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On Acceptance

Acceptance is one of the Seven Attitudinal Foundations of Mindfulness described by Jon Kabat-Zinn in Full Catastrophe Living. With all of the talk of McMindfulness, there's a sense that mindfulness isn't just about being with things as they are, but with being okay with them as they are. And implicit in the okayness is that you are satisfied.

Defining Acceptance

Let's go to the source . . .

"Acceptance . . . does not mean that you are satisfied with things as they are or that you are resigned to tolerating things as they 'have to be.' It does not mean that you should stop trying to break free of your self-destructive habits or to give up on your desire to change and grow or that you should tolerate injustice, for instance, or avoid getting involved in changing the world around you because it is the way it is and therefore hopeless. It has nothing to do with passive resignation. Acceptance as we are speaking of it simply means that, sooner or later, you have come around to a willingness to see things as they are. This attitude sets the stage for acting appropriately in your life no matter what is happening. You are much more likely to know what to do and have the inner conviction to act to act when you have a clear picture of what is actually happening versus when your vision is clouded by your mind’s self-serving judgments and desires or fears and prejudices" (Full Catastrophe Living 28).

What exactly is being okay, then?

If I'm not judging my moment-to-moment experience, the notion of okay doesn't really have a valence. Okay isn't positive or negative. Instead, it is knowing that when I am willing to see and be with what is, clarity emerges. It simply materializes. A more apt metaphor is that the fog that I didn't know I was walking around in, lifts. And when that happens enough, due to practice, there's a confidence that comes with it. Or maybe it's more like an epiphany. Oh, that's what I've been missing.

Waking Up

The idea of waking up (as opposed to being awake, and certainly not to be confused with being woke) is frequently associated with mindfulness. For me, the term perfectly encapsulates the experience. It's the sudden realization that I've been walking around asleep to my own life. I've allowed myself to be led around by an endlessly wandering mind. Lost. In. Thought.

Oops, I Judged

"I've allowed myself to be led around by an endlessly wandering mind" presumes:

  1. I knew enough to allow that to happen; and

  2. that I'm subsequently saying #FAIL to myself.

There is a bunch of that, because #human.

As you may know, Non-judging is the first of the Seven Attitudinal Foundations of Mindfulness. There is always much to do.

And not do.

And just watch.


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