I once believed that acceptance was a type of spiritual practice – a tool to trick the universe into giving me what I want. The deal seemed to be that I’d pretend to be a happy camper and in return the universe would shower me with goodies. I can now see that acceptance is not really about my desires at all. It’s really about the functioning of the universe and how I fit in with this functioning. Acceptance is the understanding that the universe is doing what it does, and if I get in the way of this I’ll be crushed.
Real acceptance demands that I develop a more humble estimation of my place in the universe. It means understanding that I’m just one part of the universe and not a solo artist who gets to call the shots. There is no negotiation involved in any of this. The message I’m getting loud and clear is that things will go a whole hell of a lot better for me if I don’t resist what is happening. So developing acceptance is about as spiritual as deciding not to walk in the middle of a busy highway.
I’ve posted recently about my conclusion that all beliefs are probably bullshit, but I do have practical theories that I use to make my life easier. I’m reasonably convinced that the universe has a purpose, and that I’m part of that purpose. I’m not claiming this as if there is anything special about me – everyone and everything in the universe will be equally part of this purpose. I don’t pretend to know what this purpose involves or even if there is any type of intelligent force behind it. It might be easier to think of it as the universe as moving in a certain direction, and that the key to peace in life is to fit in with this movement. I’m not sure that we humans have anywhere near as much freewill as we like to imagine, and it is more that we have an ability to resist things– instead of a freewill, we might only have free-won’t. It is this resistance to the movement of life that seems to be the cause of much of our pain.
How to Always Be Content
Real acceptance is more than just being okay about that what’s going to happen in the future. It is about accepting what is happening right now, and to stop resisting what is happening right now. If I try to stand against this unstoppable force there can only be one outcome, and it is much better to move with the force and go where it wants me to go. By bringing my desires in line with the universe, I’m always sure to be content with the outcome. It is about moving my allegiances away from Team Paul and more towards Team Universe. If I see myself as part of a much bigger picture, it means that my selfish goals no longer seem that important.
Dog Barking at the Sea
I was on Mae Ramphung Beach for my evening walk yesterday when I came across this dog who was barking at the sea. I came back the same way 30 minutes later, and he was still there barking at the sea. It seemed such an absurd thing for this animal to be doing until it hit me that I’ve been barking at the sea for my whole life – acceptance is when I stop barking at the sea. I couldn’t stop myself from giggling at this realization. I felt this surge of affection for this dog, but I gave him a wide berth in case his particular brand of madness was caused by rabies.
My First Prayer
I’ve felt so inspired by my deepening understanding of acceptance that I’ve written my first ever prayer:
Dear Universe, do what you want with me.
You are going to anyway.