Life, with its hardships and losses, isn’t exactly a non-stop celebration. While one would certainly like it to be so, there will be occasions and events when the celebration comes to an end and things pass into memories. Some times, even memories do not suffice. The time always comes when the party ends and the festive spirit slips into memory, or even beyond memory as T. S. Eliot so poignantly expresses in The Waste Land.
“The nymphs are departed.
Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.
The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers,
Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends
Or other testimony of summer nights. The nymphs are departed.”
I was reflecting on this poem sent to me by a friend who had a recent loss who found solace in poetry like I did in reading and attending classes on Vedanta. I was trying to find the right approach to be of some comfort for my friend when I received this message from the same young man who inspired my post The Company Of Great Persons.
“A man was pierced by an arrow, and a doctor was immediately summoned to have the arrow pulled and the wound treated. However, the wounded man insisted to find out who shot the arrow before he would let the doctor treat him. Was it a man or a woman? Was the attacker young or old? Which direction did it come from? What was the arrowhead made of? How big was the bow that shot the arrow? What kind of feathers were used?
The wounded man would definitely die of poisoning before his desire for knowing all the information was satisfied.
I love this story. In regards to acceptance, it is so valid. Some of us would rather go our whole lives in pain through resistance than to acknowledge what is wounding us. We refuse to accept the wound or pain. We think that things should be different than they are. We go around trying to resist the inevitable.
If we were to acknowledge the wound and surrender to what is in that moment, then the arrow would be able to be taken out. But since we, like the wounded man, ask questions like why is this happening to me or trying to rationalise what is happening, we never heal the wound. When we identify with the ego, that wound will never be healed because the ego is resistance which created the wound and keeps the wound from healing.
But once we can forgive and realise that all that is happening is okay and is only in the mind, that acceptance is what heals. The resistance is what makes it so painful.”
Since the message arrived just as I was scratching my head to come up with a topic for this week’s 2 on 1 Friday post, I suggested it to Shackman, whose take on the subject can be read at his blog. Please do go over and read. Thank you.
9 thoughts on “Acceptance.”
I do love that poem, it expresses so well what a lot of us feel at how fleeting youth is.
As to acceptance – it is the root of all our troubles today as we well know. People, places, things, circumstances. Accepting and rolling with it is the answer.
Indeed it is and both of us know each other well enough to know how much it has meant for us.
I too have accepted the physical limitations age and lifestyle have imposed on me. Now I have replaced the pleasure my former physical prowess with more “intellectual” pursuits like blogging, crossword puzzles, in fact almost any kind of puzzle and have renewed my interest in a decades old unsolved murder case involving the Zodiac Killer. As the old song goes, you have to know when to hold ‘ em, know when to fold ’em – know when to walk away and know when to run
Yes, I have seen that from your blog posts. And the old song is bang on.
acceptance seems to be key. to happiness and wellness actually.
self acceptance. and then the rest of life. you’d think it would be easy! wrong!
but I’m gaining on it. this last long illness was good for practicing. 🙂
Life is a lot easier if you accept what can’t be changed and focus on whatever can be changed. Likewise if you accept what is doing you no harm and focus on what is actually harmful.
In total agreement with you on this Nick.
Resisting the inevitable…this made me think, since I have done a fair bit of that in the past. As I grow wiser, I hope to do less of it!
That wisdom is what acceptance brings!
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