Acceptance: Expanding Outward

Dear Integral Meditators,

Meditation can be an act of turning inward, but it can also be a way of turning outward, a way of expanding graciously into our world, and by doing so transforming our experience of that world. The article below explores this theme.


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Acceptance: Expanding Outward

Meditation means turning inward, away from the busyness of the world, right?
Often meditation is thought of and practiced as a way of turning inward, away from the busyness of the world and the harshness of our outer reality in order to find a peaceful inner space where we can go in order to gather ourselves, to focus, to relax and heal.
This is all well and good, but one thing that we may find over time (if this is the only approach that we have to meditation) is that there emerges a division between our inner, quiet meditative world and our harsh, challenging outer world.
Unless we are careful our meditation can become a contraction away from the challenges of our daily reality, a way of avoiding the things that we find difficult to accept in our lives.

Accepting the world to find a different form of peace
One way in which we can turn this around is by practising meditation as an opening to our daily reality; an acceptance of what is there, whether it be comfortable or uncomfortable, pleasurable or painful, easy or difficult.
To start practising this form of meditation now, sit quietly as you would do in an ordinary meditation, and focus on your heart space. Rather than going inward into your heart space, open it outward to an awareness, acceptance and embracing of the reality that you are experiencing right now; your physical surroundings, the emotions of all kinds flowing through you, the happiness and the conflicts in your relationships, the state of the world. Open to everything that comes into your awareness, turn away nothing. Note and gently resist any impulses that you have to turn away from what comes into your awareness as you are doing this.

Embracing the reality of form
The technique that I am describing above, movement outward accepting all that we find can be quite uncomfortable at first. It brings us into a confrontation with all of the things that we fear or are worn down by in our life. However, if we continue opening to what we find we start to find a new form of peace and inner strength. It is a form of peace that does not rely upon turning inward or away from the world, but accepting and embracing everything that we find in our life and experience, all the mess and the untidiness, the highs and the lows, the romance and the tragedy.

If you like, over the next few days or weeks you can try this. When you sit down to meditate, rather than going within, practice accepting and opening to everything that is in your life right now; make your heart so big that nothing is turned away or left out. Don’t turn away.

Related article: What is it that is keeping me from relaxing in the present moment?

© Toby Ouvry 2014, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website 

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