We often live with this belief that no matter how hard we try, we are always, in some way, falling short. This belief of unworthiness, has at its core, non-acceptance of one’s self. This can manifest in a number of ways in our lives:
- Embarking on one self-improvement project after another, because we do not feel good enough.
- Holding back and playing it safe, rather than risking failure, because to fail means that we are not good enough.
- Withdrawing from our experience of the present moment, and keep going to the past or future.
- Keeping busy and not reflecting deep.
- Becoming our own worst critics and saying to ourselves that we are not good enough.
- Focusing on other people’s faults
The roots of these behaviours lies in the false concept of who we are in truth. Buddha said that we are not a separate and distinct self, the other ancient traditions in some way or the other also say that we are not separate and distinct in an absolute way and that we are yoked to the Divine in some form or the other and that surrender to the Divine is the way to become aware of our own self.
The life that we are living currently is imperfect and that is okay, because that is the nature of this life. Accept it and offer your life and actions and if the Divine wills, this imperfection will gradually become more perfect.
Accept your body, your mind, your emotions and moods, your behaviour and offer them to the Divine. Accept everything about yourself and your life- meaning do not resist it. This means to be mindful of every moment and have compassion towards every moment. Unless we are mindful, unless we see clearly, we cannot accept a moment. We also do not want to suffer or cause suffering, hence we need to be compassionate and kindful to every moment. The nature of your awareness is to know what is happening and the nature of our heart is to care. This does not mean resignation to what happens, accepting your limitations and withdrawing from life, self-indulgence, passivity or seeing yourself as a separate self. It means to be kindful and aware and in that atmosphere, to live your life moment to moment.
Pause regularly. Through the sacred art of pausing, we develop the capacity to stop hiding, to stop running away from our experience. No matter what happens, pause and be aware of what is happening – both internally and externally. Then we let go of the past and the future and enter the mystery of the Now. Pause regularly throughout the day and become aware of what is happening-outside, inside-body, breath, feelings, thoughts….just a moment and accept what is happening…this itself opens the door to true change.
Inquire what is happening. Do not ask why?. Just what. Then note what is happening. Just the bare facts. Nothing else. Be aware of it and treat it with kindfulness.
Become aware of your body. Becoming aware means to become aware of the sensations that arise in your body. A thought, a feeling results in a body sensation and becoming aware of this stream of changing sensations is what is called mindfulness. Just accept those sensations and be kindful.
Become aware of your desires, of what attracts you and what you don’t like. Become aware, but do not grasp or push away. Do not act them out. Let them come and let them go, like clouds floating across the sky. This wisdom of seeing that everything passes is liberating.
Become aware of your fears. Most fears are because we are holding on to the past or worrying about our future. Our worst fear is the fear of losing our life. Become mindful and let these fears come and go. The fear of losing our life needs us to be aware that we cannot stop existing as we are part of the Divine. Forms may change and in that sense this self is not true but we are part of the Divine and the Divine is eternal and hence in that sense our truest self is always eternal.
Be compassionate to yourself and others. This means to be kindful and to wish peace, joy, happiness and no-harm to yourself and others. Everything is the Divine, including yourself. So being compassionate sort of brings everything into the same frequency and that seems natural and peaceful. If we do not do that, then there is a lot of jarring and that creates friction and uneasiness.
Forgiveness and loving-kindness. Two important practices. Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Ask for forgiveness from others. Love and kindfulness to yourself and others.
Becoming aware of who you are. Gradually and slowly. Let the Divine make you aware when He wishes.
Happiness cannot be found through great effort and will power,
But is already there, in relaxation and letting – go.
Don’t strain yourself, there is nothing to do…
Only our search for happiness prevents us from seeing it…
Don’t belive in the reality of good and bad experiences;
They are like rainbows.
Wanting to grasp the ungraspable, you exhaust yourself in vain.
As soon as you relax this grasping, space is there
– open, inviting and comfortable.
So make use of it. All is yours already.
Don’t search any further…
Nothing to do.
Nothing to force,
Nothing to want,
– and everything happens by itself.
Lama Gendun Rinpoche
- – inspired by the book “Radical Acceptance” by Tara Brach