TC346: Cafe Book Club presents The Book of Joy – Pillar 4: Acceptance
In this episode host Robin Masiewicz and co-host Amy Frost continue their discussion of the Eight Pillars of Joy. This week focuses on the fourth pillar: Acceptance.
Acceptance: The Only Place Where Change Can Begin
In this short teaching is the profound essence of the Dalai Lama’s approach to life:
“Why be unhappy about something if it can be remedied? And what is the use of being unhappy if it cannot be remedied?
Once we can see life in its wider perspective, once we are able to see our role in its drama with some degree of humility, and once we are able to laugh at ourselves, we then come to the fourth and final quality of mind which is the ability to accept our life in all its pain, imperfection, and beauty.
Acceptance, it must be pointed out, is the opposite of resignation and defeat.
Acceptance–whether we believe in God or not–allows us to move into the fullness of joy. It allows us to engage with life on its own terms rather than rail against the fact that life is not as we would wish. It allows us not to struggle against the day-to-day current. The Dalai Lama had told us that stress and anxiety come from our expectation of how life should be. When we are able to accept that life is how it is, not as we think it should be, we are able to ease the ride, to go from that bumpy axle (dukkha), with all its suffering, stress, anxiety, and dissatisfaction, to the smooth axle (Sukha), with its greater ease, comfort, and happiness.
So many of the causes of suffering come from our reacting to the people, places, things, and circumstances in our lives, rather than accepting them. When we react, we stay locked in judgment and criticism, anxiety and despair, even denial and addiction. It is impossible to experience joy when we are stuck this way. Acceptance is the sword that cuts through all of this resistance, allowing us to relax, to see clearly, and to respond appropriately.