When I was on the road as a full-time musician, I let life lead me. I was young and inexperienced and didn’t have a care in the world.
I was wide-eyed and vulnerable and knew nothing. I lived mindfully, moment to moment and never thought how things might turn out. Life was full of wonder, excitement and surprise!
In that innocence, I got to travel across Canada and the US, met the girl of my dreams and got to make my living playing the guitar.
I am naturally introspective and self-reflective. So when my coach asked me to write an article about what it means to be in a “total state of acceptance” I jumped at the chance.
This Is It
Acceptance is your response to anything that is occurring in any situation or experience and seeing it as: “This Is It.”
You readily accept sadness when you’re sad, fear when you’re afraid and happiness when you’re happy, without attempting to change or protest it, without labeling it good or bad, or escaping from it – regardless if the situation or experience is negative, uncomfortable or unacceptable.
Acceptance is a key component of mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. It isn’t more complicated than that. It is opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it.–Sylvia Boorstein
Acceptance and surrender are closely related. You might say that when you learn to accept life as it is, this acceptance naturally leads you to a deeper surrendered state.
Like an ever-opening flower, I’ve found that spiritual growth is a succession of surrendered states and mindsets.
For many of us, the word surrender has a negative connotation. We think surrendering means waving a white flag and giving up or quitting. From childhood, we are taught that quitters never win. If you surrender, you are perceived as vulnerable, weak and defeated.
Conscious surrender is about ending the suffering and struggle in your life.
When you surrender, you no longer demand that an experience, person or place should satisfy or make you happy. When you no longer place a demand on every experience, person or place something new happens – the mind begins to rest and a new stillness arises.
You finally admit to yourself that you’re not in control. You get comfortable with not knowing and that sometimes life just doesn’t make sense. You acquiesce. Meaning: “To rest in.”
Your Little Demanding Self
I think a better term for ego is: Your Little Demanding Self, or LDS.
LDS is a quality of mind that is in a constant state of demand, want and desire and unconsciously labels every experience, event or person as good or bad.
For example, the LDS’s mind chatter might be: “I don’t like her laugh.” or, “This is fun.” or “He drives me crazy.”
LDS demands explanations and is always trying to impose its will or preferences on the way it thinks the world should be. The LDS whines, seeks attention, is often pushy and has agendas.
The only way LDS survives is by struggling to get what it wants.
When you surrender and stop arguing with life, guess what happens? Your Little Demanding Self dies. It never existed anyway because the LDS is a story you created. It is your imaginary self. It is an illusion.
When you wake up from your imaginary self, what remains is silence, stillness and presence and you find that happiness unfolds naturally. You find freedom.
Resistance As Opportunity
Sometimes acceptance and surrender can be uncomfortable and accepting the unacceptable can be challenging. You fight and scream, you get frustrated, disappointed, angry and hurt. And your Little Demanding Self resists.
That pain and suffering is your resistance to Wholeness – your resistance to life.
At the moment of resistance, if you are completely open to the fear or insecurity that fuels the mind, that pain and discomfort is your next invitation to surrender.
When you accept this invitation, the Little Demanding Self no longer blocks you and you suddenly become informed by Wholeness, accessed by your heart’s wisdom.
The Great Spirit of Wholeness
I was born in Northern Ontario, I’m part Cree Indian and French Canadian. It’s no wonder I feel a strong connection to the land and a fondness for pine trees, rocky shores, lakes and canoeing.
The Native American philosophy is simple: Everything is connected and part of the Great Spirit, or Wholeness.
Native people believe that the cycle of life is in constant change; not random or meaningless change, that everything is happening for a purpose, even if we don’t always understand what that purpose may be.
One thing we know — there is only one God. No man, be he Red man or White man, can be apart. We ARE all brothers after all. – Chief Seattle
When Wholeness can more readily operate through you, it inspires your thinking mind and elevates you to another plateau or dimension of awareness.
You begin to feel deeply “in tune” or “at one with” the way consciousness is moving in your life. Living becomes effortless, as you are better able to “flow” with life.
When you’re hooked up to Wholeness, through your heart’s wisdom, your ability to discern truth from untruth increases exponentially!
I’m not talking about floating off into la-la land and meditating all your problems away. I’m a coach. I take specific, measurable and actionable steps toward everything I do.
I’ve found surrendering to be the most practical, productive and efficient mindset you can adopt to keep you in the flow and moving forward.
Life In a Total State of Acceptance and Surrender
So I asked myself…“What would my life look like if I lived it in a total state of acceptance and conscious surrender?”
I framed my answers in the following affirmations. Repeat after me with as much conviction as you can muster.
I allow each moment to be just as it is
I am open to people, places, events, occurrences, experiences without labeling them as good or bad, without mental judgment or reaction
I am informed by Wholeness accessed through my heart’s wisdom
I am in agreement with life
I say “yes” to life
Wake Up From This – Now!
- Can you feel how painful it is to internally be in opposition to what is?
- Can you realize that it’s Your Little Demanding Self that keeps causing you all your pain?
- Are you willing and ready to give up this conflict, this inner state of war with yourself, this struggling and resistance?
Wholeness is who you are in essence. You are already THAT which you seek.
Or, as my Native American ancestors would say, we are all connected – we are part of the land, the fish, the birds, the sun and sky. We are part of The Great Spirit of Wholeness.
This leads me to deep surrender.
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