What Am I Not Accepting?

I’d like to share a practice that emerged for me in meditation this morning. I noticed a vague tension, as I often do, and felt myself wanting to get rid of it. Then I had the realization that the tension I was experiencing was being created, moment by moment, through my resistance to tension. In seeing that, there was a softening, a willingness to accept what a moment before I had been pushing away.

These tensions are like signposts: they indicate a place in consciousness where we are relating to what is arising with rejection or resistance. They call attention to where the flow is being impeded, and thus, they are profound gifts. Their invitation? Notice what is going on here. There is something you are not fully accepting. Go see. There is much to be revealed.

And so, I was guided to undertake a practice of inquiry for the next few weeks, and these were the instructions I received:

Ask yourself, as often as you remember to: what am I not accepting, in this moment? Have no concern for any other moments, just see about right now. Just feel into it, and see.

No requirement to change any non-acceptance that is discovered, just become aware of what is being resisted. Turn it around and look at it from a few angles. Taste it. Is it primarily physical, emotional, cognitive, subtle? Notice that as attention and curiosity land on it that it sometimes begins to melt or change. Notice that it often reveals a deeper layer of resistance, or bigger piece of resistance. Notice that our consciousness is layered, like an onion, and that as we relax or let go on one level and a deeper level comes to attention, we may again notice discomfort, tension, closure. We might become aware of something we feel more compelled to avoid. And again, in that moment, simply ask, “What am I not accepting, in this moment? What is arising, what is present, that I am not accepting, that I am pushing away or resisting or denying? What am I aware of right now? Can I soften into acceptance of all that I am aware of in my experience? If not, what am I not accepting, in this moment?”

This is not an aggressive inquiry. It is not about finding what you are not accepting and “fixing” the non-acceptance. It’s just about noticing and allowing. Allow the non-acceptance, allow it to shift if it wants to, to not shift if it doesn’t want to, to melt away if it is on the edge of dissolve. It is simply about noticing, bringing your attention to the enactment of non-acceptance as it arises in this moment through you. It is about curiosity.

Of course, attention is a very powerful thing. Very often, all the resistance was waiting for was to be noticed. Upon being noticed it evaporates. This is not always the case, but it does happen often. Still, our agendas are not what’s important here. Our only job is to direct attention in this direction — to invite it to rest on what in this moment is not being accepted, to simply notice.

You will discover that your awareness deepens; it begins to move through the layers some, from what you are aware of on the surface, to what is underneath that, and then, what is underneath that and so on.

There are many layers. As attention goes to the deeper layers, we start to become aware of some of the basic programs, the foundational structures of our individuated consciousness, in other words the consciousness of the separate self.

At this level the things we notice tend to be very primary. These are the attachments and aversions that underscore most of our experiences and that earlier in life helped to root the basic aspects of our personal identity. This is the place where we can begin to see the programs we are running and how they limit our perception and determine our experience. And yet, in noticing this, our primary intention remains to simply notice and allow. Attention itself does the work, you don’t have to.

Our only job really is to choose what we wish to give attention to. That in itself takes training; we don’t notice that by habit, we are making these choices continuously. As the choices are unconscious (habitual and automatic) it feels simply like we are noticing reality, rather than that portion of reality that our attention became trained to notice as very young people long before we had developed the capacity to self-reflect. As beings becoming Self-aware, we are now awakening and developing the powers of conscious attention.

Attention is very powerful. What we direct attention to is what we experience. This doesn’t mean that all the other things we are not paying attention to no longer exist, it just means that as our attention is not with those other things, we are not experiencing them. The practice of directing attention to what you are not accepting in any given moment is a profound practice of liberation.

I would like to invite you to join me in this practice, as an experiment. Whenever you think of it throughout your day, pause, settle, and inquire, “What am I not accepting, in this moment?” Notice. Allow.

If it is a helpful practice for you you may wish to continue with it, creating reminders for yourself to stop at least a few times a day to check in in this way. Please feel free to share in the comments below any part of your process with this practice and what it is revealing to you.

With much love,
Lauren

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9 thoughts on “What Am I Not Accepting?

  1. OM says:

    Hi Lauren,
    This is so clearly expressed, and so foundational. I have discovered these things within myself, also, and they’ve profoundly altered my way of Being, especially my Enneagram One self who is/was always discontented and always in resistance! I started awhile back, this practice, and will surely join you in the next three weeks. I don’t much like being at FB but I will try, LOL!!!
    Thank you for this, with all my heart! I will direct to this blog entry various people I do spiritual counseling with; it is a wonderful resource.
    Love, OM

  2. Kelly LaValley says:

    Hi Lauren,
    I came across your inspiring post on Facebook. YES! I feel liberated reading your invitation. Interesting, I spent much of today.. so far.. “doing” things to help me shift anxiety. You have reminded me to *be* with it.. curious inquiry. And I especially love the question you pose: What am I not accepting in this moment?
    Heartfully,
    Kelly

  3. Nancy A says:

    wow. this was terrific! my fav line was what you asked:

    Ask yourself, as often as you remember to: what am I not accepting, in this moment? Have no concern for any other moments, just see about right now. Just feel into it, and see.

    definitely gonna share it

  4. Lauren Worsh says:

    Hi Kelly and Nancy,

    I am so glad you have found this inquiry useful. It’s lovely to feel others sharing in this practice with me!

  5. Thomas says:

    Wonderful post, Lauren. I love acceptance in pretty much the way you describe it. I’ve also experienced the power of attention, again as you describe it—it being powerful per se and working naturally.

    When I feel resistance, I find it often signals that something inside me has been excluded or improperly integrated, thereby creating that irritating feeling of resistance. I find that merely giving attention to any resistance is a relief in itself. I also find that things can get tricky very quickly to discern what the root of the resistance is. For instance, if I have excluded something desirable or necessary from my makeup, that something will eventually make itself known for acceptance. But if something in my makeup is somehow off or needs restructuring, such that the resistance is protecting me from myself, the resistance points a different direction of integration, if you know what I mean.

    I like what you say that as we go through the layers, things get very primary. I often find that resistance of the second sort above, resistance indicating something off in my makeup, will resolve layer by layer downward to a rejection of something very fundamental. These root assumptions are the most difficult to identify and name.

    Btw, what is your facebook page, Lauren?

    Cheers,
    Thomas

    • Lauren Worsh says:

      Thomas, I am really appreciating your reflections. I would love to know more about the “off” or misaligned energies that there is resistance to. I feel I know what you mean, but can you say a bit more about your experience of it? Can you offer an example of something off that you might encounter in this way?

      My facebook page is here:
      https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1198822267

      Please send me an invitation if so inclined!

      • Thomas says:

        Ah, geez, Lauren, that’s tough to answer. Let’s try it this way. I experience something—an incident, a feeling, an encounter—and I don’t like that something. I can at this level sometimes go too quickly into acceptance, overlooking that underlying my dislike of that something, underlying that level, is a deeper level. This deeper level is itself something I’m avoiding, the level above being the means by which I avoid it. In engaging acceptance at that first level, I might subtly be burying further some or other avoidance. Murky enough?

        Thanks for your facebook link. I’ll link to you there.

      • Lauren Worsh says:

        Yes! I understand and relate. I appreciate the attention to nuance and discernment you bring to the inquiry. Thank you for explaining!

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