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Exploring the Pillars of Joy - Acceptance

In The Book of Joy, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the Dalai Lama discuss how to find inner joy during a week-long meeting in Dharamshala, India. They break down eight pillars of joy; four of the mind, and four of the heart. Mind--perspective, humility, humor, and acceptance. Heart--forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, generosity. Over the next eight blog posts, I will break down these pillars for you into something tangible. I want you to read along and really consider how you are applying these principles in your life so that you can feel greater inner joy.

Acceptance is an act of letting go; it is a spiritual surrender.

Acceptance provides the understanding that you have no control over any desired outcome.

Acceptance releases the magical belief that the past can be changed.

Acceptance does not mean that you believe that something traumatic that happened to you was okay.

Acceptance does not mean you agree with what is currently happening.

Acceptance does not mean that you stop trying for things or stop being in active collaboration with God for bettering your life.

Shantideva, an early 8th century Buddhist monk, philosopher, and poet wrote, "Why be unhappy about something if it can be remedied? And what is the use of being unhappy if it cannot be remedied?"

Remaining melancholic, irate, or stunted because of something that cannot be changed creates an enormous wall between you and joy.

Acceptance releases you of the burdens that keep you stuck.

You can practice acceptance in several ways.

One is to use the serenity prayer and ask God for help with this task of the heart:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Another way is to develop a mantra and repeat it several times in coordination with the rhythm of slow, deep breathing (breaths of about four seconds in and out). An example of an acceptance mantra could be:

May I let go of control (in breath), may I be at peace (out breath).

You can also write yourself a letter. Write about all the places you have been stuck--stuck in resentment, stuck in pain, and stuck in the past, then write about your desire to be at peace and to experience joy. Finally, write about your commitment to working on finding acceptance of these things, including acceptance of who you are right in this moment.

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