One of the attitudes of great mystics is to accept what is given. But we need to clarify what is meant by acceptance. Accept what is present and accept others for who they are, but we need not necessarily praise everything or everyone. We can accept what is, but we need not agree to what is. We can accept the present nature of another person, but we need not agree with all they say or do. We can love everyone, but we need not agree with them, we need not approve. Can you see the difference here? The goodness and love of Divine Being is potentially radiant in everyone, but not necessarily actualized. Sometimes people are good and loving, but they lack practical intelligence in how they express their love. Everyone makes mistakes, and so the world is not perfect. But even though the specifics are not always praiseworthy, we can still trust and praise the overall Process of Divine Manifestation.
Remember that we are each participants in this Process, so no matter what is present at any moment, we each must respond in a way that furthers the Divine Process of love and goodness. In other words, we accept what is presently given, but then respond in a way that seeks to change things for the better, or in a way that furthers the Divine Process. Whatever is present can be seen as a step in the Process, even if it may be a mistaken step that can be learned from. So we accept whatever is; yet if it is not agreeable or right to us, we respond appropriately to change it. We need to apply intelligent and loving discernment, using discernment to see what is truly good, or to see what is better, and then respond with this discernment to make better. This is the Process, which is social and interactive.
In summary, we must first accept what is, which includes accepting people for who they are and accepting ourselves for where we are in the Process. But we also need to bring intelligent and loving discernment into the Process, which also involves acting responsively to make life more intelligent and loving, to make further positive steps in the Divine Process. In this way, acceptance and discernment are balanced. It is even possible to be in an ecstatic state of experiencing the Divine Presence (or God) everywhere; yet also be discerning of what is potentially more good, and acting from this discernment to make better what is. Then one is ecstatically in the Divine, seeing all as essentially Divine, while discerning what could be better and acting upon this.
This applies to ourselves as well as others. First accept and love yourself for whatever kind of person you are. This is the acceptance of what is and who is. But then, from this foundation of loving acceptance, let discernment develop. Discernment is all about the question of ‘what to do’ and ‘how to be’, in any moment or situation. It’s about what choices we are going to make, choices which effect now and the future. Discernment is about what is more good and what is less good. This doesn’t have to be about making heavy moral judgments about good and evil, regarding either ourselves or others. But not all choices are equally good; that is, some choices are better than others, and so this where discernment comes in – to make this decision. It really does come down to our choices and decisions. And discernment brings in the question of what could be better. We have to first make this decision of discernment in regards to ourself, before making discerning judgments about others. For there is a common tendency of the self-ego to avoid observations and discernments about itself -- by focusing attention on the faults of others and discerning what they ought to be doing. So it helps to make oneself the priority for discernment. Start observing oneself and see how to make one’s own self-expression better or more beautiful. Then one might help others by one’s own example. This is not to suggest that one should never be discernful or critical in regards to world or social circumstances. The general suggestion here is merely that one might start with oneself, before being frantically critical of others or the world out there.
also to respect the freedom and free choices of others; as long as their decisions do not really harm us. Example: why should anyone negatively judge another’s decision about who to love? Let men love men, and women love women. How could there be anything wrong about loving? Why should anyone be denied the freedom to love, or be criticized for loving?
On acceptance: (add to..)
We cannot accept the lies, cheating, and manipulations perpetuated by some political powers and/or businesses, for the purpose of their increase in power and money. We cannot accept injustices perpetrated by the more powerful ones on the less powerful, whether it be due to greed or prejudice.
People will often have different beliefs about what is best, for themselves, for others, or the world. Some of these beliefs may be wrong, just as any kind of belief may be wrong. What is safe to say is that usually, in most cases, there are better choices than others. Yet rarely is there one ultimate, absolute best way. In cases as mechanics, there are objectively better ways to do things, and sometimes there may be one ultimate best way. But many decisions in life are not reducible to mere mechanics. That is, the answer to 'what is good?' (or 'what is good to do?') is not always something we can figure out scientifically or mechanically, because many of our questions in life involve some degree of aesthetic choice. And aesthetic choices cannot merely be solved in a mechanical, calculating manner. And in aesthetic questions, there is no absolute best answer.
Aesthetic answers to the question of 'what is good?' will thus vary among different people, and there is usually no objective measure for deciding what is best or even what is better. Though in some cases, people do seem to agree that some aesthetic choices are better than others. So the point here is that in the many cases of choice where an aesthetic decision is involved, there could be no objectively absolute best answer to the question of 'what is good.' So here the notion of an exact Divine Vision for 'what is good' seems rather dubious. We can still accept that there is a general Divine Vision [of the Good], or general principles for what is good, but the specific choices would have to be up to us. And this is where 'freedom of choice' comes into play, in terms of following the Divine Will. In other words, Divine Will allows us degrees of free choice, even when we become obedient to Divine Will. And since Divine Will is not determining our free choice, these choices are particularly up to us, and our choices are surprises even to Divine Omniscience.
Our aesthetic choices is our freedom to explore life.
In regards to choices that are not aesthetic, we each may nonetheless have different views about what is best or better to do. These different views will depend on our different understandings of what is good. Each understanding is somewhat limited, as we each are in a learning process of understanding the Good.
What we actually 'do', in any situation and in any moment, depends on three factors: our understanding of the Good, our abilities to accomplish the Good, and our will. We need to exercise our will, in order to actually get done what we understand is good to do. And this is not always easy, because conditioned desires are often opposing what we understand is best to do. So, it is important to have our own vision or understanding of what is best to, but we also need will to do it.
Remember that GW to bring greater love and understanding into the world, or to correct injustices, can only come about through our human will. We are the hands and practical minds for GW on earth. God's Work in creation is done through our work, and GW is done through our will.
Even in nature we see varying degrees of beauty, intelligence and fittingness. Not everything is simply equal in these ways. And so it is also true of human beings and human activity. We can recognize some divine quality in everyone, or maybe see how everything fits into a greater purpose to some degree. But it should be remembered that there are degrees of rightness, beauty, intelligence, and purpose. It would be silly to simply believe that everything has the same equal value, or that every-thing is perfectly the way it ought to be. We do live in an Ocean of Divine Being, and every-thing emanates or reflects from this One Being, yet each particular being or action is divinely reflective only to some degree (within a much larger range of divine potential). The movement from a lesser degree of beauty or intelligence to a finer degree is called divine evolution, that is, the evolution of manifestation from lesser degrees of Divine Light to greater degrees of Divine Light.
So in manifestation values are not all equal. Range of value is the depth dimension of intelligent perception. Without this value dimension (of depth), the world is perceived as flat.
One of the more difficult challenges of the spiritual path is accepting differences in the world, differences in people and differences of ways. Each distinct culture and religion has its own unique facets of truth and beauty, but it is often difficult for people of one group to appreciate the ways of others. It is often difficult for us to love and appreciate those who do things differently from our own beliefs and ways. The bottom line is learning tolerance and acceptance. But it is possible to go even beyond this simple acceptance to a place of real appreciation and love. Each person, and each group, is like a piece of music. We tend to like some kinds of music more than others, and it is alright to have preferences, but we should avoid becoming stuck in our little preferences or in our little opinions. Instead, we can break free of these limiting preferences and opinions, and open our heart to appreciate more of the great diversity of people. This is developing appreciative love. And this is what the world needs. But again, if we are honest, we will admit that this path of appreciative love is often difficult. There will be some circumstances where appreciation and even acceptance is quite impossible. For honestly, some manifestations are not really worthy of acceptance or appreciation. But we need not begin our path of loving appreciation with the extreme forms of discordant behavior. There are some things we cannot really appreciate. The point being made here is that there are ways that are different from our own, which are worthy of appreciation, but we haven’t yet given enough loving consideration to appreciate.
It may not be easy, but like with music we … open to the appreciation.
One of the most difficult spiritual themes to speak about is satisfaction, acceptance and contentment. All three form one theme, which is about being satisfied with life and what is given, or accepting life as it is, or accepting how things are, or being content. Hopefully the reader can get a sense of what this is about. Let us simply call this ‘being satisfied’ – with what life gives us, or with what God gives us. We won’t make a distinction here between life and God, at least not in this inquiry. So whether it is God Who is presenting, or whether it is life, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the question, “Are you satisfied?” Answers will of course vary: from “hell no!” to “yes everything is very satisfying.” Also, the usual answer will probably be in regards to things such as pleasures, successes, money, or love.
But let us delve into a more sublime matter such as satisfaction with life in general, which is a kind of overall feeling of general satisfaction. What is one’s overall feeling on the scale of satisfaction? It is probably somewhere in between complete satisfaction and zero satisfaction. If one is not completely satisfied, then this implies that one feels some degree of not having all that one desires or that some things are not completely right in one’s life. Often one feels that life has not provided all that one would wish it provided. Yet we should take at least some responsibility for how things are, rather than simply blame life or others for what we do not have. So then an added question might be, “Am I satisfied with myself.”
So these are some basic questions about satisfaction. Some spiritual teachings teach that we ought to reach an attitude of being satisfied with everything, or enter into faith that everything is perfect just the way it is. it might be said that God provides what we need, or what is best for us, so we ought to be satisfied with this. But unless we believe that God is determining everything, we must also take into account our own responsibility for how things are in our lives. So again there is a question of being satisfied with ourselves, or not.
The real Way is a balance between satisfaction and non-satisfaction. Being in a state of complete satisfaction is one aspect of the Way. Yet being in a state of non-satisfaction is also an aspect of the Way. Accepting what is, and being content with what is, is the Way – it is the Way of peace. Yet not accepting all that is, and not being content with all that is, is also the Way – it is the Way of progress. Both are significant in the greater Way. In being accepting and satisfied with what is present in one’s life, there is an attainment of peace. This may also be related to a faith that God (as the Creator and Provider) gives to us what we need. It may also be related to an understanding that we cannot change this very moment. This moment or this present circumstance is what it is, and we cannot change it.
Yet we can work right now to change what is for the future, and this is where the attitude of non-satisfaction comes into significance. For only when there is some non-satisfaction will there be an impulse or desire to make things better. This is related to spiritual value of longing – a longing for a greater unfoldment of truth, love, and perfection. So the razor edge of the Way is to be accepting and satisfied with the moment and all that is presently here; yet also be unaccepting and unsatisfied that this is the final ideal of what can be. For it is within our divine nature that we seek progress or further perfection in whatever is. We cannot be completely satisfied until life is in complete perfection, but life is always evolving to perfection, so our spiritual nature is always longing for greater perfection, and in this sense we are not completely satisfied with what is at present.
Consider knowledge, for instance. We can be accepting and grateful of the knowledge that we presently have. Yet at the same time, we ought to be unsatisfied with our present knowledge, which produces a longing and seeking for greater knowledge. Without this dissatisfaction there would be no longing and seeking for greater knowledge. Yet without the satisfaction, there would be no gratefulness for what has been given. So both contraries are necessary, which makes this topic so difficult to explain. Maybe the best suggestion is to be satisfied, but not completely satisfied. Or be completely satisfied with what is, but seek out and work towards the better. Or be satisfied with what is given, but not accepting that this is the final ideal. Or gratefully accept what is, with satisfaction, but continually work towards better.