Can I accept that I've missed my flight?
That I've lost my job?
And my partner has just left me?
The Way of Acceptance is here to suggest that we can accept all these things and more.
Acceptance shouldn’t be about backing down or pretending everything’s fine. Instead, acceptance is about engaging with our experience intelligently and turning our attention towards what can be fixed in our lives: our attitude.
What is The Way of Acceptance?
Distilling the most relevant insights of Eastern thought, this practical guide to life deconstructs our habitual reactions to difficulties and shows us how to eliminate our most destructive mental tendencies, suggesting we have the potential to “be okay” with everything we experience.
This book will not show you how to fix all your problems, remove your pain, or make you enlightened. It will, however, give you the tools to disengage from unnecessary negativity and obsessive thinking and show you that the right approach to acceptance has the potential to transform your life.
Are you ready for the transformation to begin?
Who's it for?
If you’re somebody who’s already identified a lack of acceptance as something of a stumbling block in your life, while not considering yourself to be ‘sick’ or in need of psychotherapy, esoteric spiritual practices, or New Age mysticism, then The Way of Acceptance is the perfect book for you. It’s easy to read, entertaining, and full of great (often humorous) real-life examples and anecdotes.
This practical guide provides us with the means to challenge the attitudes that keep us trapped in habits of rejecting our experience as “not good enough,” continually demanding something better. The book presents us with an alternate way into mindful living, applying simple strategies and practices to help us find the way out of the mental maze we’ve constructed. Using the reality of our everyday situations and reactions as a guide, nothing else is needed. Just this - whatever’s happening right now.
The Way of Acceptance delves deeply into the causes of our failing relationships with ourselves, others, and the world we live in, but avoids being academic, hard-to-read, or pompous. No knowledge of Buddhism or Eastern thinking is necessary to be able to easily understand the book’s arguments, explanations, and suggestions.
If you’re interested in developing a simple, pragmatic attitude and an easy system of mindfulness practice that will make you more content, this book is for you.
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Where did it come from?
Kicked around by life, Jonathan found himself in Buddhist centers and spiritual communities in India, looking for answers. After a decade spent practicing meditation and studying philosophy, he “returned to the marketplace.” Back in Europe, working in the city and teaching a meditation group, the answers started to emerge. Because more than anything, the meditation students wanted to know why they couldn’t accept the pain in their knees whilst
sitting on their cushions. And why they couldn’t accept the pain in the rest of their lives. In their jobs, relationships, finances, and failing health. It became clear that if we’re sometimes unable to remove the causes of our pain, the only way open to us is to change our attitude towards that pain. That instead of trying to hide from our unavoidable difficulties, we can choose to embrace them.
The Way of Acceptance is not one of those books that claims that the universe is giving us exactly what we need at this moment. Instead, the book shows us a skillful way to reconnect with the natural joy of living, simply by taking a pragmatic approach of “This is the reality of what’s happening right now. How am I going to deal with this?” This is the path to contentment in the midst of our troubled lives.
In Part One of the book we look at precisely what is meant by acceptance and how we can deal with the minor upsets that plague our daily experience. Can I accept that it’s raining when I’d planned to go to the beach? Or that the canceled train led to me missing my flight? We learn to control our superfluous responses, to recognize what we can and can’t change, and to act accordingly. We look at the problems of our demanding mind, which refuses to stay in the present, and how we might better deal with our emotions. So when I’m overwhelmed by remorse for that minor mistake I’ve just made, I learn to get out of my head, feel the pain in my body, and let go of it. And when I’m confronted by impending redundancy, I can meet it with a smile that suggests, “It’s okay,” leaving me free to deal pragmatically with the situation, rather than getting lost in the reaction of Little Me that insists, “It’s not fair!”
In Part Two we look at our relationship with ourselves and others. How can I possibly accept myself when I’m so obviously flawed? Or accept you when you can’t manage to use the GPS? Or accept my boss when she’s hurling abuse at me? We start to recognize how little control we have over the behavior of others and to question whether they’re ultimately responsible for their actions. As we begin to see the world from a less egocentric perspective, we withhold our judgment and blame. We can forgive the aggressive friend, the unfaithful partner, and the inconsiderate neighbor. We learn how to accept, while standing firm and pushing back against the world and our own crazy minds whenever necessary.
Part Three describes the culmination of our journey and how we begin to surrender to life, stop opposing its flow, and do whatever’s needed. We come to accept the limitations beyond our control and learn to give up our insistence that things improve. We make peace with our life as it's become. Like this, we move beyond our suffering and experience the freedom that radical acceptance can bring. We rediscover the joy in our lives and start to see that everything really is okay.
The book ends with a comprehensive appendix of exercises in mindfulness, intended to support the ideas developed in the rest of the text. It serves as an introduction to informal meditation for those with no prior experience, while presenting new perspectives on mindful practice for more experienced readers.