Radical Acceptance (13 min)

If you’re one of those people that tend to think about things too much – it’s great to be able to think about stuff when it’s useful and helpful, but when it’s not, then look and see if there are things that you’re thinking about that are out of your control, that you really can’t control. And if you can’t control them, my suggestion would be maybe we don’t need to think about them all that much and if it’s something that we think about that maybe we don’t like or we’re worried that something’s going to happen that we don’t like, but it hasn’t happened yet, ok, plan for it, be ready, whatever you think it might be. And then once you’ve done everything that you can around your house or in your head, depending what kind of an issue it is and you feel that you’re relatively planned, you’re prepared for whatever that situation might be, then you don’t have to worry about it anymore. And you can practice something called worry fasting by just choosing not to worry for like five minutes a day. It’s powerful. If five minutes doesn’t seem like a challenge, maybe it’s not an issue for you, then go for an hour or go for a whole day or if it’s really impossible then start with one minute or start with thirty seconds. It just depends on where we are at any stage of our lives. And it’s a really good habit to create, to just do worry fasting and not think about stuff that we don’t need to think about all the time and give your body a chance to heal, give your mind and your heart a chance to calm down.

But the other thing I wanted to say is – isn’t it obvious that there are so many things that we that we can’t control, that are totally beyond our control, they’re beyond our reach. We don’t even know if we’re going to wake up alive tomorrow. And if we could just accept that, so just accept. Now I’m talking about things that stress people out, things that we perceive as negative. I don’t want to spend a lot of time on it, but I just want to say: if you can’t do something about it, if there’s nothing you can really do functional about it, it might be OK to let it go. And that doesn’t mean that if there’s something that you want to fight for, if there’s something you want to speak up about or vote or get educated about, I’m not saying don’t do those things. I’m not saying live your life like a slug and let everybody determine the reality for you. I’m saying do what is right and what you feel good about and then let it go. Do your part and let it go. That’s easy.

Second part of acceptance – radical acceptance.

How many people look at the stars or the sky or the ocean or another person or a flower or a tree and feel their connection with that? How many of us would like to feel that connection or deepen that connection? Maybe some of us think it’s a joke and that’s OK, but I’m just working from my point of view.

What if what the scientists say is true, that all of the elements that create your body were created in stars and what if – crazy thought – what if every night when you dream , you create a whole other world in your dream mind and you wake up and it’s gone. And what if life is like that? And what if you just don’t know? And what if life is like really special? Every moment of it. And it’s more important than your phone. And it’s more important than your text messages. “What are you doing? What’s up?” OK? What if we allow ourselves to get caught up in everything that we hear in the news and everything that’s happening in Washington and everything that’s happening in social media? If I could control your life, I’d go cancel all your Facebook accounts right now, OK? What if there’s a whole world happening out there that every one of us knows inside that we miss or that we’d like to be more engaged with? And what if that world and that reality are actually a part of who you are and that’s why you miss it when you’re not connected with it.

There’s so many “what ifs”. Why waste our time settling for a material reality? Maybe we can’t prove it to a doubter, maybe we can’t prove it to a scientist or what’s deemed scientist in our time. You don’t need to prove it to feel it in your heart, that there’s something alive in you that doesn’t believe it’s ever going to die. And there’s something that’s alive in you that wants to experience other life, it wants to experience its connection with nature, with other people, with God. When I talk about God, it’s not a guy in a cloud. It’s just the sum total of everything, the sum total of everything that we know of and everything we don’t know of. That’s what I call God.

And what if that relationship between us and everything that there is, what if it’s a choice? What if we really do have free will? And the choice is not about how your life ends up and all that kind of thing, because there’s all this action and reaction that’s happening all over the place that’s outside of our control. Stupid people make stupid decisions, the next thing you know we’re all dead. It’s wonderful, it’s a perfect environment to grow spiritually. And so what if the only choice that matters is: do we create the space in our lives to be quiet to calm down, so live from our intuition a little bit more and trust more what we feel instead of so much what we think and what we’ve heard and what we’ve been told and take time to really love our children and to appreciate the sky and to let our hearts guide us toward the next steps in our lives, whatever they might be, making time for other people, being patient with them, giving them money when they need it even when you can’t afford to, just being more serviceful, more loving, because in your heart you know that you want to, even though your mind says that you can’t. There’s a fork in the road at every moment of our lives to realize and to step into a greater reality that includes us and enjoys us, where were we belong.

And then the other way is to kind of turn back toward fear, negativity or ‘I got to take care of me first’, ego and all that kind of stuff.

I don’t know if I’m making a clear picture, but let me just say it like this. There are people talking all the time in the news and in science about how lonely we are. Everybody has heard this conversation. Why is it that we’re more connected through electronics than ever before, but more and more people are lonely? Why is it that the people that have the highest rate of suicide are the ones that are successful, not the ones that are broken, starving poor on the street? It’s the people that have money, that have the car, that have the house, that have all that attainment, those are the ones that are putting a gun in their mouth. Because they are alone.

And the reason we’re incessantly just obsessed with social media is because we’re alone. The problem is the social media won’t fix it. It’s like ‘I want expansive freedom, I want to know God and so maybe I’ll take drugs or mushrooms or bump my head on a rock’. That won’t fix either. But if you learn to close your eyes and learn to open your heart, it’s not that difficult, but you have to be patient, it takes time and you can start to experience your connection with everybody.

So back to the original meditation that we did, I just said watch the breath and basically be still and focus here. That’s not bad instruction for meditating, but there’s a whole bunch more I could say, but it becomes personal. So we’re going to meditate right now just a little bit more. But what I want to say about that is, this time you could think of meditation as your opportunity to deepen your relationship with God, the Universe, with nature or humanity, any way that works for you personally. I don’t need to define it. Only you know the right answer to that question individually, right? But you could think of your meditation being so interesting, just to kind of drop into the stillness, use the breath as your guide to take you within, but then at some point when you feel calm to open your heart, to be radical about the way you open your heart and you don’t need to know where it’s going, but just open your heart and feel like if I open my heart, try to feel the starlight, try to hear the wind in the clouds from a million miles away and try to feel kind of like the heartbeat of our planet, or our solar system or our universe. Or it could be try to feel the guidance of God or the divine or your own higher self within you. So when we teach meditation here, it’s traditional meditation, in other words it’s always leaving the door open to develop that relationship.

And so that’s the part I didn’t say in the beginning meditation. In the beginning it’s good to just calm down your thoughts, get centered, but at the end of the day, what’s really going to help us is to develop an active, living relationship with something greater than our own intellect and our own beliefs and our own desires.

So that’s kind of what I wanted to leave you with. And so where does that go with radical acceptance? What I’m suggesting is to accept your divinity. That it doesn’t need to be proved to you and that you won’t learn about it in a book, but you need to feel it and you need to experience it directly and meditation is one way to do that, if you allow it to be – to embrace your divinity, to be open to discover what that is and to be open to discover who you really are. Not who your mom and dad told you you are, but who you really are inside. Might be a lot more than what any of us can even imagine.

Recorded at Yogananda Meditation Center on October 9, 2017.
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