What does practicing acceptance in mindfulness meditation mean?
As you may recall, the 3 important aspects of mindfulness meditation are present moment awareness, nonjudgment and acceptance. This post completes a 3 part series to discuss these in more detail. You can find the other two posts here and here.
One definition of acceptance is “the act of receiving something offered.”
As acceptance relates to mindfulness, it is the act of allowing “what is” to simply be, and accepting the current moment’s unique, precise details as they are unfolding. It requires an attitude of openness, curiosity and intrigue.
Acceptance is the process of welcoming and allowing emotions, thoughts, and experiences to be, without resisting them. It requires of you that you develop a new relationship with experiences, one where you allow them to unfold without resistance or manipulation or judgment.
Another way to state it would be “acknowledgement”. You acknowledge and allow what is coming up for you.
Let’s use an example from my own meditation experience…
I’m sitting on my meditation cushion, cross-legged and upright, eyes closed, hands resting gently on my lap. Very zen-like, right? 😉 I am all ready for this great, calming session…when what in my wandering mind does appear…thoughts! To do lists! Etc!
Thoughts are bound to arise during meditation. As they do, you simply note them as part of your present moment experience. You may say to yourself “That’s thinking” or “thinking is natural” or thinking noted”, and then return your attention to the breath or mantra. There’s no judgment or dwelling on it, no labeling, just a simple noting.
As a result of acknowledging the thought, feeling or emotion, the experience changes into one of letting thoughts and feelings come and go as they do without trying to change or rush them.
If you’d like to practice the skill of acceptance, you can check out some of my guided meditations at https://www.jointhecircleofhope.com/meditations.