Acceptance ≠ Inaction or Resignation
Learning to be non-frustrated holds the key to intelligent living!
My friend from Nagpur commented on my blogpost of a few days ago saying he disagreed with my view that “our wishing alone cannot change our reality, our Life”. I have said this in so many blogposts, but let me elaborate, one more time, here. By championing acceptance, I am not suggesting that we resign to the situation. Acceptance does not mean inaction, it does not mean resignation. Acceptance is awareness of any current reality. It is the opposite of denial. Once you are accepting of a situation, you can decide what to do in it. But if you are running away from it, denying it, how can you ever expect to turn it around?
Important, acceptance teaches you to be non-frustrated with the outcomes of your efforts. Acceptance cannot solve your problems. It can only help you work in a focused and calm manner on your problem. But sometimes a problem may endure. Like in our case, for Vaani and me, it has been around for a decade now already. (Read more here: Fall Like A Rose Petal) When a problem refuses to go away, despite your best efforts, acceptance helps you cope with it, without getting frustrated or depressed that you are not being rewarded for your intent, talent, integrity and hard work.
When I say, no matter what you do – or don’t do – whatever has to happen alone will happen, I am championing non-frustrated living. I am not saying sit back and resign to your fate. Living in the world, and yet being above it, as the Bhagavad Gita teaches, as the Bible teaches, does not mean inaction. It is a lot of action – when you learn to trust the process of Life by doing what you can do in a situation and leaving the outcomes, the results, to Life. To be sure, trusting the process of Life requires a lot faith and patience, it calls for integrity of Purpose and detached determination. It means ploughing on along the path unmindful of the terrain and the time it will take to get to where you must arrive. It means that you understand and celebrate Life’s biggest truth that, always, the journey is more important than the reward.
Demystifying ‘just being’ – and how to ‘Fall Like A Rose Petal’
People often imagine that ‘just being’ means inaction. Just the opposite is true – ‘just being’ is a lot of action, for there is a lot to do, simply being present in the moment!
I met a friend the other day who said he was worried that all his efforts at getting business into his company were coming unstuck. He complained that no matter how hard he tried or how many sales calls he made, he was simply not getting orders. I smiled at him and said, “I can empathize with you. I am in the same boat. That makes it two of us!” “That’s my real fear,” he exclaimed in reply, “I worry that my Life too will become another Fall Like A Rose Petal story.”
I laughed. I said there was nothing wrong with the Fall Like A Rose Petal story. Just like everyone’s got a story, I too have one. And I have shared it in my Book (published by Westland) of the same name. My Book’s title is inspired by a story that Osho used to tell his followers…
A Sufi Master used to say to his disciples:
A rose petal, so delicate, but so strong, doesn’t hesitate about where it is falling, where it is going, whether there is any earth to find, to rest, to go to sleep, to die… Simply Trust. Do not the petals flutter down just like that?
So, I explained to my friend, by wishing something away, you can’t prevent Life from happening to you the way it wants to.
My friend said: “I don’t think you are doing enough. I think you have resigned to your fate. I don’t want to be like you. Every man makes his own destiny and you make that by putting your 150 % into a situation every single day! But I must confess that I am getting frustrated when my efforts are not yielding desired results.”
I didn’t want to discuss fate and destiny with him. However, while agreeing with him over making each day count, I made my point that sometimes, in Life, 2+2 will not equal 4. In such times, being in the now, in the present, being mindful is the only way to anchor in peace. Being mindful, living a Fall Like A Rose Petal Life, does not mean inaction at all. I told him that it means two things:
- Accepting the moment for what it is, being in the moment, engaged, mindful. Thoroughly involved. Which is a lot of action.
- Being involved with also doing what is possible, and doing it well, in that moment, and yet being detached from the outcome.
When 1 and 2 are happening simultaneously, where’s the question of passivity or inertia or remaining stuck? You are in flight! You are soaring. Despite the storm, despite the chaos, your sails are filled with grace, energy and momentum!
The reason though why many people see ‘just being’ as inaction is because they have this view that they are in control of their lives. So, they believe, that ‘just being’ will breed inertia and they will vegetate. So, they feel the need to stay busy and feel important that they are doing many things! This state is where almost everyone finds themselves at some point or the other in Life – running on a treadmill, where you are doing a lot of running, but are still in the same place! ‘Staying busy’ is just that – it doesn’t get you anywhere and leaves you drained, frustrated and beaten! Whereas ‘just being’ gets you to enjoy the magic and beauty of Life, while keeping your energy reservoir within you brimming over!
Vietnamese Buddhist guru Thich Nhat Hanh teaches this so well. He calls ‘just being’ non-action, not inaction. “Sometimes if we don’t do anything, we can help more than if we do a lot. We call that non-action. It is like the calm person on a small boat in a storm. That person does not have to do much, than just to be himself, and the situation can change,” he says.
Know that whatever’s happening to you now is part of a larger design that is creating your future. The funny thing about our present, our now, is that it is already happening. Which means we can’t wish it away. The only way to deal with it is to accept it, to live it, to stay engaged with it. Just as we enjoy when what’s happening is what we like, we must learn to appreciate whatever’s happening even if that’s not what we wanted or expected or like! This is mindfulness. This is ‘just being’. This is what Fall Like A Rose Petal is about! It helps you connect with the source of your creation, helps you drop anchor and find inner peace no matter what you are doing, or where you are, or what circumstances you are dealing with!
Be authentic, be true, to yourself, than wanting to be right all the time.
Understanding the meaning and power of ‘surrendering to Life’
Why ‘Just Being’ rocks!
- Being in the moment, engaged, mindful. Thoroughly involved. Which is a LOT of action.
- Being involved with also DOING what is possible, what is right and doing it well, in that moment, and yet BEING DETACHED from the outcome.
The true meaning of Life is being free — so let Life simply be!