In our last satsang we spoke about the seven cycles of human evolution.
First was IDENTIFICATION WITH BODY-MIND.
Second was the ACT OF WITNESSING.
Third was RECOGNITION OF THE WITNESSER.
Fourth was EXPLORING THE LAYERS OF THE WITNESSER.
Fifth was ENTERING THE VOID.
Sixth was BURNING.
And lastly the Seventh was ABIDANCE AND RECOLLECTION OF BLISS.
These seven cycles are achieved with an effective practice of Implosive Self-Inquiry.
However, what is the single most fundamental prerequisite or condition that needs to be met in order to have an effective self-inquiry practice? Undoubtedly it is an attitude of deep ACCEPTANCE.
If there is no acceptance, there is resistance to ‘what is’, which means we have already moved away from Truth. And if we have moved away from Truth, how can we even begin to introspect deeply and inquire?
Inquiry means we need to look at what is arising and falling and trace it to its very point of origin.
If we don’t accept the ‘waves’, we will be busy fighting against them and they are likely to overwhelm us; so it’s better to simply watch them arise and fall on the surface of the ocean.
The waves always point towards the ocean as they settle down, and we will completely miss this truth if we are busy fighting against them. We will be too exhausted to even notice this.
Acceptance means… drop the fight… drop the resistance… and simply float in the ocean for some time to allow a meaningful insight to appear.
It is, therefore, necessary to understand acceptance more deeply with respect to what it is and, importantly, to what it is not.
Whenever we talk about acceptance, we usually talk in relation to, or with reference to, something ‘outer’ — whether it is another person, thing, event or situation.
After all, when everything seems to be going along as usual or normal, acceptance is always naturally present. We don’t have an issue with what’s happening. It is only when things start to change around us, or become difficult for us, that we begin to question our acceptance of it. This is when acceptance becomes challenging, particularly if the situation is an intense one for us.
When we are faced with a ‘situation’, a process begins — first of resistance towards the change, followed by fear, judgement, opinions and a stream of endless thoughts running through our head — in order to somehow ‘fix’ the situation.
Such an approach, however, results only in more and more pain and suffering until we hit a plateau/wall and have no choice but to eventually come to the understanding that we should accept the change in order to end the pain and suffering.
Unfortunately, this normal/typical reaction to ‘what is happening’ results in is a severe drain of our energy levels and we are left feeling extremely exhausted.
If we are drained and exhausted by our resistance and thoughts around a situation, how can there be meaningful inquiry?
So, is it possible for us to reach acceptance earlier on in any situation so that we can avoid the prolonged periods of pain and suffering and preserve energy, thereby helping facilitate deep self-inquiry?
The single thing that is most needed to address this situation is a shift — a shift of attention inwards, towards an inner movement rather than an outer one.
What drains us, exhausts us and distracts us is our constant engagement with the ‘outer’ in the form of judgements, opinions, biases. This is a habitual or default pattern of our ego to deal with any change. But when we instead bring our attention inwards, and deal with what is happening within us, without being in a hurry to fix anything at the ‘outer’, we will meet truth as it is without any bias, prejudice or interpretation.
No matter what the degree of discomfort it may initially cause, there will eventually be harmony and peace — a road that will lead to lasting joy and happiness. So the shift has to be with regards to inner movement and not ‘outer’.
Any urge or movement in a hurry to translate, judge, offer an opinion or interpret a situation will be a source of distraction; an energy sapping/consuming mechanism. But when we move inwards and deal with what we feel — without any interference of thoughts… interpretation… concepts… opinions… judgements… of the ‘outer’ — we are dealing solely with ourselves, and often this is very difficult to do.
Moving inwards, we may encounter pain and uneasiness. The initial pain we encounter is because we have failed to see ourselves — failed to accept ourselves — always too busy wasting time/energy engaging with the outer situations.
That’s our pattern. Avoiding truth of ‘what is’. It is also very convenient for us to do this — avoid the truth of ‘what is’, as it helps to project our feelings onto others and blame them, while being completely blind to our own selves.
We really don’t know anything about ourselves. The proof is, the moment we see pain we begin to translate, judge or give an opinion about it as it is far easier, and more comfortable, to judge others than to judge our own self. Of course, it is equally wrong to judge our own self, as that too is not Truth.
Real Truth is facing courageously what one feels without any form of judgement or interpretation.
So acceptance is nothing but the ability to move inwards, away from the outer to see/ face/feel the truth as it is.
Through the inner abidance of deep harmony and calmness, and looking with an inner gaze, we have the ability to deal with anything that arises or falls away, appears or disappears.
What becomes clear when we look at acceptance as an inner movement is that acceptance is not the same thing as an effort to accept something.
Any effort to accept a situation means there is an intent or a motive involved. There is a lack in our acceptance.
A thought that — maybe if I accept this, I will find a release, a comfort, a relief from the pain, the suffering, of this situation — is motivated by the desire to achieve something, or fix something, and that will result in a conflict.
We will find that the more we try to force acceptance of something, the more it becomes difficult to accept. The reason is we are making an effort.
Acceptance in its purity is always effortless.
It is effortless because the reward lies in the acceptance itself. It lies in recognizing the wonderful opportunity we have when things or events start to fall apart around us, or change for us; that make us uneasy or uncomfortable.
It is in recognizing that the discomfort/uneasiness is the opportunity itself. An opportunity to ‘open to my being’. Just as a miser clings to any opportunity to make or hold his money, we should also hold on to what’s happening within us before we try to fix things at the outer.
It is important to understand that embracing acceptance is not to advocate for fatalism or resignation.
Even though acceptance is primarily concerned with what is happening within us — meeting the truth and harmony within us, engaging with the truth within us — it allows room for outer change.
Taking a moment to turn inwards, to abide within to process the situation confronting us, provides the time necessary for the correct response/action to spontaneously arise. By taking the time to turn within, the outer action will automatically be in perfect harmony and in truth. As one meets the truth within, it will absolutely and totally manifest right actions and words.
Through the inner lens of wisdom gained through abidance, the outer perspective will be clear, transparent and spotless for correct choices to be made.
Hence, from true acceptance arises right actions and correct choices. Acceptance therefore embraces and allows change at the outside.
Acceptance also doesn’t mean that we don’t communicate or express ourselves. It only means that we take time to sit with what’s happening inside of us, to accept it fully, embrace it, and not be in a hurry to fix anything. Instead of focusing ‘outside’, we need to spend some quality time to engage ourselves within.
It is also important for us to remember that we must take time to sit with the situation, to process it. We need to take time to understand the inner process. Once we feel the chaos within has settled into harmony and peace, we should then feel free to allow ourselves to be open to communicating with the person involved, or to face the situation.
A deeper acceptance always leads to a deeper opening, meeting and unity of all forms of communication.