Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Aligning with reality


We often hear about the importance of forgiveness: we have to forgive in order to move forward. But I think there is something more important than that; something that makes forgiveness optional at best. And that is acknowledgement. It's not the same as acceptance either: Acceptance implies passivity and an affirming attitude towards what happened (or at least a kind of tolerance towards it). Acknowledgement is more elementary than that, as it doesn't matter whether you approve of what happened or not. It doesn't matter if you are okay with what happened, or if you would forgive everyone involved or not. Reality doesn't care about such things: it just is. It's not personal. The only thing that is personal is how we respond to it.

Acknowledgement means that we simply acknowledge everything that happens in every moment: We acknowledge the things that happen that are out of our control (and focus on dealing with the consequences), we acknowledge what people show us in terms of who they are (which helps us respond appropriately and assertively) and we acknowledge and see what we can do about situations and people in order to protect ourselves and take care of ourselves (and do that). We don't live in illusions of what could be or what we want life to be (or not be). We don't lie to ourselves. We don't pretend we are more perfect than we are, or ignore flaws or even red flags in others; we see things as they are. We see clearly. This is the only thing needed to live a healthy, balanced life.

When we see everything as it is, we will always respond appropriately. We can set healthy boundaries, and follow up with reasonable consequences; not as punishment, but because it is the sensible thing to do. Punishment comes from resistance against what is, while total acceptance and premature forgiveness can lead to resignation and complacency. None of those things are helpful, and I have seen many instances where acts of forgiveness have been actively harmful. What we need is balance; we need to be real, and live in reality -as it is, in each moment. When we can do that, and flow with what happens adaptively, we are always ready for life, no matter what it throws at us.

Acknowledgement treats all information as equal, because that is the key to staying open, flexible, balanced and fair. It doesn't engage in wishful thinking and doesn't take / make things personal. There is no need to defend, blame, punish, lie or manipulate. There is only reality, and without the (social) pressure to forgive, be kind, be polite or whatever other pressure we collectively put on ourselves, we will know what to do naturally, and appropriate action will follow.

And if you have any doubts about what is real because you have been taught to question your reality (and haven't we all been there?), the first thing to do is look inward; to your own experience. That is the first reality. That is where true power is. It may help to see the outside world as a constant; not because it doesn't change, but because it is out of our (direct) control, and when we can truly see that - acknowledge that - we can respond in freedom and unrestricted by conditioning, fears, rigidity (habit), etc. When we truly acknowledge what is there, objectively (without merging with or disengaging from any part of it), it naturally results in a response that is free of conditioning, balanced, honest, authentic and fair. And paradoxically, that is what brings about change. That is what bringing about change from within means: It means knowing you can't change anything by force or by focusing on things outside yourself; only your natural response to the way things are in each and every moment can become the ripple that CAN bring about change.

Let's collectively tap into that power. There are no limits.