Post number 2 of 33 in The Ganymede Progression.

Acceptance is related somewhat to my former essay on happiness. I suggested that to be truly happy, beneath the peaks and troughs of emotion we must have a kind of “baseline peace”, a “resting state” of happiness which persists through the traumas and difficulties we may face. One important way we achieve this is through acceptance.

Acceptance is, in one sense, our ability to tolerate and thrive despite things we cannot change. Life is full of obstacles like this – immovable roadblocks which we cannot break through, but instead must find a path around. Acceptance is our capacity to keep going, and by that I mean keep happy as much as anything, despite these obstacles. By practising acceptance I recognise I alone will never solve the problem of people being homeless; that I cannot stand for Prime Minister (I have too many other things on this week) and am therefore unlikely to house the many thousands of people who sleep rough in my country. But acceptance is not passive: as such I volunteer at a homeless shelter, and make what small difference I can to this important issue.

As Jedi, acceptance is key to our path. We cannot transform the world into a global Jedi community overnight. Those of us who have been at the Temple for a few years will be able to remember many occasions of people showing up with what they think is an amazing idea (more often than not a physical Temple somewhere nearby to where they live), and they are given a lesson in acceptance… that the wider community wouldn’t benefit from that, or at least that they should spend time getting to know the TOTJO way of doing things before planning to open a “local chapter”, something few of these enterprising individuals are prepared to do in the final analysis.

And there’s the rub – acceptance is hard! Accepting we can’t do some things is a real bummer and can absolutely affect our ability to be happy. I myself am a fixer. I don’t like to rest until something is “sorted”, and I find it very challenging to let go of something I feel has been left undone. But that is acceptance, and I’m learning to be better at it.

I recently advised a new member of our community who approached me for advice on finding their way. I advised them to clear their mind of preconceptions and to look at things from a fresh perspective. This is an important tool in coming to a place of acceptance – we cannot always get things to the state we want them in, and we cannot always achieve what we do want in the way we feel we “should”. And that term – should – is another factor here.

As creatures humans are predisposed to visualisation. Even if this is not a literal “mental picture” of how things could be, most of us hold deep down in our cores some narrative, some blueprint of what it is that we really need, want, desire. And when we don’t get it, in our hearts we feel short-changed. We have been “deprived” of something we “should” have. This can be anything – that speedboat, the ferarri, or simple stuff like someone’s affection, or even our own peace of mind. This idea that we “should” have anything is an illusion. What we have is what we should have, always. The Force makes no mistakes.

Let me restate that. The Force makes no mistakes.

We get what we were always going to get. We are where we were always going to be. We will respond how we were always going to respond. For most, that implies hang-wringing and aggravation about how things “should” have been. But for the wise, though there is always a period of this learning should-ness, we begin to learn all we should have, is what we have. It is up to us to get where we want to go, and also up to us to accept where we end up. Accept that what we have, is what we are apportioned. To trust in the Force and to work with what we have to achieve the best life we can.

Acceptance is a tough skill to learn and like anything, a difficult beast to truly master. I’m a long way off this mastery! But as life teaches me to let go of all that I fear to lose… or to have it wrenched from my hands regardless? I think I’m getting better at accepting whatever I have as a blessing, and whatever I don’t have as simply none of my business. I accept who I am in order to learn to be a better person. I accept where I am in order to live a better life. And I accept what I get because I recognise that I can’t control what tomorrow will bring – only the attitude with which I face it.

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