventing the group from being successful, how do you deal with it? Each person has the free will to do whatever they want, but when there is a group intention (meaning that each person presumably made a choice to be in the group), the dissenting voice is subject to the wills of all the others in the group. The leader of the group must act as a mediator, and from experience, it is very helpful to use the terminology “WE think/should do this…” instead of “I think YOU should do…”. The phrase “I think YOU should…” does create a separation, whereas “WE should do…” is inclusive. Of course if the group does not agree, someone will likely speak out if they feel strongly enough about it. It is also helpful to have boundaries…if this boundary is crossed blah will happen, then there is no spiteful action by the mediator, just agreed upon rules. Also helpful is the idea that when a boundary is crossed, the person transgressing the boundary is given a chance to say if they have a valid reason or not for doing so.
In an ideal situation, there would be no rules, only a strong enough group intention that all dissension would be seen as creative tension to allow for transformation. Often, the will and intention of the group to achieve whatever goal is set is not strong enough (in an educational setting), and is also subject to issues such as time and efficiency which come back in a circle to the mediator having to remind the group of the original intention.
Acceptance is the unity of the whole. The five shen are the individuated expression of that:
Integration/Ideation(creation of intention)/Trust
Wuwei(alignment with change)/Spirit(impulse activating potential)/Propriety
Justice/Balance/Physical self-worth(expression of the body: shen-qi-jing)
Benevolence/Discernment/Transformation(evolution of the spirit: jing-qi-shen)
It is important to remember though that the heart (that reflects our primordial nature to the other jingshen by its alignment with the process of change) holds an exalted position among the five, which gives us the importance that acceptance has in relation to the other jingshen, but it cannot dominate them…all must have their own voice as part of the whole.August 16, 2009 at 3:16 am #32040
Good to see Aaron is still active;
I missed his exuberance this year 🙂
Also good follow-up comments Chris . . .
I’ve been living in the world of acceptance
the past two weeks. In that time,
both my desktop and my laptop died; I’ve
taken my car in to the shop for work
three times; and that’s just the beginning.
Strangely enough, I haven’t really gotten angry
or depressed about these things; just a
smile and a chuckle; almost amused at how
many things have gone wrong.
But then again, of what use is it to get
emotional or upset, it doesn’t change anything.
YOU are ultimately the one who is CHOOSING
to feel bad; I simply choose not to, and to
ACCEPT the difficulties as they arise.
This is what ACCEPTANCE is really all about.
It’s just operating from an inner core of contentment
and just taking things as they come. Doing
what needs to be done in the moment, but doing it
without casting any judgement on either the
situation or the action.
I think this is the source of peace.
SOctober 9, 2009 at 6:49 pm #32042
Great to hear from you Aaron!
This is a tricky one and I know how challenging it can be.
What I’ve found effective is to position the acceptance
from a state of loving kindness to yourself and the
situation. Fear can not exist in a state of love.
SOctober 16, 2009 at 10:17 pm #32044
Stumbled onto this article recently . . .
Interesting, since it sort of sounds like
she’s talking about an applied Inner Smile practice.
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