Tuesday, January 01, 2013
Thoughts for the New Year
I posted the following in January of 2005. I think it's time for a repeat. I am deeply convinced of these truths:
“Sometimes… a wave of light breaks into our darkness and it is as if a voice were saying, ‘You are accepted. You are accepted, accepted by that which is greater than you… Do not seek anything…; do not intend anything. Simply accept the fact that you are accepted.’”
As far as I’m concerned nothing else the great theologian Paul Tillich wrote comes close to the power, the startling, staggering, perfect truth of this famous “acceptance” statement. I sometimes think that if I were the rector of a parish I would be tempted to repeat this quote to the same people every Sunday for a year --- I think it is that important.
This experience of being accepted is not dependent on any belief system. But the question is sure to be asked: who or what does the accepting? I'd like to suggest that if you are a Buddhist you might experience being accepted by your own enlightened nature or by the Three Jewels. If you are agnostic or atheist you might experience being accepted by your own deepest, truest self - that self that is more real than your wounded self or your ego. If you are a traditional theist that acceptance may be experienced as coming from the Divinity of your understanding. Perhaps for everyone there can be the sense of being accepted by the Universe. In that regard there is a corresponding freedom when we have accepted that things are as they are. The story is told about Margaret Fuller who once exclaimed, "I accept the Universe!" It was Carlyle who then responded, "By God, she'd better."
All that being said I think it better to leave the "who" or "what" question alone. After all, Tillich did say "Do not seek anything... do not intend anything. Simply accept the fact that you are accepted." What would happen if you sat in meditation using this last sentence as your meditation support? In other words, just sit and let it be real and true that you are accepted? If we were to adopt this practice as a New Year's aspiration rather than taking on heroic resolutions I'm sure the freedom we would experience would be rich and profound.