How we confuse acceptance in spiritual practice with tolerating?

If you are facing something really challenging in your life, it is easy to think of acceptance in spiritual practice as a kind of giving up and tolerating. Somehow it doesn’t feel exactly right, but when we don’t know what else to do, we assume this is what must be meant by acceptance.

It’s that place we go to when we are thinking, “Well, I guess this is just the way it is going to be. I’d better get used to it and accept it.”

What we are really saying in those moments is, “I don’t like what is happening one bit and since there seems to be nothing I can do about it I might as well put up with it and hope for the best.”

But acceptance in conscious spiritual practice  isn’t about tolerating. It is really about acknowledging what is true, and truth usually lies beneath our disappointments or fears.

If you approach acceptance from the perspective of tolerating something you don’t like, you will very likely miss the gift that acceptance has to offer. But if you honestly reflect on your feelings and allow the truth of your feelings to emerge, acceptance can become sweet relief.

She accepted a difficult truth and in doing so found her peaceful center

Today I was on the phone with a friend whose mother is slowly getting ready to make her transition to the other side of the veil. Her mother has been ill for a long, long time and tending to her needs has been extremely demanding on my friend.

At one point in our conversation I suggested that her mother’s passing would be extremely difficult because my friend would miss her so much, and it would also be very easy, because her mother would finally be out of pain and my friend would be able to focus on her own life again.

In the silence that passed between us for a moment, we both felt the peace this observation evoked. What my friend had accepted was the truth of the difficulty and ease in her life that her mother’s passing would create. Rather than nobly denying that it would make her life easier, she admitted it, effectively short-circuiting any need to feel guilty or ashamed about what was true.

When something is true and it is accepted in love, the fearful dramas of our minds and emotions disappear. The regrets, guilt and resentments simply have no place to exist and all that remains is peace. That is the gift of spiritually-based acceptance.


The minute we accept what is true, especially when we are ashamed of it, embarrassed by it, or afraid of it, we acknowledge the challenging drama we feel trapped in, and simply in recognizing it honestly, it ceases to have any more influence over our thoughts and feelings.

In spiritual practice, acceptance is…

resting in the truth of who we are and what we are honestly experiencing, without embellishment or qualifications.

We can wrestle with that awareness, and get angry with ourselves for the choices we have made if we want to or we can simply admit that this is where we are at the moment. We did the best we could and here we are.

In acceptance, we choose to be compassionately be present with that awareness.

Accepting what we are experiencing in this moment, honestly and compassionately, is enough for the tumultuous feelings to find their rest. And all that is left is peace and love. In that love, you are re-centered in Divine awareness, without fault or blame for you or anyone.

In the loving embrace of acceptance, you realize there is friction until you remember how to live from  your sacred center…

… And at the center, there is more than enough love to Hold it all.

During our July Women’s Retreat, we will be exploring  Four Prescriptions for Healing and Manifesting, including Acceptance. Through journeying songs, meditations, dreams and discussions, we awaken the power of acceptance and allow it to re-center us in who we truly are as Divine, awakening women.