Spiritual acceptance comes about in as many different forms as there are people who experience it. There is no one way that it comes about. But, generally, the experience is sudden or gradual.
Before we continue, let’s clarify the difference between acceptance and spiritual acceptance.
Sportscaster Warner Wolf would often say, “Let’s go to videotape.” I say, “Let’s go to Wikipedia:”
Acceptance is when a person agrees to experience a situation, to follow a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change it, protest, or exit.
Now with this type of acceptance, you really just bite the bullet and do it. You might not like it or agree to it wholeheartedly, but you’re no longer protesting. You know you can’t do anything, so you surrender.
Unfortunately, there is no Wikipedia entry for spiritual acceptance. But, thankfully, the teachers and saints who walked this planet before us offer us some guidance. Following is a mixture of both.
Spiritual acceptance embraces the bigger picture; understanding that this life situation is just a piece of the puzzle, or just a piece of the journey you’re on. Spiritual acceptance understands that everything is happening according to Divine timing. You might not agree with it on some level, but knowing that there is Divine Order going on, even though you can’t see it or understand why it’s happening now, allows you to let go and let God take over.
Sometimes we start from a point of understanding that we can’t accept this situation right now, but knowing that the Divine Order of the Universe is working.
Now that you recognize the difference between acceptance and spiritual acceptance, let’s talk about the gradual kind of spiritual acceptance.
Again, what I am speaking of is not limited to what I write about. The gradual spiritual experiences are the most common. In fact, most people do not even know that they have gone through this transformation. It is usually pointed out by some close friend or family member.
Have you ever said to someone (or have you ever been told) that “you’ve changed.” The conversation would usually be similar to this: “A year ago you would have never said that…or acted like that. Something has changed in you.”
And for the first time, you actually are able to take in that wonderful validation and acknowledge the difference in you. And what a joy it is to have that validation of your spiritual growth, which has come about through your acceptance of yourself, of others and of the Divine Order of the Universe.
Another gradual spiritual experience is that, over time, your love and/or understanding of someone or something grows and grows. It didn’t start out that way. Through prayer and meditation, the discomfort you feel about a person or situation gradually decreases, until the discomfort is no longer there.
In fact, you begin to appreciate that person or situation because you can now see how the Divine Order of the Universe has just worked through you, helping you to become more at peace with yourself through the very prayer and meditation you practiced to balance those feelings that were overshadowing you. You may also see a valuable lesson in the discomfort you felt towards the person or situation.
Next week, I’ll talk about sudden spiritual acceptance. Please share with me some of your experiences. With your permission, I may want to include them in my next book.