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TOPIC: understanding acceptance

understanding acceptance 22 Nov 2014 05:34 #96236

I am currently experiencing an upheaval in strong emotions. Runaway thoughts, what if's, and strong physical sensations (pit in stomach, nausea etc). As I work through this I keep examining this idea of acceptance. What is it? What does that mean? These do not feel like the right questions but I am realizing on a very basic and practical level I don't understand acceptance. I have been challenging myself to see, if even for a split second, if I can I accept these feelings. Not sure if this makes sense but would love help clarifying. This is idea of acceptance is one that I thought I understood but realize I don't have a clue.
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understanding acceptance 22 Nov 2014 07:14 #96238

I think in the context described in your post the strategy is to go down in. In other words, these upheavals consist of physical sensations, breathing patterns, mental imagery, and stories. It's not productive to work on acceptance at the story level, because that's too confusing and often the stories are not really true. Go to the physical sensations, the root of the expression of emotion is there. Heat, heart pounding, muscle tensions, breathing, fight/flight response stuff. Accept the fight/flight response at that animal level, that primordial level. That's all. You can do that. It teaches one to be with discomfort in a very useful way. Some tension in your chest or sweating or urge to move is not going to kill you. Stay out of the stories and stay deeply with the body. It's educational, supportive of the development of insight, and also helps one keep from freaking out as much.
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understanding acceptance 22 Nov 2014 08:14 #96240

Really good advice Ona.

If something seems bigger than just the story of it, chances are you won't be able to "figure it out" and you need to go deep into the experience itself. It can also be useful to think of strong emotions as a purification as well. Strong sensations will arise and you can become intimate with their feeling and it will take you along a ride that really clarifies -- literally "to clarify" -- how much of the thoughts and sense of self is confused with the turmoil and how much more you are than that the turmoil. You can connect with "big self" or "true self" this way. It's a bit of a birth through fire, but sometimes I think years of confusion get burned away by these periods of turmoil. Usually at the other side is a sense of both humility and a kind of strength that derives from that humility -- kinda paradoxical.

The other thing is that you can try keeping the dose at something you can handle (which is usually more than we want, more than we wish, more than we believe we can experience) to the best you can. The single best thing is going for a walk in an open area, a natural area ideally, to let the body and mind off-gas. Exercise is good, but don't tire yourself out, emotionality is already very draining.

Acceptance is acknowledging our hidden strength to fully experience, while also caring for the human meat and neurons of our body. Acceptance has an element of faith or "knowing" to it as well, because these events seem to have their own wisdom that will carry us through it and show what needs to be shown.

It can be tricky. Don't quit too soon. There usually is something obvious that is being avoided in the middle of these knots.
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understanding acceptance 22 Nov 2014 12:26 #96244

Acceptance to me has elements of not being embedded, being OK with, not being attached to and letting it be. When I'm meditating, a stream of phenomena go past. Then something might grab me. At that point I am not accepting it, something else is operating. Or, the stream is going past including things I like and things I don't like. But, if I am OK with the things I don't like, that is acceptance. But, if at some level, I am not OK with it, not at peace with it, that is non-acceptance.

Every day for the last several months I have been doing Skype partner noting. We have six five minute periods. In two of them we are doing binary noting with acceptance as one note and aversion in one segment and embedded in another segment as the other notes. It has been very interesting to make these distinctions. At times, a note of confusion comes in.
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understanding acceptance 22 Nov 2014 19:13 #96246

I think that acceptance just happens as a direct outcome of leaning into, not avoiding, the pain itself. Attempts to skip the leaning in to seize "acceptance" backfire, as avoidances do.
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understanding acceptance 28 Nov 2014 12:49 #96384

Thank you all. Sorry for not responding sooner it is difficult to organize thoughts, find the time, and keep from deleting/editing myself to death. Anyway, these are great reminders. I have realized since reflecting on this topic some that maybe for me the issue might not be a matter of understanding acceptance but perhaps this feeling of not knowing anything. This deep down feeling of not knowing. Like everything is in doubt. But I should say that I think I have significant work in the area of fear. I definitely do not think I accept it very well and let my mind run like a bat out of hell.
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understanding acceptance 28 Nov 2014 16:34 #96389

Dan, do you find meditation mapping useful? Like, is it useful to think of this as a stage you are going through (fear nana or reobservation nana)?

Or would you say that what you are going through is more directly tied to life conditions?
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understanding acceptance 29 Nov 2014 18:05 #96405

do you find meditation mapping useful?

yeah. i would say i appreciate and respect maps and mostly find them useful.

is it useful to think of this as a stage you are going through (fear nana or reobservation nana)?

i am not sure anymore with regards to this issue. it might be that i am so in it that i am not able to map it. it could be more directly related to life conditions. I indeed posted bc I was jolted by life conditions. But there is an edge to the fear that feels existential to me. and it has felt this way for a while. i am not sure how to talk about it. it reminds of the deep fear that I experienced on retreat one time. that fear was like "the world is a horrible place and not safe, run for the hills, aaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!" type of fear. and so in life i experience a more subtle version of it. its like I have deeply felt the first noble truth and am scared by it. i think.

btw i am in such a wishy washy don't know kind of place that i feel like am stumbling with words and thoughts but giving myself the freedom to just communicate. thanks for the questions shargrol.
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understanding acceptance 30 Nov 2014 07:36 #96416

For what it's worth, one way of playing with the concept of meditation maps is to read through the list of nanas and just imagine what it would be like if you were suddenly born into each one of them. Be an actor and try to feel the emotional tone of the nana, try to create thoughts that would go along with it, try to imagine the world view that would go along with it... and work through the nanas one by one. Get a good feeling for what the reactivity is like in each nana and just kinda get used to experiencing those sensations. Keep a medium dose --- don't overstimulate yourself, but also get enough that you can feel it.

A good experiment would be to spend 10 minutes just resting mindfully (using whatever technique you use), then spend about 2-4 minutes "doing" each nana in order.

All of the reactivity in our life and in mediation are basically sensations that we are scared to experience. But they can be experienced without much "problemness". The trick is to spend time getting used to them and seeing the individual aspects of the sensations that make up reactivity. When you can feel the sensations but not get pulled into "and I'm going to die, aaaaaahhhh!", that is an awesome thing and you'll realize how amazing this mediation stuff really is.

A lot of this stuff comes up in a normal sit and life too, of course. But you can prepare yourself by doing a little training/cultivation by using the "imagination/acting" practice above.

Hope this helps in some way, even if it is just ignored because the advice/time isn't right! :)
Last Edit: 30 Nov 2014 07:37 by shargrol.
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