“Who looks outside dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” – Carl Jung
Imagine a mirror that’s dirty. You slowly begin the cleaning process
and finally, you can see yourself clearly. But once the mirror
reflects the objects clearly, what do you do? Do you see yourself or
do you avoid seeing it? Or worse, do you tell others to see their
faces in your mirror?
This is our inner life in action when we practise a spiritual process.
A life of sattva- peace-inducing practises (like breathing, prayer,
yoga, journaling etc) – guarantees improved Awareness. It’s akin to
cleaning the mirror of our consciousness. This means we connect to our
inner state and know from a space beyond the mind’s feelings and
needs. In other words, when we spend some time in slow and deliberate
connection to ourselves, we are able to remove some of the clutter in
our head and separate ourselves from our mind’s rant. This is called
improved Awareness or popularly known as Self- Awareness.
However, the real challenge is to practise Acceptance. In the analogy
above, it refers to the choice of seeing your true face in the mirror.
Awareness is a gift we receive from nature when we live a life more
aligned to sattva. But Acceptance is a choice we have – to see the
reality that’s present to us. Or to put it differently, Awareness is
the cleaning of the mirror and Acceptance is the choice to see
yourself; Acceptance means a choice to receive the Awareness.
A friend of mine became a monk at the age of seventeen. When he turned
fifty he began to realize he needs a wife. But monks don’t have a
married companion. So doubts began to plague him. He worried if he was
in illusion or is this natural? The more intense he practised his
meditation and prayers, the more the truth of his needs became clearer
to him. As his inner Awareness improved, initially he lived in denial.
After months of struggle, one day, he accepted that he was a monk by
accident, and his needs have changed and he needs to move on in life.
He finally accepted that he too had a need for companionship. That
very instance he felt relieved. He had chosen Acceptance and
inadvertently experienced the immediate benefits. His actions later-
of whether he’d accept a wife or not, that’s a detail. What’s more
important is his inner acceptance. He had passed the biggest hurdle on
his spiritual journey – he had accepted himself!
To accept what we learn about ourselves is difficult and painful in
the beginning, but if we do it, then it’s liberating. However, if we
chose denial, our awareness gets clouded- we take one step forward by
our spiritual practises but go two steps backwards when we refuse to
accept the truth about ourselves.
This explains why many yogis, business leaders, spiritual gurus,
sports heroes, and movie superstars feel lonely, burnt out, or land up
betraying their own values. The missing element in their lives is
Acceptance means consenting to receive the present moment. It’s
finding peace with the self in the now.
Acceptance is not about being complacent or lazy; it’s not justifying
our reluctance to improve; nor does it mean you accept abuse quietly.
Acceptance means to live in a space of silent assurance of being safe
and loved in this universe; it’s to feel at home with ourselves.
To be continued…