By Nayaswami Narayan
January 9, 2018

Dharmadevi and I took a seclusion between Christmas and New Years. What, you may ask, did I gain from spending time in silence with longer meditations and periods of introspection?

Well, one thing that became clear; I have a long way to go! “God,” I thought (more in exasperation than in prayer!), “I’ve got a lot of faults to work on. I’m never going to get there!” I tipped the balance from self-awareness to self-absorption (not absorption with the infinite Self unfortunately!).

And then through the grace of God, I remembered Swami Kriyananda’s words, “When you realize a fault rather than beat yourself up, congratulate yourself.” Swami was saying why not rejoice when you realize one of your lessons? Aren’t we all here to learn and grow?

I realized I was complaining through despair with the, “What’s the hope?!”, attitude. My self-deprecation was really a self-defense mechanism of the ego. Haven’t we all played this game with ourselves? Also, through introspection I realized I was simply lazy. Part of me didn’t want to do anything about it! I was tempted to take a seat at the “pity party table.”

But rather than falling into despair, I chanted “God of Beauty” by Paramhansa Yogananda. Yogananda spiritualized all of his chants. He said that “God of Beauty” makes the body, mind, and soul beautiful. How sweet! It was exactly what I needed as I was feeling ugly at the time! After chanting and meditating, I felt like a different person. I declined the pity party offer and instead sat to create a bonfire of bliss through meditation!

Swami also reminded me to ask an important practical question: “What can you do about it?” For example, if you’re playing tennis and someone hits the ball to the other side of the court you don’t say, “Oh, why did you do that?!” No, of course not, you run over to the other side of the court for a return!

Acceptance is a very important part of our spiritual progress. Yes, be real with yourself. When you can see things as they really are, only then can you change them.

And at the same time don’t forget to practice the highest form of acceptance. Accepting God in your heart. As Swami Kriyananda shares in Affirmations for Self-Healing:

“Acceptance comes from knowing that reality lies within ourselves, and that all else is a dream. Acceptance of that one reality makes everything else acceptable. Instead of learning to come to grips with a thousand individual challenges, therefore, make the supreme effort to accept God unconditionally into your heart. Accept all that comes in life as coming from His hands. He will give you what is best for you, if you live for Him alone.”

Here are some thoughts on how to practice acceptance:

  1. Accept that problems exist. Beware of the spiritual bypass. Don’t make the mistake of not accepting your mistakes.
  2. Congratulate yourself on having found something you want to change. Rather than despair, rejoice!
  3. Why waste time grieving or feeling badly? Ask rather, “What can I do about it?”
  4. Work on developing the opposite qualities of a negative trait you want to overcome. If you find that you have a tendency to be greedy, make it a point to practice generosity.
  5. Practice Swami Kriyananda’s affirmation on Acceptance: “I accept with calm impartiality whatever comes my way. Free in my heart, I am not conditioned by any outward circumstance.”
  6. Meditate and accept your awesome reality in God!