Saturday, February 11, 2006

Radical Acceptance

First of all, I apologize for not posting yesterday. The Blogger program was on the blink again and so I was unable to update the blog. Now for today's post:

The spring issue of Tricycle magazine arrived at the Center recently and I spent some time with it this morning. I want to quote an article called "Getting Along: Loving the other without losing yourself" by Christopher Germer:
Mindfulness practice - a profound method for engaging life's unpleasant moments - is a powerful tool for removing obstacles and rediscovering happiness in relationships. Mindfulness involves both awareness and acceptance of present experience. Some psychologists, among them Tara Brach and Marsha Linehan, talk about radical acceptance - radical meaning "root" - to emphasize our deep, innate capacity to embrace both negative and positive emotions. Acceptance in this context does not mean tolerating or condoning abusive behavior. Rather, acceptance often means fully acknowledging just how much pain we may be feeling at a given moment, which inevitably leads to greater empowerment and creative change.

One of the trickiest challenges for a psychotherapist, and for a mindfulness-oriented therapist in particular, is to impress on clients the need to turn toward their emotional discomfort and address it directly instead of looking for ways to avoid it. If we move into pain mindfully and compassionately, the pain will shift naturally.

How very true. Remember the slogan, "what we resist, persists". Move toward the pain rather than away from it. Accept it without judgment. Don't intensify it by condemning it or fighting it. That way we do not add the suffering of non-acceptance to the pain.

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