Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of October 8, 2007

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Acceptance

(Part 6 of 9 in the Inner Work series The Stages of Love)

Seeing the sameness, the inner awareness of living that we share with others, brings us to the point of not merely tolerating but fully accepting people as they are, without reservation. We just drop all our inner criticisms and objections and let the person be. We may still, when appropriate, try to help them grow, but we do so from a state of complete acceptance of who they are, as they are.

Dropping, or at least putting in abeyance, our criticisms and judgments is an act of will, a spiritual practice that requires repetition and intention. Our thoughts and emotions may continue their habitual patterns of inwardly criticizing people when they do not fit our mold for them. We may not be able to stop these self-generating judgmental thoughts, but we can refuse to believe them, refuse to buy into them, and refuse to act on them. We maintain our discriminatory capacity where necessary, such as whom to trust in business dealings. But we can realize that a person is a thief and not deal with him, while nevertheless accepting him as a fellow human being. If necessary, we may lock him in jail, but we do not lock him out of our heart.

One personal benefit of practicing acceptance is the freedom it gives. Acceptance softens our egoism, whether self-centered or group-centered. It also widens our humility, a quality necessary for conscious connection with the Sacred. Acceptance relieves us of the burden of so many criticisms weighing on our heart and interfering with our relationships. Letting go of the judging mind allows us to live in natural dignity, enjoying the simple pleasure of being with other people.

For this week, practice accepting people as they are. Notice your inner criticisms and judgments of others. Notice whether you buy into these opinions. Practice letting them go. Though critical thoughts continue to arise on their own, see them now as masking the deeper truth of sameness and person-to-person connection. Do not allow such thoughts to stop you from accepting others as they are.


     

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