“Balance cannot be known unless you taste both extremes. You will dabble, struggle, even suffer until you muster up the the extraordinary courage necessary for embracing all of your humanity.” ~ Amy Larson
Two words that any spiritual seeker is inundated with, no matter what school of thought they are a part of, are “acceptance” and “love”.
It doesn’t really matter which spiritual practice we are following or which teacher we are listening to.
We are constantly told to accept ourselves as we are, accept others as they are, and unconditionally love everything, including all of our “negative” emotions.
And as simple as many spiritual teachers make it sound, the actual concept of acceptance and love can actually be not only more confusing than it seems, but harder than it looks.
How many times on your journey have you told yourself that you can accept that you are angry, let’s say, attempted to love it (in hope of making it go away), and nothing happened?
It may have went away for about 5 minutes while you distracted yourself with something else, or tried to make yourself feel how you didn’t really feel, only to pop back up again in your mind the minute your mind started to re-tell the story that was the catalyst for the emotion in the first place.
The problem with this method of dealing with emotions is that we are denying ourselves one very important aspect of any journey.
This one small step that we fail to realize actually becomes the key to liberation, safety in our own body, confidence in our lives, and truly feeling as though as we are doing everything “right” in our spiritual quest.
Embrace your Emotions
The step I am speaking of, is embracing our humanness, loving our innocence, and eventually, completely surrendering to the fact that our ego-mind is not designed to truly love anything unconditionally.
At the point of this complete realization of helplessness, we open ourselves up to a higher intelligence and presence to work through us and do it for us rather than trying to force ourselves to feel in a manner that we don’t really feel, or accept something that we don’t really know how to accept.
“Love is the absence of judgment.” ~ Dalai Lama
Our minds are not designed to know how to stop judging. This is simply the fact of the matter. The mind is constantly labeling things as good or bad, right or wrong. As many of us unknowingly let spirituality trickle in to our ego, we start to form our perspective around the way we think we “should” or “shouldn’t’ be.
Judge Less, Accept More
We “should” be forgiving. We “shouldn’t” be angry. We “should” be loving. We “shouldn’t” be critical. We “should” be generous. We “shouldn’t” be jealous. You get the point. It seems the more we find teachings that we resonate with, the further away from our own humanness we go.
As soon as a perceived “negative” emotion pops up, we start judging ourselves as “not there yet”, “not enlightened enough yet”, “still attracting negativity to me because there must be something I”m doing wrong.”
At this point, we begin to try and deny our own innocent hearts as they feel a natural emotion pertaining to a circumstance.
What we inadvertently are telling our innocent hearts is, “How UN-spiritual of you to feel angry about this. You’re supposed to love everything and accept everyone as they are, so you don’t get to feel angry about this. You must accept it and love it, like the good spiritual seeker you are.”
And as you can probably guess by now, this doesn’t work. This is actually the perfect recipe for resentments to begin to form.
We try and force ourselves to accept things our minds were never designed to know how to accept, to forgive people our minds have no clue how to begin forgiving, and to love things and emotions that let’s face it, we DON’T love, and as a result, we begin to cultivate a million resentments towards the people, places and things in our lives that we feel are constantly forcing us to deny our own authenticity.
Be Honest with Yourself
When we get to the point where we are so honest with ourselves that we can admit to ourselves, and the universe that we, in fact, don’t know how to love that person or that thing unconditionally. We don’t know how to forgive someone for an act we still believe is unforgivable, or we don’t know how to feel grateful for the things in our lives because things don’t really seem that great from where we are standing, we come to our last and most transformational option. Admitting helplessness.
To the ego this sounds terrifying. And rightfully so, to finally admit that only a force greater than ourselves will be able to come in and save the day for us, means that all the spiritual busy-work we have grown accustomed to partaking in may actually be starting to work against us instead of for us.
If we can’t feel completely free and comfortable to feel however we naturally feel about something, then what exactly is the point?
Over time, as we embrace our emotions and feel ok to feel however we are inclined to feel, and also are able to freely admit that we don’t know how to just “get over it”, we will notice that naturally a force greater than ourselves begins to do all these things on our behalf.
Soon things that we thought we would never get over become something in the distant past that we don’t even think about, and people that used to annoy or frustrate us no longer are bringing up any sort of reaction in us.
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” ~ Wayne Dyer
So if everything is only arising in our reality only to be accepted and loved. That also means accepting and loving the part of ourselves that has no idea how to accept and love a certain emotion. Whatever your spiritual practice is, whether it be meditating, praying, writing, etc… we can affirm to ourselves and our higher power that we are having a particular emotion and we don’t know how to resolve it.
What a shift in energy when we can stop “trying” so hard to get rid of things that our minds were never going to be able to get rid of and instead hand over all the hard work and effort to the only thing that can in fact help us to dissolve these emotions.
As time passes the more we stop trying to feel and act how we aren’t naturally feeling, we notice that all emotions and feelings are welcomed in as a gift, even the “unpleasant” ones.
It can only arise because it is the next part of our own humanity that is wanting to be acknowledged and honored.
As soon as every part of our own heart feels “heard”, the sooner we feel allowed to be and feel however we feel inclined to without having to judge ourselves as “not spiritual enough”. Which ironically, becomes the one thing that moves us through “spiritual ego” and on to a completely liberated existence.