Self and Others: Acceptance through Meditation

When Peace Revolution invited me to contribute to this blog, I agreed readily, for two main reasons. One, that this would be a way of showing my gratitude to Peace Revolution. Second, I thought this would be a great way of deepening my own practice. This way, I could read more about meditation related topics, from social, cultural, health and psychological perspectives. And then apply them towards my own meditation practice, pay attention to what follows and make new connections, between theory and practice.

Spring in Sweden

I am especially interested in Yoga Sutras (written down by Patanjali, although they must have been passed down for centuries before being written down), so learning more about them would combine my interests and intention—research on self, writing and a continuous way of thanking fellow Peace Revolution.

Spring in Sweden: A Meditative Season 2015

Agents. Writing this blog is an opportunity to combine gratitude, and self-development.

However since I have been writing the posts, putting them in concrete forms online, so that many can read them, something that was dormant has become active. My forever-alive inner critic has become very talkative. It asks me the questions that I have no concrete answers for— at least not yet. It asks me these uncomfortable questions, ‘How often do I live by all the concepts, ideas and practices that I talk about? Do I practice what I suggest, if not preach?’

Although I have been a regular meditator for the last five years, I must admit that, there have also been some lapses. Due to work and restlessness I have skipped some days of meditation. And other times, meditation has not been deep, reflecting the agitated state of my mind.

During those times, I have asked myself if writing these blog posts was hypocritical since I was not really reflecting and acting on them? Why was I, sometimes, holding on to anger, when it alienated me from myself?

When my inner-critic asks me such questions I avoid looking into the mirror and busy myself with other things. Our daily lives provide enough distractions so that we never ask real questions that have implications farther than sheer survival. In reality, writing this blog, though only once a month, has had an impact beyond just reading Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. I face myself more often and for much longer than I have in the recent past.

I know Yoga and Meditation provide answers, beyond just ‘being nice’ and choosing the ethical path. So, to answer how to deal with myself when I am aware of distressed state of my mind, I turned again to Patanjali, and found the appropriate response in Yoga Sutra 1:33 which provides four attitudes towards others to hold, when in meditation.

Friendliness-loving kindness (extending love to others in meditation), compassion-support, (considering others with an attitude of benevolence when in meditation), happiness-goodwill (wishing for prosperity of others and blessing others with a clarity of mind, when in meditation), and neutrality or acceptance (accepting them as they are, without any intention of changing them, but instead allowing a loving mirror, so that in our compassion towards them they see their own reflection.)

But, as they say charity begins at home. We need to treat ourselves with the same kindness that we save for others. It does not mean that we allow ourselves the crudeness that we would not accept from others, that we use consideration and forgiveness towards selves, as a way to ignore self-development. But instead, to honor our intention, and patience through meditation, to manifest our best selves.

In the next post we will examine some practices that can be used in meditation for acceptance of self and others.

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