Acceptance Through Meditationsam
by Kiva Bottero
While meditating today I started by focusing on whatever my senses picked up in the environment. I tuned into the various sounds of nature without fixating on any of them. After a short while I began to feel my right leg itch, then the other. Ants were crawling up my legs. My initial impulse was to swat them away, but I didn’t because I wanted to continue focusing my awareness. As the itch intensified, I considered distracting myself to avoid feeling the pain, but I stuck with the uncomfortable feeling that was given to me. Just then something clicked for me.
I just accepted the itch as part of my sensory field of awareness, not unlike the sounds of birds or the sight of the forest. Rather than fight these sense impressions, I chose to accept them. Through full acceptance I felt like I blended into the nature scene. Just as the birds were flying through the air, ants were crawling along me, an object sitting on the ground. Right then the pain disappeared. It was as if ants were crawling on me, but it was OK since my body was just an object in their way. My body was no different than the log I saw off in the distance.
Life generally follows the theme of pursuing desires and fending off aversions. Attract good things in life, avoid the bad. I’d heard countless times about the importance of acceptance, especially related to my journey healing from chronic back pain, but I never fully accepted acceptance. I always thought there was a way to stop the pain if I worked hard enough at it. I didn’t want to accept that I had to deal with pain. I always tried to avoid the pain and pursue happiness. It just seemed logical to me.
Or is that just what the ego thinks makes sense? The ego continually creates thoughts as a way of maintaining its existence. It knows that if we see life from the perspective of higher consciousness, we’d realize that the mind is just a part of the larger Self — something that we can observe and not react to. The ego — through the mind — wants to be in control. It wants us to think that there is no separation between our thoughts and actions. It doesn’t want us to believe in our true Self.
Meditation amplifies the ego by bringing it closer to our consciousness. By observing and accepting our thoughts we realize that the ego is just a part of us that we can control. The ego really likes being in control, so it creates thoughts or manifests pains in the body to distract us.
The itch scenario is much simpler than chronic pain to deal with, but it’s of the same essence. Through acceptance, my larger Self let me know I was in control and the ego loosened its grasp because it found its attempts to destabilize my mind to be ineffective. I knew that whatever pain I was feeling was a result of my mind being absorbed in the pain. The Self observed the mind’s play with pain, and the pain lost its grip. It saw the pain for what it is, simply a process of the mind.
Kiva Bottero volunteers his time running The Mindful Word, a journal of engaged living and working for Dew Media, a custom publishing company that specializes in non-profit and social enterprise projects. You can visit him online at www.themindfulword.org and www.dewmedia.org.