Monday, June 25, 2007

Daily Dharma: Radical Self-Acceptance

Today's Daily Dharma from Tricycle:

Radical Self-Acceptance

One finds that no matter how sincere one's intention to be attentive and aware, the mind rebels against such instructions and races off to indulge in all manner of distractions, memories and fantasies. . . . The comforting illusion of personal coherence and continuity is ripped away to expose only fragmentary islands of consciousness separated by yawning gulfs of unawareness. . . . The first step in this practice of mindful awareness is radical self-acceptance.

Such self-acceptance, however, does not operate in an ethical vacuum, where no moral assessment is made of one's emotional states. The training in mindful awareness is part of a Buddhist path with values and goals. Emotional states are evaluated according to whether they increase or decrease the potential for suffering. If an emotion, such as hatred or envy, is judged to be destructive, then it is simply recognized as such. It is neither expressed through violent thoughts, words, or deeds, nor is it suppressed or denied as incompatible with a "spiritual" life. In seeing it for what it is--a transient emotional state--one mindfully observes it follow its own nature: to arise, abide for a while, and then pass away.

~ Stephen Batchelor, The Awakening of the West

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