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  • Daniel Rodman

Action and Acceptance

When we are faced with a scenario that calls for action, whether it be some obstacle, another person's situation, or some political injustice, there are two primary forces at play to overcome or bring those scenarios to rest. Those are action and acceptance. The two at first may seem mutually exclusive, since how can one accept and act to rectify simultaneously? The truth is that acceptance as well as action are our primary allies in making things better.

Action is called upon to change things, whether it is to communicate something of importance, to call for an intervention in someone's life, or to fulfill some task that is asked of you or you are called to do. In the case of action, specifically righteous action that accomplishes virtue in some way, there is always the call to do what you can. What that means depends on your interpretation of “what you can”. If “what you can” means talking to a loved one 2 times, 5 times, 100 times about getting help about alcohol addiction, then that's what it takes. If it means we go to the streets to protest political injustice 1, 5, 50 days or more, we do so. “What we can” is ultimately guided by your intelligence, the information available, and your heart's calling. If you know in your heart you can't stop until things change, then that's doing what you can. If you believe that your place is to contribute some but is not your life's calling, then that is doing what you can. We always want to try harder when it comes to altruism, generosity, and service!

Acceptance is our ally in all of this because it is what grounds us and allows for us to feel hope when we are doing so much and nothing is happening. Acceptance is a nurturing force, it allows us to be grounded and accept things as they are. When we are doing so much action against something, we can loose ourselves in the goal and the attitude of being “against” something and get burnt out, all the while loosing sight of the innate meaningfulness and completeness of life itself. Whereas if we have a powerful armor of acceptance of the situation, then we can act and act and not get burnt out, since it is grounded in the innate meaningfulness of life. That is what we fight for, and what we fight from, that innate love that we know must be upheld.

The great actors of history, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Theresa, H.H. The Dalai Lama, all are great forces of inspiration and service. They are all deeply troubled by the situations they were trying to make better, but even more so were they gracefully sustained by an inner contentment and wholeness that was the loving attitude they were motivated by. If they did not have that inner contentment they would be torn apart inside. It was because of this contentment, this overarching acceptance of life, that they could persist and persist. The acted on the premise that the underlying nature of all things and all people is good, and appealed to that good nature in everyone. Their acceptance was total, and their dedication to change was total. Thus is the nature of love, for love never denies, only includes in its own being. May you come to know the balance and support of both action and acceptance in the face of adversity and may you act gracefully for the benefit of all beings.

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