Acceptance & Solving ProblemsBy SHEPHERD HOODWIN
An excerpt from "Journey of Your Soul"
Transitions are often not easy. Physical illness
can give evidence of an important transition.
You could compare the physical body's suspension
of activity during illness to going into neutral
to shift gears in a car. Normally, a car's gears
are engaged in a set pattern. The purpose of
going into neutral is to allow a new arrangement
to occur. If everything is set, resistant to
change, going into higher gear is not
Of course, you do not have to become physically ill to end old patterns and begin new ones, and there are many other possible reasons for illness. It is common among new age people to see illness as a failure of some kind. This is not necessarily the case. How many human beings, including the most enlightened spiritual people, are never sick? Even those who go for years without manifesting symptoms may not be functioning at optimal health. Illness is one of the lessons of the physical plane. It is neither good nor bad; it is something to handle when it comes up. It gives you many opportunities to make specific kinds of choices, not only in terms of what to do about it, but in terms of your attitude about it.
Because of the fear of death, illness usually brings forth many emotional currents. If you do not fear death, you are likely to have an easier time with illness because you are not resisting it so much. The resistance to illness sourced in resistance to death may be deeply buried and therefore not accessible to conscious awareness. In such a case, it is a weight you feel but take for granted without identifying it. As a result, it may appear that you are accepting of your illness, but this may not be the fact. If you accept your illness, you feel that whatever hap-pens is all right. If you apparently become more sick, that is all right. If you develop painful symptoms, that is all right. If you die, that is all right.
We are not suggesting that you deny your body's natural drive to survive, and we are not recommending that you take actions that lead to death. You have gone to much trouble to be here on the physical plane, and one of the lessons of the physical plane is to care for your body properly. What we are saying is that when you are ill, if you have done everything you can physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, you let go. Whatever happens, happens.
Part of the proper care of your body may be going to health practitioners who know more about specific methods of treatment than you do. There are two ways you can approach this. You can go as most people do, out of fear, asking to be healed by forces outside of yourself. Or you can go motivated by love, love for your body, with interest in learning what you can from the experience. In partnership with the health practitioners, you can seek better ways to care for your body.
The source of anxiety is lack of acceptance. True acceptance contains two elements in balance with one another. The first is the attitude that things are perfect exactly as they are. The other is making choices, based on how things are, that can change them if necessary and possible.
How can it be said that things are perfect exactly the way they are if you are sick? Your life is primarily the result of your prior choices. Others have impact on your life, both for good and for ill, but you are the primary source in your life. You chose your body and basic life situation. In addition, you make ongoing choices about how to live your life, including how to care for your body. So your life "perfectly" reflects your choices.
If you are a painter, you can step back from your canvas and evaluate what you see. Whether you like what you see or not, you have learned something. You now know what happens when you combine particular pigments in a particular way. It is not a wasted experience. Knowing that you created it, you can change it.
Although being sick is obviously not pleasant, it may actually be bringing you to a higher level of health and well-being. It may be cleansing toxic substances from your body through fevers, coughing, or whatever.
Let's look at another, larger issue: the shamefully large number of people starving. How can it be said that things are perfect as they are for them? We are not suggesting that there is not great room for improvement. However, current reality is a perfect starting point. It is an opportunity to exert your own power to bring change. Since starvation is created collectively by all humanity, it can be uncreated if humanity so chooses. By stating that things are perfect as they are in the face of problems such as illness or starvation, you are letting go of self-defeating angst. If you truly understand what you are saying, you are not ignoring the problems. You are coming to peace within yourself about them. As long as you are on the physical plane, there will be problems to solve. If you do not accept this, you are continually in turmoil and do not enjoy life. Acceptance brings equilibrium and strength from which you can create new realities. If you are deeply concerned about world hunger and accept current reality as it is, you have more energy to devote to solving the problem than if you are in conflict about it. If you do not have acceptance, you are likely to judge those who appear to be causing the problem. This is likely to increase conflict rather than aiding you in helping to solve it.
We are not suggesting that you close your eyes to political or other factors that might be contributing to the problem. The more neutral, though, that you are about what you see or think you see, the better able you are to be a constructive force for change. The more inner peace you have, the more clear-headed you are likely to be in recognizing what can actually be done to solve problems.
Acceptance is the key to love. Where there is no acceptance, there is no love. The person who is truly accepting is not a doormat or a wimp with no backbone. If, in the name of acceptance, someone is unwilling to take constructive action to change situations, he only understands the first half of acceptance. Activism is not everyone's path. However, if someone has the attitude that nothing should be done because, after all, things are perfect the way they are, he misunderstands acceptance. That can result in a lack of compassion.
For example, some take the attitude that those who are starving chose to be born in that situation or created it; there-fore, they must live with it. If you were living in a house that caught on fire, you would not feel that it would be appropriate for the fire department to say, "Well, you created that situation; you will have to put the fire out yourself." That certainly would not be a loving attitude. We are all in this together, and we include ourselves in that statement.
You cannot act on every problem you see. You might view the problems of the world as being like the "help wanted" ads in the papers-you cannot go to work for all the firms who advertise in them. It is important that you sense what your path is, where you can be of the highest benefit to yourself and others. Healing yourself is as much a contribution to the whole as healing others, since you are part of the whole. Any act motivated by love, which is the intent that the highest good be served, is an invaluable contribution to the whole. What you specifically do is not that important. If you are in that neutral place of acceptance, you will be clear on what your highest path is.
Your thoughts can be a significant contribution. Unrealized thoughts are incomplete, but you do not necessarily have to be the one who realizes your thoughts for them to be effective. Sending loving thoughts to those suffering from hunger is not providing food, yet it can be an impetus for others who are in a position to provide food. No loving thought is wasted. Of course, if you are also able to provide something concrete, so much the better.
Sometime apparently loving thoughts mask anger or other not-so-loving feelings. For example, if my body is sick, and I feel angry and frustrated about it, adopting a loving thought might be a denial of how I'm feeling.
You can take a loving approach to both your body, and to your anger and frustration at being sick. You can see your physical and emotional states as being perfect the way they are-both give you starting points for healing. The illness of your body is a starting point for healing your body. The anger and frustration in your emotions are starting points for healing your emotions. If you do not consciously make choices to constructively influence what is occurring in your body and emotions, you are leaving what happens to chance or to automatic processes. You will simply continue to be frustrated and angry until some other feeling happens to come along. That diverts energy from healing.
If you do not accept yourself, you probably do not think that you are perfect as you are. Everything in the universe has room for expansion. Otherwise we would not have much to do. This does not mean, however, that things are not perfect as they are.
Children prosper when you unconditionally accept them. They mature faster and learn more easily. Judging them hinders change. It is like building a concrete wall around them defining them. Likewise, when you judge yourself, you freeze yourself into a pattern that is difficult to change. When you acknowledge your perfection, it is much easier to love yourself. In fact, loving yourself occurs because you acknowledge that you are perfect as you are. The statement that you are perfect as you are suggests that you deserve unconditional love. If you feel that you are imperfect as you are, you believe that there are parts of you that are not worthy of love. You therefore withhold love and acceptance from yourself. Without love and acceptance, you cannot grow or change as quickly as you could with it, so it is a catch-22.
It's one thing to say, "I am perfect as I am. I love myself." It's another to feel it. How do you get the feeling?
The thought comes first. Without it, you are not likely to have the feeling. Then you can bring your other thoughts in line with it. Suppose that you repeat the affirmation, "I am perfect as I am." Then five minutes later, you stub your toe and say, "I'm a stupid idiot for stubbing my toe." Your second affirmation is obviously in conflict with the first, and neutralizes it. As you bring all your thoughts in line with the positive affirmation, you can imprint it into your consciousness. This takes being awake and noticing your thoughts. For example, if you hear yourself calling yourself stupid, you can remind yourself that it is all right to stub your toe sometimes, and that you are perfect as you are. As you act toward yourself in a conscious, loving way, you become more aware of emotions not in agreement with your new thoughts, such as feelings of inadequacy, of not being lovable, and so forth, and you begin to release them. New feelings of being worthy of love take hold.
By the way, positive feelings are already present in every-one. There is a part of you that already knows that you are perfect as you are and that you are worthy of love. If your whole self agreed that you are imperfect and not worthy of love, there would be no impetus in you to change that belief. It would be an open-and-shut case. You would accept your unworthiness as an absolute truth and would have no motivation to change your thoughts and feelings. The purpose of spiritual work is not to impose something new and foreign on yourself; it is to simply to acknowledge the truth you already know in some part of yourself and allowing it to expand. You might say that it is a seedling being choked by weeds. You are pulling out the weeds from around it so it can grow into a beautiful plant.
A good way to reach nonjudgmental neutrality about yourself is to list facts about yourself. For example: "I sometimes interrupt people." "I'm very good at shopping." "I am angry at my mother." "I like watching reruns of 'I Love Lucy'." "I wear size 8 shoes." And so forth. Loving yourself does not imply that you ignore the facts about yourself. However, when you love yourself, you are not making those facts wrong, although you may choose to change them if they can be changed. You certainly cannot change them if you do not know about them. In self judgment, you try to change them because you think that you are a bad person and that you will become a good person if you change them. When you love yourself, you change them simply because doing so seems like the best choice.
You probably will not have much success changing your shoe size, but you can practice not interrupting others if you wish. You might find that not interrupting others makes your conversations more pleasant and helps you feel more peaceful. That is a good reason to change this habit.
However you feel is perfect as it is. You may feel happy; you may feel sad. You may feel sick; you may feel healthy. There is no right way to be a human being. By accepting the way something is for you at the moment, you are not necessarily putting much emphasis on it. If your body is sick, your acceptance of that fact does not glorify it it is not making it more important than it is. It may be very important; it may not be. If you are neutral about it, you can see how important it really is and how much of your attention it requires. If you give unnecessary attention to a particular fact, you are taking energy away from other facts that might also benefit from your attention.
If you are not feeling very accepting, accept that you are not feeling accepting-you have to start where you are. If you are feeling unaccepting and then remember that you are "supposed" to be accepting, putting yourself down for not being accepting is missing the point. Whatever you experience is acceptable.
If you create karma by violating another person, you will pay the price for that. Of course, it is better if you do not create karma, but if you do, that, too, is acceptable-that is one way you learn on the physical plane. Virtually no one passes through the physical plane without creating and repaying karmas. Virtually no one passes through a single day without making mistakes, miscalculations, or whatever. Again, that is part of how you learn. That is acceptable. You are completely acceptable, exactly the way you are.
About Shepherd Hoodwin
Shepherd has been channeling since 1986. He also does intuitive readings, mediumship, past-life regression, healing, counseling, and channeling coaching, where he teaches others to channel. He has conducted workshops on the Michael teachings throughout the United States. His other books include Enlightenment for Nitwits, Loving from Your Soul: Creating Powerful Relationships, Meditations for Self-Discovery, Opening to Healing, Growing Through Joy, Being in the World, and more to come.
Visit his website at ShepherdHoodwin.com
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