Accepting What Is……..

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Spirit + Nature

This is something that took me a long time to grasp and I still don’t know if I am even there yet. Years ago when I started to read into Buddhism and Zen ideologies I would always admire the simplicity of what was preached but could never really grasp what certain things meant. “Accepting What Is” is something that is often mentioned but it is something that can be hard to get your head around. Does it mean to accept what others do? How the world is? or what is going on around us?


Acceptance, letting things flow or be is a hugely enticing subject and brings much to be desired for most of us. All of our suffering is caused by a resistance to “What is” or to our unwillingness to Accept things we experience in everyday life.

No thought, no reflection, no analysis, no cultivation, no intention; let it settle itself..

Read back and you will see the words “we experience” everything we experience is a creation of our minds. Its all a perception of what is in our mind. Our thinking is what frustrates us, makes us angry, irritable or on the other end of the spectrum feel joy, happiness and peace.

Once we realize that its normal to feel all kinds of emotion and the only thing that pro-longs them or cuts them short is our mind fighting with them. For instance when your feeling irritable, scared or angry its normal and can be triggered by anything and is usually out of your control. Just as we have good days and bad days. These feelings if left alone and allowed to flow through your body would normally pass, they may not feel nice but they are natural emotions. What pro-longs them is our resistance to them its when we start fighting and fearing these feelings. When we start arguing in our minds saying “I should not feel like this, I want to feel relaxed, Why do I get frustrated so easily” all these questions and thoughts of resistance will pro-long the negative emotion and cause more suffering until something distracts you or things burn out after hours of internal fighting.

The same goes for positive emotions. Many people have a habit of questioning why they feel good or are overcome with happiness. The truth is these feelings can never last for ever and we have to enjoy them, ride them out and accept them allowing the positive emotion to flow through our body. This is the only thing that will prolong it.

Whereas most people will question why they are feeling so good. “What made me feel this way?, How can I achieve it again?” the answer maybe something simple but usually its just a combination of a good mood and a peaceful mind or helping others that lead to joy. Its once you start questioning or trying to figure things out that you will cut things short and destroy your positive emotions.

Learning not to fight

Once we learn not to fight you will find your body and mind find its natural equilibrium. We are pre-programmed to be happy and experience positive emotions, this is the direction our mind leans towards. Sure you will feel negative emotions from time to time and they don’t feel nice. Just accept them, admit to yourself that’s how your feeling right now and don’t question them don’t start that internal fight inside your head, just let the emotions flow and feel them rush through your body. Once you start doing this you will see that you will start feeling less and less negative emotions and your mind will sway towards what it likes best……..Happiness!

The same goes for positive emotion. When your feeling good, great, euphoric just feel it milk every ounce of it dry, don’t question it. Put on some feel good music and think about things you want or that make you happy. Just realize that it too shall pass, but hey that’s what makes the good times feel so good!

Making Sense

I know this is something hard to do, but its something I feel that is easy to grasp the concept of. And while it may be hard to break the bad habits we have of questioning our thoughts or feelings. Its just habit and with practice new one’s can be created. Creating the habit of accepting how you feel is one of the best things you can do……


  1. David at Animal-Kingdom-Workouts says

    Interesting article. I like what you’re saying, although I think it’s harder to do in practice. I’m going to work on it though. Have a great weekend!

    - Dave

    @ Dave: Your right with that one. Its certainly harder in practice but if you can manage to do it with at least some things everyday you will see new habits emerge and eventually things will become easier. Accept your thoughts and don’t fight them that’s they key….

  2. Son of Grok says

    This is also a very Taoist concept. It works so well. Not getting frustrated over what you can’t control is huge. That is my form of acceptance and it really does improve my life.
    Thank you for another good post Chris.

    P.S. I have been hitting the liquid fish oil method.. no complaints yet.

    The SoG

  3. Terry says

    I never got into Zen but I may now. It’s all so true what you said. I like the way you described it. It made sense.

    We lost our son, our beautiful only child, three years ago. I cannot tell you the hell on earth this is. But I accepted that grief is natural for such a terrible tragedy and let myself grieve, in spite of insenstive people telling me I shouldn’t, as soon as days after it happened.

    I know many parents who think they are supposed to “get over it” and “move on” as they are so often told.

    Some parents go off to counselors who put them on “happy pills.” I think that just masks the negative feelings but they are still inside. Better, as you said,to let it flow.

    Thanks for another great post.

    @ Terry: An extremely powerful comment, one that makes me feel joy that I wrote something that benefited you. And sadness after hearing your story. I am so pleased you posted and honored that you read ZTF.

    Although it sometimes hurts, we must learn to accept what is. It may feel horrible but if what is makes you feel sad, upset or angry then just let those emotions run their course and they will naturally flow through your body, accept thats how you feel right now. Suffering is caused by resisting emotions. That constant fighting people do with their fear, anxieties and pain. Only once we surrender to how we feel does the suffering end, and things just are……

  4. Terry says

    Thank you. You do help me often. I look forward to your posts.

    I just came here more or less for fitness advice but I have gotten so much more.

  5. Dusan Vlahovic says

    I fight with this all the time, it helps to read that other people have this problem too. We have to accept what happens and be happy because we are alive.

  6. Larry says

    I typed in “Zen” and “Acceptance,” and your site was first on the “hit list.”

    I agree with what you and the previous commenters have said. I’d also like to point out that, though there are Buddhist, Zen and Taoist concepts, they were also known to scholars that were called the Stoics. Epictetus is one of my favorites, and one of my favorite quotes from him is, “We are distrubed not by the events which occur, but by the views we take of them.” This quote helps me immensely when I get frustrated, whether it be at work or at home with the Family. Just wanted to pass that on. Thanks for the site.

  7. John says

    Hi Chris,
    Yes, I like your article on acceptance. I’ve been thinking about acceptance for a while now; but have the normal (I’m assuming) fear that acceptance will breed
    apathy. You’ve obviously had some experience with this. What are your thoughts re acceptance and apathy?
    ….. john
    P.S. Please email me if you have a chance to answer this.


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