If acceptance is done out of habit, or is enforced, then we are performing another ritual in a refined way. For example, “I must accept this, otherwise I am going against the philosophy of heartfulness,” is not a useful thought, especially if the heart says otherwise. We need to accept situations in life with full alertness and full awareness. There is no point blindly saying that we must accept something because someone else says so. Then, it will not be true acceptance.
I would like to share with you a personal story about acceptance. It happened after Babuji’s (as Ram Chandra, founder, SRCM, is fondly referred to) passing in 1983. Babuji passed away on April 19, and some time on the 18th , while I was working in a pharmacy in New York, I felt as if my whole body was deflating. The energy was just leaving me. So I told my boss that I needed to go home, as I couldn’t work anymore that day. In the middle of the night, I got a call from a family friend in South Africa with the news, “Boy, our Babuji is gone.” Two days later, I took a flight to Shahjahanpur and by the time I reached there, he had been cremated. Nevertheless, I had the opportunity to collect his holy ashes, put them in an urn and keep it in his cottage. At that time, Chariji (as the late Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari was referred to) was announced as Babuji’s successor, but in my heart I felt, “How can anyone succeed such a great personality?” I promised myself, “I cannot let Chariji live peacefully; I will act.” So with this attitude, I hired an ambassador car and along with three others set off to Fatehgarh where I wanted to pay my respect to Lalaji (Shri Ram Chandra, Adi Guru, SRCM) and take an oath that, come what may, I would not let Chariji succeed.
On the way, just as we were discussing all this most vehemently, for no rhyme or reason, our car toppled sideways and fell into a ditch. Fortunately, it was a dry ditch and the local villagers turned the vehicle back upright and lifted it onto the road again. But it was not driveable, so we took a bus back to Shahjahanpur. This gave me a jolt: “There must be something wrong in your thinking. Hold your horses! Don’t be too emotionally carried away. Start praying.” So I started praying to Babuji and dream after dream led me to the realisation that Chariji was his successor. But the dreams only started appearing the moment I became neutral, when I was neither against nor in favour of the decision. I think that this is the prerequisite for taking the next step: we neither accept not do we not accept. I had come to a neutral mid-point. I think that this is a good first step in any situation; only when we come to a mid-point is there the possibility of a solution. If I had remained adamant in my belief that nobody could replace Babuji, I would have lost. By coming to the mid-point, there was the possibility of higher forces working upon me so that I was guided correctly. So the number one step in acceptance is letting go of the possibility that this is so or that is not so, in order to come to a neutral mid-point.
Whenever you want guidance from nature, or from God or from your guide, allow yourself to come to that neutral point and then see how you are steered in the right direction.
When we come to neutrality, it is as if a burden is lifted. Whether in family life or in business, before making a final decision, come to a neutral point and see whether you should accept or reject whatever it is. When we arrive at neutrality, we let go of our prejudices and preconceptions. Prejudices make our decisions one-sided, whereas when we are neutral we are able to see with a clear vison. With neutrality, confidence is emboldened. When the direction is right, the heart feels lighter.
There are two questions about acceptance that are worth reflecting upon:
1) What is the difference between expectation and hope?
2) How can we balance acceptance and responsibility? In other words, when does acceptance become irresponsible? Think over them.
(This is the concluding part of a two-part series excerpted from the book,
— Kamlesh D Patel is the fourth spiritual guide in the Sahaj Marg system of Raja Yoga meditation. He travels extensively and is at home with people from all backgrounds and walks of life, giving special attention to the youth of today.